Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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"Agreed" the most complicated word in Aurizon

I know the word agreed seems a very simple word, unless you work under an Aurizon agreement.

Every day your union is being inundated with calls from members who are being affected by the clause:

“unless otherwise agreed” in the Aurizon agreements

For example, the maximum shift is 12 hrs “unless otherwise agreed” or the break between shifts is 10 hrs “unless otherwise agreed”.

The dictionary says AGREED “discussed or negotiated and then accepted by all parties”.

These clauses are meant to be the exception. Something has gone wrong and the worker “AGREES” it should not be expected and be happening every day.

Members are reporting that they are being told that something is expected or everyone else does it, etc or they are reporting feeling intimidated into agreement or worse Aurizon is contriving a situation that makes it more practical to keep working than getting relief etc.

This practice must stop and members need to stand up for their industrial entitlements for example:

Once posted, the start time of a shift in the daily roster may be altered only once, unless agreed otherwise
RSM employees required to travel for work will not be required to travel more than 12 days in 42 unless otherwise agreed

The fact that Aurizon can ask if an employee if they agree BUT agree means it is up to that member to either say yes or no. Your union is very keen to learn about situations that have been arising where members felt intimidated to say yes or in fact have not agreed and that right has been ignored.

It is not a case of refusing duty (as has been intimated) by some supervisors.

It is in fact your right to say NO. You are entitled to NOT AGREE to a request if the agreement says “unless agreed otherwise”.

If you are not sure, please read your agreement or ask your workplace delegate for advice.


Members have reported, in some cases recently, when they have sought relief due to fatigue they are “being singled out for a ‘special chat’ when they get back to the depot”.

Your union has very grave concerns about reports of ‘special chats’ and we publicly question Aurizon’s commitment to ZERO harm if members feel singled out when they have sought fatigue relief.

In a 24/7 workplace, fatigue is a silent killer and we encourage all members who may feel fatigued at any time during the shift to stop immediately and seek relief. It does not matter if you are 1 hour into a shift or 11 hours in.

One particular incident that was brought to my attention this week was when a driver who was on a 2 person Traincrew configuration advised that due to their mate being unable to drive ‘not qualified’ they were feeling very tired and wanting relief around 10hrs on duty. Whilst the relief was arranged the driver was pursued for a ‘special chat’ on return to the depot. This is simply not on. Any member who feels that they have been singled out after asking for relief due to fatigue is asked to contact your local RTBU official as soon as possible.

Unity is Strength

Bruce Mackie
Queensland State President