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QUEENSLAND Rail train crew will receive a 12 per cent pay rise over four years – more than teachers and police – despite commuters enduring chaos from a timetable crisis caused by a driver shortage.
As Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe yesterday trumpeted a delay-free New Year’s Eve service following a disastrous Christmas Day for the network, The Courier-Mail can reveal embattled rail operator QR has reached an in-principle agreement with unions that includes a 3 per cent annual pay rise for the next four years.
The deal will be put to employees to vote on.
As part of the deal, the controversial 20-minute “comfort break”, which is given to all staff after working just 2.5 hours, has been scrapped.
The other major break – 40 minutes after working a minimum of six hours – remains.
The deal is more than police and teachers received – both securing 2.5 per cent rises for the next three years.
The base salary of a QR train driver on the southeast Queensland network is $92,574 and guards receive $87,016 excluding overtime on the existing agreement. With overtime payments many drivers and guards earn six-figure salaries.
Under-fire Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.Opposition transport spokesman Andrew Powell said the deal was too generous considering the ongoing timetable crisis affecting train passengers.
“After weeks of crippling rail fail, the least commuters could expect of Stirling Hinchliffe is that he seek assurances from the union that any new pay deal for QR employees is tied to performance,” Mr Powell said.
“Unfortunately for commuters, the unions’ bosses are pulling the strings at QR.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the proposed EBA would allow more workplace flexibility.
“Based on advice to me, I’m confident these new arrangements will allow Queensland Rail to deliver for its customers into the new year,” he said.
Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland secretary Owen Doogan confirmed an in-principle agreement.
Mr Hinchliffe was yesterday still waiting for QR to provide a more comprehensive report into the Christmas Day rail fail.
Chief operating officer Kevin Wright was forced to resign following the rail fail.
While Mr Hinchliffe celebrated a successful night of New Year’s Eve services, Deputy Opposition Leader Deb Freckli
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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