Freight Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

Aurizon secures final workforce vote

Aurizon coal wagons. Photo: Aurizon

Aurizon’s two-year battle with industry unions is all but over.

Employees voted in favour of the Queensland Train Crew and Transport Operations Enterprise Agreement (EA) in a ballot running from July 20 to 27, the rail operator said on Monday.

The agreement is the third major Aurizon EA to get union approval this year. It follows the Queensland Staff EA, formalised in January, and the Queensland Construction and Maintenance EA, which unions voted in favour of earlier this month.

Related story: Aurizon’s union saga nears end

Together, the three EAs cover around 5,000 Aurizon employees in Queensland – the majority of the company’s workforce.

And with the rubber stamp from the Fair Work Commission – more or less a formality – expected to come down within days for the last two EAs, one of the longest and largest Australian railway labour disputes in recent history should come to an end.

946 employees voted in favour of the new Train Crew and Transport Operations EA, while just 310 voted against the deal, meaning the agreement passed with a vote of 75.32%.

Employees will earn a 4% pay increase each of the next three years. In return, Aurizon will remove the ‘no forced redundancies’ provision from the deal, and will no longer supply rail passes for the majority of its employees: only those with more than 25 years’ experience will be able to keep their passes, and theirs will be removed from 2018.

“The support of modern agreements by our employees is an important milestone for the future of Aurizon,” the ASX-listed company’s executive vice president for human resources John Stephens said.

“This is the catalyst for significant productivity enhancements and workplace flexibility in order to deliver for our customers and sustain and grow our business.”

Each of the new EAs has a 3-year duration.

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