Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Abuse of Drugs & Alcohol Testing

Members will be aware that drug and alcohol testing has become the norm in industrial workplaces throughout Australia.

While this was seen to be particularly intrusive in the early days, the reality is that workers have become accustomed to it and indeed some members of the RTBU have indicated that they consider it as a positive contribution to safety in the workplace.

The RTBU fought very strongly to minimise the impact on members by campaigning to avoid the need for memberís bodily fluids to be extracted and tested in respect of this matter. This was a success we had managed to maintain in Aurizon, though we do appreciate that sometimes going to other businesses or workplaces this becomes a grey area.

However, the RTBU and indeed society in general, would expect the employer to have some courtesy towards their workers when asking them to participate in this exercise.

It was disappointing to learn that Aurizon has commenced public testing of members (in groups) rather than giving individual privacy when such an exercise is underway.

Last week the RTBU wrote to Aurizon seeking the implementation of appropriate privacy practices when testing is occurring for members of this union. Aurizon have today indicated that they are investigating the RTBUís concerns and will respond shortly.

I do of course appreciate that in many parts of Aurizon the local management ensure that appropriate privacy is provided to members and Iím pleased to say that the abuse of privacy standards does not occur throughout the organisation. However, members should be treated with respect in every workplace and the RTBU is therefore seeking that this occurs.

To help us in pursuing this matter I would be very much obliged if any members who feel aggrieved with the privacy standards they encounter in drug and alcohol testing scenarios provide details to:

info@rtbu.com.au - Heading: Drug & Alcohol Testing

Another significant concern is Aurizonís decision to stand down members without pay if a test appears to be positive. Historically the practise has been for payment to continue while the matter is investigated. Given the financial commitments many workers have these days, this is a very disturbing initiative by your employer. The initial response from Aurizon when we challenged them on this was fairly blasť and we are now taking advice on progressing this matter.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch