Rail yard comes to stop as union workers walk

JILALAN Rail Yard, south of Mackay, came to a stop with union workers walking of the job for 24 hours.

Work stopped at noon on Saturday and resumed at the same time yesterday.

The strike was protesting an enterprise bargaining agreement put forward to workers by Aurizon.

Rail Tram and Bus Union state president Bruce Mackie said the strike was very well supported by union members. Mr Mackie said the strike action was an indication of the frustration Aurizon workers had.

"Negotiations are scheduled to recommence shortly and we're hoping that with this action being taken that Aurizon returns to the table with a different view of where they are heading," he said.

Mr Mackie said the union and Aurizon had been negotiating for about 18 months.

"Late last year Aurizon bypassed the collective bargaining process and sent an agreement into the workplace to vote on... the membership overwhelmingly rejected that offer," he said.

Mr Mackie said Aurizon was removing many allowances which outweighed the 4% pay rise the company was offering.

An Aurizon spokesman said there was a very fair deal on the table which included a 4% wage increase each year over the life of the agreement.

"Aurizon is simply seeking workplace agreements that are comparable to our competitors," he said.

"The current Aurizon Enterprise Agreements contain a range of legacy provisions that are not reflective of modern Australian workplace agreements. This includes no forced redundancies, restrictive rostering practices and a complex array of allowances."

The spokesman said this was unsustainable in a competitive transport sector and put Aurizon at a "serious disadvantage".



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