Parkes Freight Terminal
Pacific National recently notified employees that they were starting consultation on moving to their new freight terminal. One would think this is a good thing however it was not until PN had built their terminal that they decided to consult. Effectively the horse had bolted; the facility was already built with no input from employees.
After requests from local delegates, the RTBU lodged a notice of dispute. The dispute included:
- lack of consultation;
- the facility not meeting WHS requirements; and
- rail safety concerns regarding aspects of the facility.
The Union has had several meetings and PN and met with local delegates and Health and Safety Representatives on site recently in an attempt to resolve issues.
As a result of the dispute, PN have agreed to:
- Keep the current May Street building open for Bulk employees who shunt in the Parkes yard;
- Provide ice machines at both locations;
- Install a clothes dryer at the new facility;
- Provide a sheltered smoking area in the car park;
- Change the parking lot to address safety concerns that were raised; and
- Discuss an EA requirement to develop a communications monitoring policy in regards to concerns around use of CCTV.
Delegates and HSR’s also raised a number of concerns around train operations and the condition of the new yard in regards to walkways, uneven surfaces and raised ballast.
PN have indicated they will develop procedures in consultation with HSR’s and delegates to eliminate risk to employees, however this is of concern considering PN want to start running trains into the new terminal in the coming days.
While we will continue to work with PN on this matter we urge all members to take extra precautions with any work or instruction in relation to this new terminal.
Employees need to be inducted to the new site and be trained in any procedure that is in place for this facility. If any member has concerns they should raise the concern with their Supervisor and HSR. We urge all members to be aware of their surrounds and be extra vigilant regarding their personal safety.
Members at Parkes would also be aware that PN have employed new roles for this facility. These new employees may have minimal knowledge and experience with rail. We encourage all members to talk to these new employees about any safety concerns and also raise the benefits of joining the Union to assist with any concerns they may have.