Rail workers to again walk off the job
RAIL workers based near Bowen will walk off the job again this week following revelations the two sides are "miles apart" in negotiations.
It is the second time in a month that workers have taken industrial action against the rail giant for failing to come to terms on a new enterprise agreement.
After sitting down with Aurizon officials in Brisbane, Rail, Tram and Bus Union northern district organiser Les Moffitt said the union "wasn't impressed," with negotiations.
"They are still pretty slow," he said.
"We're just trying to keep the company on track, the only time they seem to take notice is when we take industrial action, so hopefully they will finally get the message and do the right thing."
Discussions recommenced between the two sides in Brisbane on Tuesday, with topics centring around rostering and work-life balance.
Mr Moffitt said he was optimistic the two sides could reach an agreement, however, he expressed concern the company would attempt to cancel the current agreement.
He said the current agreement, which has been in place since 1995, has improved conditions for workers.
"Between 1995 and now there has been a lot of trade off on conditions where we give them something and they give something back," he said.
"If they cancel the agreement and put us back onto the award we lose all that stuff that's been traded and the workers lose out big time and are back to square one."
Workers will engage in two 24-hour work stoppages on Friday and Saturday at midday. Mr Moffitt said they will cease the planned stoppage if the two sides can reach an agreement before then.
"It's all about the company doing the right thing, then the unions will withdraw the threat of industrial action," he said.
An Aurizon spokesman said the company has submitted proposals to the unions for both maintenance and traincrew agreements.
"Bargaining is continuing and Aurizon representatives have made themselves available every day for additional negotiation meetings if required," the spokesman said.
"Aurizon remains committed to reaching a fair and reasonable outcome for employees and the business, providing real wage growth for employees and an agreement aligned to the needs of our business."