Aurizon coal trains across Queensland set to grind to a halt this weekend

Aurizon Coal union members in Traincrew , Operations and Maintenance will start walking off the job at noon TOMORROW (Friday 14 December) in 11 days of action that will see Aurizon Coal business severely disrupted across Queensland following a breakdown in negotiations.

aurizon_train.jpgction will take the form of 24-hour stoppages staggered across Qld Coal depots, starting tomorrow in Callemondah (near Rockhampton), Stanwell and Bluff affecting the Blackwater coal system today. Stoppages commence on Saturday in Pring, Jillalen, and Coppabella affecting the Goonyella coal system.

Action will commence on Sunday in South East Queensland affecting the depots of Toowoomba, Fishermans Island and Roma. For each location the 24 -stoppage will be directly followed by a 7-day overtime ban.

Freight and Bulk services will be unaffected.

Quotes attributable to RTBU Queensland Branch Secretary Owen Doogan:

“Union members voted overwhelmingly to stand up to Aurizon by commencing industrial action.

“The next four days of rolling 24hr stoppages and seven days of overtime bans is just the start of a campaign for a better deal.

“Aurizon is always a difficult company to reach agreement with. Its negotiation style is essentially ‘our way or the highway’, including unreasonable demands and wishy-washy responses to workers claims for a fair go in the workplace.

In fact, unions believe Aurizon management is deliberately trying to sabotage a negotiated outcome, and to use Australia’s coal supply chain as leverage, in its strategy to attack the wages and conditions on its workers.

“In this instance, unions gave Aurizon management seven days’ notice of this action – and they responded by simply walking away from negotiations.

“A management team that genuinely wanted to reach an agreement and was serious about negotiating in good faith would have used those seven address the issues in dispute and prevent the action from going ahead.

“After its outrageous action of terminating existing agreements during the last round of enterprise negotiations, it appears that Aurizon is again seeking to bring on a failed negotiation so it can use the flawed Fair Work system to attack the wages and conditions on its workers.

“Aurizon is a prime example of how big corporations manipulate Australia’s employer-friendly industrial relations laws to benefit overseas shareholders at the expense of the Australian community.  This behaviour exactly why we need to change the rules.

“Unless Aurizon changes its negotiation style, and genuinely seeks to reach an agreement with its workers, it is highly likely that this dispute will escalate further – leading to regrettable disruption to Australia’s coal export supply chain.”