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Interstate drivers find common ground at QLD coal conference

Aug 29, 2011Update

The Queensland Branch of the RTBU, with the support of the National Office, convened the National Coal Train Drivers Conference in July 26 at Sarina, near Mackay, in Queensland.

The conference bought together 40 drivers from across the country, plus a representative from New Zealand.

Ten NSW drivers attended from the three main coal operators, Pacific National, Freightliner and Queensland National. Queensland also had 15 drivers from QRN and Pacific National, and one member came from Collie, Western Australia.

All delegates gave an account of issues at their respective companies and depots, and it was amazing to hear how their similar issues were across all states, despite have quite different enterprise agreements.

The main issues of concern were rostering, hostile management including inconsistent disciplining of drivers – such as one driver getting a warning while another was suspended for a similar incident.

Other problems were PN Coal and non-union EAs, locomotives not being repaired or kept up to standard, and general employee dissatisfaction over the fact that pay rates are considerably less than others in the area.

Feedback received from the delegates that attended has been very positive and all attendees are keeping in contact to pass on information about issues across the borders.

Bob Nanva, National Secretary addressed the conference, as did Qld Branch Secretary Owen Doogan and NSW Branch Secretary Alex Claassens.

There was also very good input from Bruce Mackie (Qld State President), Bob Hayden (NSW Loco Secretary), Shayne Kummerfield (Qld Organiser), Les Moffitt (Northern Organiser), Steve Wright (NSW Loco Organiser), Craig Allen (Central Qld Organiser) and Ian Wyllie (Sarina Organiser).