Australasian Railway Association chief executive Danny Broad. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

AusRAIL plenary speakers announced

An impressive selection of speakers have been announced to present their ideas, opinions and insight during the Plenary conference sessions at this year’s AusRAIL Conference and Exhibition, which will take place in Adelaide on November 22 and 23.

Rail Express is the official media partner of AusRAIL, the Australasian Railway Association’s annual exhibition and conference.

You can download your copy of the AusRAIL 2016 brochure here. The following schedule has been announced (subject to change):

 

Day 1 – November 22, 2016

7:30 Registration and morning coffee

9:00 Welcome and opening remarks: Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

9:10 Market outlook for Australia: Adrian Hart, Senior Manager, Infrastructure and Mining, BIS Shrapnel

9:40 The customer’s customer: Rail’s role in delivering expectations and improving the customer experience: Chris Brooks, National Transport Manager, Woolworths Limited

10.00 Making rail more competitive and profitable by introducing barcoding to better control inventory and assets: Maria Palazzolo, Chief Executive Officer, GS1 Australia

10.20 Morning tea and official exhibition opening

11.00 Australia’s transport challenge: Prioritising investment to meet the growth of our cities: Marion Terrill, Transport Program Director, Grattan Institute

11.20 Road-Rail Pricing: Achieving a shift from debate to reality: The Hon John Anderson AO, Chair, Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI)

11.40 FORUM – Investment and innovation: How can we fast-forward change in the freight game

  • Facilitator:Nicole Lockwood, Chair, Freight and Logistics Council WA
  • John Fullerton, CEO, ARTC
  • Marika Calfas, CEO, NSW Ports
  • Paul Larsen, CEO, Brookfield Rail
  • Greg Pauline, Managing Director, Genesee & Wyoming
  • Clare Gardiner-Barnes, Deputy Secretary, Freight, Strategy and Planning, Transport for NSW
  • Alan Piper, Group General Manager Sales & Commercial, KiwiRail

12.30 Lunch – served within the exhibition Sponsored by ARTC

2.00 Afternoon technical streams: Click here for the technical stream schedule

5.30 – 7.30 AusRAIL 2016 Exhibition Networking Drinks Sponsored by McConnell Dowell

 

Day 2 – November 23, 2016

8:00 Welcome coffee

9:00 Welcome and opening remarks: Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

9:10 FEDERAL OPPOSITION ADDRESS: Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Cities and Tourism

9:30 ARA CHAIRMAN’S ADDRESS: Bob Herbert AM, Chairman, Australasian Railway Association (ARA)

9:50 Morning tea

10.30 FORUM – Women in rail

  • Facilitator: David Irwin, CEO, Pacific National
  • Sue McCarrey, CEO, The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator
  • Emma Thomas, Director-General, Transport Canberra and City Services ACT
  • Naomi Frauenfelder, Executive Director, TrackSAFE Foundation
  • Luba Grigorovitch, Victorian Branch Secretary, RTBU
  • Rowenna Walker, Global Service Leader, Rail and Mass Transit, Aurecon
  • Jenny McAuliffe, Executive General Manager People, ARTC
  • Sinead Giblin, Director of Operations, Northern, Jacobs

11.30 Young Rail Professionals Innovation Pitching Competition

12.00 Lunch

1:30 INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Wheels of fortune: MTR’s Value Capture Model: Terry Wong, Head of Australian Business, MTR Corporation Limited

2:00 A tale of two cities – Metro in Sydney and Melbourne: Rodd Staples, Program Director, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW

2:40 Afternoon tea – served within the Exhibition

3:10 FORUM – Technology, social media and big data: Embracing change to improve the customer offering

  • Facilitator:Prof Graham Currie, Chair of Public Transport and Director, Public Transport Research Group, Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University
  • Howard Collins, Chief Executive, Sydney Trains
  • Andrew Lezala, CEO, Metro Trains Melbourne
  • René Lalande, Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation
  • Loretta Lynch, Managing Director, Gold Coast Light Rail, Keolis Downer
  • Kevin Wright, Chief Operating Officer, Queensland Rail
  • Michael Miller, Acting CEO, Downer Rail
  • Paul Gelston, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, South Australia

4.30 Close of conference

7:00 AUSRAIL 2016 GALA DINNER Sponsored by Downer

Delegates at AusRAIL PLUS 2015. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

AusRAIL technical speakers announced

An intriguing mix of speakers have been outlined for the four streams that will make up the technical portion of this year’s AusRAIL Conference, which will take place in Adelaide on November 22 and 23.

Rail Express is the official media partner of AusRAIL, the Australasian Railway Association’s annual exhibition and conference.

After a plenary session on the first morning of this year’s event, the AusRAIL Conference will split into four technical streams: the RTSA Stream, the RTAA Stream, the IRSE Stream, and the Rail Suppliers Stream.

The following schedules have been announced (subject to change):

 

RTSA Stream

2.10 Opening remarks from the Chair: John Watsford, Rail Engineering Consultant

2.15 Australia’s first fully automated trains for passenger rail – how Sydney Metro has selected and will implement train control technology: Geoff Bateman, Sydney Metro Manager Civil Works Underground Infrastructure, Transport for NSW

2.40 Modernising light rail infrastructure to meet the demands of a growing city: Mike Ford, Senior Track & Civil Design Engineer, Jacobs; Les Kulesza, Principal Advisor, Network Development, Yarra Trams

3.05 Perth’s urban rail renaissance: Dr Philip Laird, Honorary Principal Fellow, University of Wollongong

3.30 Afternoon tea served within the exhibition

4.10 Opening remarks from the Chair: Bill Laidlaw, Rail Engineering Consultant

4.15 The Waratah Train PPP – 10 years on, and going strong: Owen Hayford, Partner, Clayton Utz

4.40 Integration of multi-mode passenger information for regional train and coach operations: Mark Wood, General Manager Communications – Electronics, 4Tel; Tony Crosby General Manager – Services, 4Tel

5.05 Rolling stock fire safety: A global view: Lachlan Henderson, Fire Engineer, Metro Trains Melbourne

 

RTAA Stream

2.10 Opening remarks from the Chair: David Bainbridge, Director Strategic Projects, Scott Lister

The RTAA have selected the following 8 papers to be prepared for their technical stream, 6 of these will be selected after review to form the final program:

Next generation of high performance turnout renewals: Matthias Mannhart, Director Rhomberg Sersa Technology, Sersa Maschineller Gleisbau; Henrik Vocks, Manager Technical Services, Rhomberg Rail Australia

Turnout grinding: Why and how: Simon Thomas, Application Engineer, Speno Rail Maintenance Australia

Non-ballasted track forms: A survey of global best practices: Maneesh Gupta, Technical Director, AECOM Australia

Future on rail: Economocal ecological track maintenance: Rainer Wenty, Manager Strategic Marketing and Roman Wiesinger, Executive Assistant, Plasser & Theurer

Advances in tamping technology: Roger Grossniklaus, Marketing and Sales Director, MATISA Materiel Industriel

Hydraulic Tamping: A Glimpse into the Future: Sam Botterill, Managing Director, System7 Australia

Sudden death, early retirement or merely a midlife crisis: The performance of SC 47kg/m rail in ARTC’s Interstate Network: Nick Petticrew, Rail Performance Manager, Interstate Network, ARTC

A cost-effective alternative to conventional concrete track slab design and construction: Todd Clarke, Sales Engineer, Elasto Plastic Concrete

 

IRSE Stream

2.10 Opening remarks from the Chair: Trevor Moore, Signalling Standards Engineer, ARTC

2.15 Rail level crossings: Paul Salmon, Professor Human Factors, Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, University of the Sunshine Coast

2.40 Near misses in remote locations: Investigating rail level crossing incidents in the Pilbara: Dr Anjum Naweed, Principal Research Fellow, Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation

3.05 Level Crossing Power Supply Design for Safety: Ian Maydrew, Signal Engineer Standards, ARTC

3.30 Afternoon tea served within the exhibition

4.10 Opening remarks from the Chair

4.15 Comparison of advanced train control solutions for freight lines in Australia – “Moving Freight Forward”: Dr Brenton Atchison, Engineering Manager, Advanced Signalling, Siemens

4.40 Long term strategy for wayside systems: Deepak Jagan, Wayside Engineering Analyst, ARTC

5.05 Australia’s cities of tomorrow: Light rail as an agent for change: Toby Lodge, Light Rail Sector Lead and Principal, Hassell

 

Rail Suppliers Stream

2.10 Opening remarks from the Chair: Stephan van der Lit, Manager, Industry Engagement, Rolling Stock Development Division, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Victoria

2.15 Innovation and sustainability: Daniel Dunoyé, Business Development Expert, System & Infrastructure, Alstom Asia Pacific

2.40 Mastering last minute changes: Rail planning and scheduling for passenger and freight operations: Cameron Collie, National Program Manager – Rail, Quintiq

3.05 The key to success: Fully managing your infrastructure security: Matthew Benn, Business Development Manager, Selectlok Australia

3.30 Afternoon tea served within the exhibition

4.10 Opening remarks from the Chair

4.15 Session to be advised

4.40 Challenges in developing an efficient bridge design for the ETTT Viaduct: Penny Campbell, Structural Engineer, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

5.05 Building a business case for an Energy Storage System (ESS) in a rail network: Caroline Phillips, Area Sales Manager – Transportation, ABB Australia

 

Following the technical streams, the AusRAIL 2016 Exhibition Networking Drinks will take place in the exhibition hall from 5.30 to 7.30pm.

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ARTC staff vote yes to work agreement

Disruptions on the Austalian Rail Track Corporation network in New South Wales could be coming to an end, after workers approved a new Enterprise Agreement, despite union criticism.

The ARTC on Monday announced the majority of workers polled in a vote which began last Thursday, had voted in favour of the Corporation’s latest work offer, which includes pay rises of 2% every year for the next three years.

This was despite heavy campaigning from the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) urging workers to vote no on the matter.

Intense industrial action has taken place on the ARTC’s NSW interstate passenger and freight network in recent days, and more strikes are scheduled for next week.

The results of the study will need to be ratified by the Fair Work Commission before the union’s planned strikes become unlawful, however, so the union now has to decide whether it will take action despite the writing already being on the wall.

“This has been a difficult period for our business and the rail industry generally,” ARTC boss John Fullerton said.

“With a majority of NSW staff voting in favour of the new enterprise agreement, our focus now shifts to rebuilding and restoring confidence in rail.

“While there is potential for notified industrial action to go ahead, we are hopeful of being able to return to normal operations as soon as possible and running trains safely and reliably.”

The ARTC will make an application with the Fair Work Commission, where it will be reviewed for compliance with the ‘Better Off Overall Test’ (BOOT) and assigned to a Fair Work Commission member for decision.

Freight rail track - stock - credit Shutterstock (8)

More strikes loom as ARTC puts deal to vote

The ARTC has warned of further disruptions on the NSW intercity freight and passenger network, after unions notified it of “indefinite” industrial action plans.

A vote – conducted by the ARTC – is being held on Thursday, August 11, for the employer’s current version of the next NSW Enterprise Agreement, but the Rail Tram and Bus Union has told its members to vote no to the deal.

The news of more strike action comes after a meeting between the ARTC and the unions – led by the RTBU – was cancelled after the ARTC claimed disruptions took place on its network despite an agreement from the union that action would not take place.

The RTBU said it told members not to take action as it had agreed to meet with the ARTC in the Hunter.

But after the ARTC said action did take place, the meeting was cancelled.

RTBU NSW branch secretary Alex Claassens accused the ARTC of reneging on the commitment to meet, saying the unions had withdrawn the workplace stoppages.

“We were shocked and dismayed when the ARTC contacted us after 4pm Monday afternoon, after we had cancelled that day’s stoppages, to tell us the meeting had been called off after telling their own staff via internal email that our meeting would go ahead,” the union boss said.

“We are deeply disappointed that the ARTC has behaved in such an underhanded and distrustful manner.

“It begs the question, who is really running the ARTC?”

ARTC boss John Fullerton said he was disappointed the unions had decided to continue their campaign.

“In an environment where our customers are shedding staff or freezing wages, we believe we have put a fair offer forward,” Fullerton said on Wednesday, August 10.

“What is not fair is the elderly, families, workers and businesses continue to be impacted as a result of this dispute.

“A 2% pay increase per year, over three years and no loss of conditions is fair and reasonable.”

Coal Train Photo Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator

ARTC, union stoush turns bitter as meeting cancelled

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has accused the Rail Tram and Bus Union of breaking a ceasefire, with disruptions impacting the corporation’s NSW network despite the union agreeing to put industrial action on hold.

The ARTC, which manages 8500 kilometres of track across five states, including the NSW interstate and freight networks, is negotiating with a clutch of unions – let by the RTBU – towards a new work agreement to cover its NSW staff.

16 forms of industrial action were announced by the unions last week, with work stoppages taking place since Wednesday, August 3.

But the sides agreed to meet over the weekend, with the unions saying on Sunday, August 7, that a two-hour stoppage scheduled for Monday, August 8, would be put on hold “in an act of good faith”.

According to the ARTC, however, a “lack of clarity” from the unions to the workforce meant services were still impacted, and “a number of indefinite industrial actions continue”.

ARTC boss John Fullerton is not happy.

“While ARTC and NSW RTBU Branch Secretary Alex Claassens agreed to meet to discuss the current industrial action, this was on the condition that industrial action would be called off,” he said on Monday.

“ARTC agreed to meet with union officials [on August 9] to discuss the dispute – not to re-open negotiations, but this was always on the condition that all industrial action would be called off.

“Unfortunately various forms of indefinite industrial action are continuing.

“ARTC provided the combined unions a final opportunity to call off all industrial action this morning. They have refused to do so which means the conditions of the meeting have not been met.”

Fullerton said there was “no way” the sides could meet given the circumstances.

“The action continues to delay NSW rail passengers, businesses and the community,” he said.

As a result, the ARTC will proceed to a vote among its employees on Thursday, August 11, with the current offer of a 2% per year pay rise over three years, and no loss of conditions.

Fullerton says the offer is “fair and reasonable”.

But Claassens says the ARTC is not putting forward “any reasonable offer”.

“We cannot accept an agreement that would send the pay and conditions of our members backwards and leave them exposed in the case of privatisation,” he said on Monday.

Fullerton roasted the union action over the weekend, saying it “has cost the NSW economy millions [and] set rail back years”.

“We have spent the last decade building and modernising our rail network, but the unions seem determined to take us backwards,” he said on Sunday.

ARTC network in disarray as workers strike

Hundreds of freight, coal and passenger rail services are being delayed or disrupted in New South Wales and north-east Victoria after union workers began strike action on Wednesday morning.

The protected industrial action is a result of ongoing struggles between the Rail Tram and Bus Union and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

The sides are working towards an enterprise agreement to cover roughly 580 staff in New South Wales.

But they at odds on several details of the new deal, after RTBU members rejected the ARTC’s initial offers in December, and rejected another draft proposal more recently.

The result is 16 forms of protected actions announced by the union to take place between 7am on August 3 and 7am on August 7 (Sunday), including two 24-hour stoppages.

ARTC chief executive John Fullerton said he expects the Hunter coal network “to come to a halt” for four straight days as a result of the action.

“We’re working closely with our customers to manage this process safely,” he said.

“We are disappointed these disruptions are being forced upon our customers and we apologise to them for the impacts, loss of custom and loss of freight this potentially means.

“We urge passenger train customers to plan ahead, check with their passenger operator and consider arranging alternative transport, particularly if they have any important appointments like Doctor visits.”

A full list of the expected action can be found on the ARTC website.

The ARTC says it has provided a new draft agreement to the union which proposes a 2% wage increase each year over the three year contract, and no loss of conditions.

The network owner says it is currently facing low interstate freight volumes and low coal prices.

“We are committed to reaching a fair and sustainable agreement.” Fullerton said.

But the union’s NSW branch secretary Alex Claassens says the most recent offer from the ARTC is a backwards step in negotiations.

“Despite the fact that employees emphatically voted down the last enterprise agreement in December, ARTC has put another draft proposal to workers with a reduced offer that just takes negotiations backwards,” Claassens said on August 3.

“This dramatic and punitive action by the company ignores the views of its employees and employees’ willingness to negotiate to reach an agreement.”

Classens said the ARTC is not willing to address worker concerns.

“Workers just want a fair hearing,” he said.

“But from the beginning ARTC has been unwilling to budge.

“They’ve been hiding behind the federal government’s Workplace Bargaining Policy to demonstrate why they can’t give workers a better offer, but this is a document that ARTC is not even bound by.”

Claassens said many of the claims put forward by the union will come at “no cost to the company,” including fairer rostering principles, improved consultation with workers, and better dispute resolution.

He also said workers are “denied any breaks during an 8 hour shift,” another claim the union wants resolved.

He said the union regretted inconveniencing the public.

“We certainly didn’t want it to come to this, but unfortunately we’ve been left with no other option,” Claassens said.

“The workers simply can’t sit back and let the company refuse to make simple common sense changes that would improve working conditions.”

Photo: Ports of Auckland

Former Auckland Transport official pleads guilty to corruption

Passenger operator Auckland Transport has welcomed the guilty plea of a former employee at the Auckland High Court on August 3.

69-year-old Barrie Kenneth James George pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and bribery totalling $103,580.54, stemming from his part in alleged behaviour by former employees of Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council.

New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged George , along with Stephen James Borlase and Murray John Noone, in April 2015.

George had been employed as an engineer at Rodney District Council since 1974, and then as a senior manager at Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport, where he was responsible for delivering maintenance and renewal works until 2013.

The SFO says he has admitted to receiving undisclosed payments or gratuities while in various engineering or management roles between December 2005 and June 2013.

According to the SFO, the gratuities often came in the form of cash, travel, accommodation and entertainment.

SFO director Julie Read said the Office welcomed George’s guilty plea.

“The offending in this case occurred over approximately eight years,” she said.

“In circumstances such as these, this conduct becomes part of the culture of an organisation, and can continue unquestioned.

“This does not excuse the offending and it is important that employees who are offered gifts, money or benefits by clients (or prospective clients) ask themselves whether their employer is aware of the offer and whether it might be an offence to accept.”

Auckland Transport said the charges were raised after it held an internal investigation, which began in 2012.

“That investigation focused on the securing and managing of contracts, primarily in the Road Corridor Maintenance area,” the operator said.

“This followed claims of alleged impropriety, a number of which pre-dated Auckland Transport’s formation.

“As a result of the internal investigation Mr George and several other staff were either dismissed or resigned, and the file handed over to the SFO.”

George will be in court again for sentencing on September 1.

The other two defendants are to stand trial later this year.

Coal wagons Aurizon. Photo: Aurizon

Changes to management structure at Aurizon

Aurizon boss Lance Hockridge has announced a number of changes to senior management at the Queensland-based rail operator, as part of the company’s ongoing “transformation program”.

Four executive vice president (EVP) roles will be merged into two, leaving Aurizon with five EVPs reporting to Hockridge.

Hockridge said the moves reflect the current tough market conditions.

The merger of Aurizon’s Strategy and Business Development function and its Commercial and Marketing function, will mean former Commercial and Marketing EVP Mauro Neves will now run both functions, and the current Acting EVP of Strategy and Business Development will report to him in a vice president role.

The functions of Enterprise Services and Human Resources will also be merged by the end of the calendar year.

That change will lead to the departure of Enterprise Services EVP Jenny Purdie by the end of this month, and Human Resources EVP John Stephens by the end of the year.

“As we transition to the new structure, John will continue in his current role and Steve Mann will act in the role of EVP Enterprise Services,” Hockridge outlined.

“A recruitment search, including internal candidates, will be undertaken for the new role leading the merged function.”

The managing director plans to divulge further details of the new structure as part of Aurizon’s full year results presentation on August 15.

Minister welcomes Alstom apprentice program

Victorian training and skills minister Steve Herbert has praised manufacturer Alstom for the training and development program operated out of its rollingstock facility in Ballarat.

Herbert visited the facility on June 16 to discuss the state government’s $3.7 million in extra funding to help apprentices finish their training, and present an award to Alstom for its work.

In Ballarat, Alstom employs two apprentices, hosts three more from a local Group Training Organisation, and supports five school-based trainees from Ballarat Secondary College.

Herbert said Victorian Labor plans to spend $2.7 million to extend its Apprenticeship Support Officer program for another year, and $1 million to work with TAFEs, Group Training Organisations and employers “to identify ways to help apprentices complete their training”.

“We know that some apprentices need an extra hand to finish their training,” the minister said during his visit. “Extra funding will mean many more are able to get the skills needed to get a real job.”

National statistics suggest only 56% of apprenticeships commenced in 2010 were completed.

Alstom’s site manager at Ballarat, Herb Schmidt, welcomed the recognition from the minister.

“Today was an important recognition of the work done by Alstom and its employees in providing opportunities and ongoing support to the young, disadvantaged and long term unemployed,” Schmidt said.

“The awards reflect the work done to date in this field and represent our ongoing commitment to training of apprentices and mentors – benefits that extend to not just Alstom but the broader Ballarat community.”

Drama at ports as Newcastle blocked, Patrick-MUA bicker

It’s been a dramatic few days on Australia’s waterfront, with climate change protestors blocking trade at the Port of Newcastle, and one of the nation’s biggest stevedores squaring off with the maritime union.

With additional reportage by Ian Ackerman.


A flotilla of kayaks, canoes, yachts and various homemade watercraft blocked the entrance to the Hunter River – and therefore the Port of Newcastle – on Sunday, May 8.

The waterborne-blockade stretched across the river from the southern bank at the intersection of Horseshoe Bend road and Newcastle Dog Beach (approximately 720m south-west of Nobbys Lighthouse) to the northern bank at the Pitt Street Reserve.

Among the waterborne protestors was the Senator for Victoria and Greens leader Richard di Natale.

The port was shut for about six hours from 11am to about 5pm.

A spokesman for the protestors said the blockade and protest was a symbolic demonstration against a lack of perceived action to tackle climate change.

A spokesperson for the Port of Newcastle condemned the protestors’ behaviour.

“Protestors’ actions in attempting to block the port, trains and terminal equipment had the potential to put themselves and workers of the various companies in serious danger,” the spokesperson said.

“In a safety-focused industry, their behaviour is a concern.”

Protestors also blocked a rail-link into the port to prevent the passage of trains and the port’s receival of coal.

Approximately 66 people were arrested, according to NSW Police; most due to alleged actions on landside infrastructure including rail lines, conveyor belts and bridges.

David Anderson, CEO of peak body Ports Australia, said the body was “highly critical of the reckless and dangerous behaviours of the protestors at the weekend”.

 

Patrick at odds with union

Meanwhile, one of the nation’s biggest stevedoring companies is at odds with the notoriously militant Maritime Union of Australia.

MUA members overwhelmingly rejected an enterprise bargaining agreement vote 98% to 2%, which the union says Patrick arranged in a failed attempt to thwart the union.

“Now it’s time to stop playing games and get back to the table,” declared Mr Tracey.

He went on to say the vote gave the MUA clear authority in negotiations.

“Political parties claim mandates with only 51% of the vote, therefore a vote in excess of 98% gives the MUA an all clear to continue what we’ve been doing from the very start; that is, representing the membership,” Tracey said.

“The overwhelming majority voting no to the shoddy agreement also shows that the stall in negotiations has come from their side of the fence.”

Tracey criticised the cost of the ballot; Patrick hired independent pollster Elections Australia to conduct the vote.

“I have no idea how much this private ballot cost, but I can only assume a pretty penny, a pointless pretty penny, which produced nada in terms of a result for Patrick,” he said.

Although workers have lost $8,275.87 on average as a result of the MUA’s strike action to date, according to Patrick, Tracey argued the workers are willing and able to take the loss.

“Our members are willing to lose money to secure conditions,” he said.

“The workers understand this agreement is much more than take-home cash, this is about ensuring they have job security, increased permanency and safety on the job.”

A senior executive of Patrick, the stevedoring subsidiary of Asciano, meanwhile said it will lock out its workforce in retaliation to any strike action.

“If further industrial action is initiated, a lockout of the workforce becomes a more probable measure rather than a mere possibility,” said Alex Badenoch, a senior member of the Patrick management team.

Badenoch said the company is carefully considering its next steps and may go towards binding arbitration.

Any binding arbitration hearings would be before the industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission.

“This comes at a risk to the company but we recognise arbitration may be the fairest and most effective path to resolving this impasse, given that we are working with a union that lacks the maturity to negotiate in a manner to conclude an agreement that supports both its members and the business upon which our employees ultimately rely,” she said.

“It’s a path the MUA has refused so far to consider.

“If we cannot reach agreement on what is a fair offer, or have the matter arbitrated by consent then our choices narrow considerably.”

This is an edited version of a pair of stories which originally appeared on Rail Express affiliate Lloyd’s List Australia.