Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
About the RTBU
Contact us

Route Tuition/Traction Competence Disputes

The Route tuition and traction qualification disputes have been ongoing for over a year.

The dispute arose when Aurizon said that anyone who was qualified to drive a particular type of locomotive, (Diesel or electric), was automatically competent to drive any type of traction within that class. In other words, if youíre competent to drive one Diesel loco, youíre competent to drive them all.
Beyond that, they deemed everyone who had driven a particular route competent to provide route tuition.

The disputes come from the view of Aurizon that traincrew needed to be traction qualified according to safeworking standards to ensure the safety of everyone in the system.

Beyond that, we were concerned that when it came to route tuition it was pretty clear that the person providing the route tuition should be capable of delivering the tuition. They should be certified as competent as well as have the capacity to actually teach people.

The dispute around route tuition has been pursued by both the RTBU and the AFULE and in both instances agreement was reached on sensible grounds, but from the reports provided by members, Aurizon donít seem to be able to keep their word. In other words, the outcomes reached arenít being abided by, in that people are still being asked to provide route tuition when they may not have the skills to do so and traincrew are being deemed competent without driving routes or receiving tuition.

The above circumstances appear to the Union to be below an acceptable safety standards.

Given the above, we recently approached to the Rail Safety Regulator about these matters, as we consider this to be the only way forward given the significant safety factors involved.

The only concern we have is that the complaint process is largely confidential. In most cases this is an advantage to members and their ability to complain anonymously. In the present situation while we can be actively involved in the process we donít get to see enough of the action being pursued against the company to be satisfied. To be clear Ė we are confident that the regulator is taking our complaint seriously, but currently the law makes the process they engage in with Aurizon confidential. We would prefer to understand better what they are seeking Aurizon to do so we can monitor it.

Currently the Queensland Government is considering new rail safety laws. Weíre encouraged that there is a dispute process for these sorts of matters therein and we will be arguing it allows us more information than is currently the case.

For now we have to remain vigilant. It means reporting breaches on incident report forms and ensuring these problems are recorded. We need to make sure that if Aurizon are breaking these rules they are held to account. If we just let them go, the company will get away with it every time.

Unity is Strength

Shayne Kummerfeld
Locomotive Division & State Organiser