Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Cleveland Accident - Safety First for the RTBU

Members will no doubt be aware of the near calamitous accident at Cleveland last week. I am naturally pleased and relieved that our member who was driving the train is recovering well and hopes to return to work shortly. I am also relieved that there was no serious injuries to the Guard, station staff and the public generally as all were exposed to enormous risk as a result of this incident.

An immediate response to this accident was Traincrew members and delegates advising the RTBU that numerous issues with the braking system on 160s and 260 type units many of which had been logged over the years and there was a concern alive within the workforce in this respect.

There was a little concern amongst some Traincrew in particular that the RTBU did not immediately respond. I am pleased to say that this concern has now been put to bed as a result of most of these members now appreciating that before the Union could make a call with significant impact on Train operations, appropriate consultation with our members and QR was required.

The decision of the RTBU was dictated by the fact that QR were not prepared to stand down the class of trains that Traincrew had concerns about the current safety of their operation. After listening to our membersí concerns, analysing material and feedback received and discussing the issues with senior QR operational and safety management, the RTBU instructed our members not to operate the classes of trains identified by Traincrew as being of concern.

As members will be aware QR immediately sought orders from the Fair Work Commission for the Union instruction to be overturned citing that it was industrial action.

Following advice from our solicitors, the RTBU submitted an appeal against the Fair Work Commission decision as this is not industrial action, rather completely related to imminent risk to workers and by extension, the general public.

Whilst the Union has received fairly positive coverage in the media about Driver safety concerns and have not received one complaint from the public, there has been some criticism of the Union, particularly the manner in which we have utilised members' resources.

I would like to emphasise to members that regardless of attacks upon me or the Union in the media about wasting members money, I will not be apologising to the Courier Mail or anyone else for using the best lawyers and or barristers available to represent membersí interests when it comes to their health and safety.

Safety of our members, whether driving trains, working on the track, on the platforms or anywhere else in the industry is paramount to the RTBU and was the sole interest of the RTBU in addressing this current issue.

Naturally, the RTBU will keep members advised of all developments in this respect.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary
Queensland Branch

More information on the Cleveland Accident below

Catastrophic Brake Failure - Members would be aware of the catastrophic brake failure that resulted in the incident at Cleveland Station yesterday. Following from this we have sought as much information from high-level managers of QR as possible.
Safety Concerns QR Fleet - On Thursday, 31 January, a major incident occurred ... to read more click PDF (525Kb)
Update: Safety Concerns - Members will be aware that the RTBU has been very active in respect of issues flowing from the potentially disastrous incident at Cleveland last Thursday. I am naturally pleased and relieved that the Traincrew appear to be recovering well and that no serious injuries occurred. However the enormous trauma the Driver of the train would have experienced when approaching the station, without having the opportunity to stop or even slow down the train is an experience no person should ever have to encounter.