Mackay train workers to walk off the job in protest
TRAINS will slow to a halt in a week's time as freight workers walk off the job to protest to stagnant pay packets.
Since September last year the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has been in negotiations with the national freight company, Aurizon in an attempt to increase workers' pay.
Northern district organiser Les Moffitt said workers were "fed up with the delaying tactics displayed by the company so far during the negotiation process”.
He said there were few signs Aurizon and the union would for an agreement in principle in the near future.
Mr Moffitt said employees plan to hold a 48 hour strike starting Tuesday May 28 till noon Thursday May 30.
The state-wide industrial action will include workers in Mackay and Emerald, as well as coastal towns Rockhampton, Townsville, Acacia Ridge, Maryborough, Gladstone, Longreach, and inland stations like Hughenden, Cloncurry and Mt Isa.
Mr Moffitt said the strike would involve a few hundred workers walking off the job around the state.
It's a move the union believes will shake the national cargo company, with Mr Moffitt saying "It's going to stop all the freight going up and down the coast”.
As part of the state-wide industrial actions Stuart workshop employees in Townsville will launch a week-long overtime ban on the company commencing next week.
Union members in the Traincrew and Operations area have embarked on a 24 hour overtime ban commencing from 15 May through to 28 May.
Mr Moffitt said the ball was not in Aurizon's court to de-escalate the relationship with the union and the workers.
"If Aurizon want to avoid protected industrial action, its time for them to put an acceptable offer on the table.”
An Aurizon spokesman called the strikes "unnecessary” as the two parties are still in bargaining meetings.
He accused the union of unfairly impacting customers and communities reliant on the train network.
Arizon estimates the north coast network will be closed during the strike. However, the spokesman said he was particularly concerns for communities on the Townsville to Mt Isa train line.
After the massive flooding in North Queensland, the western line was closed for three months. After a massive repair operation Arizon said the line had only opened last month.
"The strike action is particularly disappointing when unions know it will impact customers and communities who are getting back on their feet after the devastating flooding in North Queensland,” Aurizon said.
"We urge unions to withdraw their industrial action and get back to bargaining in good faith and with a commitment to reach a new agreement that is fair and reasonable for all parties”.