Rail union wants pay for banned drug-drivers

 
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I cannot open this story as rated as premium. But is this true, the union expects drivers to be paid for turning up to work and failing a drug test to drive a train no less? If this true they need a wake up call and look at a calender as most industries today they would be lucky to still have a job. Hopefully a media beat up!



http://www.couriermail.com.au/subscribe/news/1/index.html?sourceCode=CMWEB_WRE170_a&mode=premium&dest=http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/rail-union-wants-banned-drugdrivers-to-be-paid/news-story/7a8c89c2d7e4cbc1b345beba1483ca46&memtype=anonymous
Rail union wants pay for banned drug-driversTRAIN drivers who turn up for shifts and fail mandatory drug and alcohol tests should not be stood down with out pay, Queensland’s.....

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  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
My first reaction... off with their heads! ( metahorically speaking ). Those who put the lives of everyone else on the network at risk have no place in the railways.
However...
There are numerous legal medications that can give a non negative result, and still allow you to drive a train safely. The drug tests that a lot of operators use are normally simple " they have X class drug in system". Until the complete sample is done in the lab, you could be dealing with a driver on heart medication or you could be dealing with a meth head.

So I would support the unions in this, up to the point where reliable, definitive testing is provided that can prevent innocent people being stood down without pay.

(RTT as it stands, if you record a non negative you are stood aside now on pay, until it is confirmed from the lab what you have tested positive for )
  mclaren2007 Assistant Commissioner

Location: recharging my myki
unions Rolling Eyes
  MetroFemme Chief Train Controller

Incredible again highlitimg how Australia is 20 years behind the rest of the world. Where else could you expect to get paid for time off work Wye drugs are being used?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I support seb2351's view on this.
Staff should be stood down with pay until it is absolutely proven that their positive test is as a result of a substance banned from use in the industry.
After that, as seb says, 'off with his/her head'!
  Boss Chief Commissioner

Location: Caulfield Line
I support seb2351's view on this.
Staff should be stood down with pay until it is absolutely proven that their positive test is as a result of a substance banned from use in the industry.
After that, as seb says, 'off with his/her head'!
YM-Mundrabilla
Why not apply the same tests as the police for drug driving?
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
I support seb2351's view on this.
Staff should be stood down with pay until it is absolutely proven that their positive test is as a result of a substance banned from use in the industry.
After that, as seb says, 'off with his/her head'!
Why not apply the same tests as the police for drug driving?
Boss
The Police initial test gets your licence suspended, but you still have to wait until the second sample comes back from a laboratory before you go to court and have your licence cancelled.
In the same way, you fail the initial work test, get suspended with pay until the full test returns, then either return to work or find a new job.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
My first reaction... off with their heads! ( metahorically speaking ). Those who put the lives of everyone else on the network at risk have no place in the railways.
However...
There are numerous legal medications that can give a non negative result, and still allow you to drive a train safely. The drug tests that a lot of operators use are normally simple " they have X class drug in system. Until the complete sample is done in the lab, you could be dealing with a driving on heart medication or you could be dealing with a meth head.

So I would suppoet the unions in this, up to the point where reliable, definitive testing is provided that can prevent innocent people being stood down without pay.

(RTT as it stands, if you record a non negative you are stoof aside now on pay, until it is confirmed from the lab what you have tested positive for )
seb2351

Standard practice in most industrial sites. On arrival you do a mouth swab and breath test, then if this is non-negative, you are sent for further assessment and confirmation you are still showing traces for drugs/alcohol. At no time are you deemed guilty or should loose your pay.

When I worked at the mine, you were sent to a Dr in town for testing and as this took time you got paid and basically half a day off as you couldn't go back to site as too far. At the smelter we had our own Dr so more tests done on site including urine which was sent off site for analysis.

If you draw a positive due to something you are legally taking they can do urine or blood tests to confirm.

I totally agree you get paid until you are deemed guilty through medical testing.

The one that most people argue on is smoking dope as it takes weeks to get out of your system so technically you cannot use it at all unless you take 4-5 weeks leave in one shot and only then the first week. The simple response from Management is usually, "so you want us to support you using an illegal drug?"
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I support seb2351's view on this.
Staff should be stood down with pay until it is absolutely proven that their positive test is as a result of a substance banned from use in the industry.
After that, as seb says, 'off with his/her head'!
Why not apply the same tests as the police for drug driving?
The Police initial test gets your licence suspended, but you still have to wait until the second sample comes back from a laboratory before you go to court and have your licence cancelled.
In the same way, you fail the initial work test, get suspended with pay until the full test returns, then either return to work or find a new job.
Donald
Most people find out that day or next so it should affect pays as most people in heavy industry are now on monthly salaries anyway and even fortnightly it still shouldn't be an issue as payroll continues as normal until the result comes in then usually the result is also attached to some form of disciplinary action which takes time. At the smelter it was 95% dismissal unless you had like 10yrs plus mark free employment record and then you may have a chance.

As I said before, its hard to believe the union is fighting for people to get paid after being found positive for drugs or alcohol at the work place, most places they would be dismissed.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
For the unions' take on the matter read this link http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=715

I support seb2351 and YM-Mundrabilla's   views on this ... it must be proven that the test is positive before punishment is inflicted.

The unions concerns are regarding Aurizon's ability to provide sufficient competent persons to conduct the initial testing as well as the proposal to suspend employees without pay on a negative result to the initial test
unions https://www.railpage.com.au/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif
mclaren2007

You'd prefer the days of old when workers had no guarantee of surviving a day at work?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
For the unions' take on the matter read this link http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=715

I support seb2351 and YM-Mundrabilla's   views on this ... it must be proven that the test is positive before punishment is inflicted.

The unions concerns are regarding Aurizon's ability to provide sufficient competent persons to conduct the initial testing as well as the proposal to suspend employees without pay on a negative result to the initial test
unions https://www.railpage.com.au/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

You'd prefer the days of old when workers had no guarantee of surviving a day at work?
Pressman
How about we simply go back to the mid 90's before drug and alcohol testing took off. I still remember the NSW drivers striking over the proposed implementation of compulsory breath testing at the start of the shift following a number of accidents in Cityrail where alcohol was believed to have been a cause.

Sometimes people can be their own worst enemy.

It's 2016, small mining companies had this compulsory tests sorted out over 10 years ago. The basic equipment to do a breath test for drug and alcohol is just that basic and only a test to sideline someone, not provide a conclusive outcome.

Why is this even a discussion in QR? Drivers at the pointy end of 10,000t of steel at 80km/hr surely don't want to die because of them or some idiot, the union shouldn't be opposing it, the union should be protecting its members demanding D&A testing and suspension of these idiots.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Incredible again highlitimg how Australia is 20 years behind the rest of the world. Where else could you expect to get paid for time off work Wye drugs are being used?
MetroFemme
No one is saying that the most drastic sanctions should not be applied against anyone in the industry who proves positive to an illicit substance.

What most are saying I think can be summarised as stood down with pay until all tests are complete ie the offence is proven. When all of this is complete and if the results are positive then 'off with his/her head'.

What does 'Wye' in your post mean? Is it a typo, a secret acronym or what?
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
For the unions' take on the matter read this link http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=715

I support seb2351 and YM-Mundrabilla's   views on this ... it must be proven that the test is positive before punishment is inflicted.

The unions concerns are regarding Aurizon's ability to provide sufficient competent persons to conduct the initial testing as well as the proposal to suspend employees without pay on a negative result to the initial test
unions https://www.railpage.com.au/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

You'd prefer the days of old when workers had no guarantee of surviving a day at work?
How about we simply go back to the mid 90's before drug and alcohol testing took off. I still remember the NSW drivers striking over the proposed implementation of compulsory breath testing at the start of the shift following a number of accidents in Cityrail where alcohol was believed to have been a cause.

Sometimes people can be their own worst enemy.

It's 2016, small mining companies had this compulsory tests sorted out over 10 years ago. The basic equipment to do a breath test for drug and alcohol is just that basic and only a test to sideline someone, not provide a conclusive outcome.

Why is this even a discussion in QR? Drivers at the pointy end of 10,000t of steel at 80km/hr surely don't want to die because of them or some idiot, the union shouldn't be opposing it, the union should be protecting its members demanding D&A testing and suspension of these idiots.
RTT_Rules
I think you may have got yourself a little confused about what is happening in QLD.

I have done a bit of background work today, and in summary:

Aurizon have developed a new drug and alcohol policy. This has been developed with no consultation with the workforce. The crux of this policy is that;
  • All workers will be tested for drug and alcohol before every shift
  • Anyone returning a non-negative result will be stood down without pay pending further testing. If they are found to be innocent (e.g. heart medication, approved medications previously declared etc) they will be restored to duty.

Sounds fair enough? Well not quite, the union has taken issue with this on the ground that;
  • The EA clearly states any change in drug and alcohol policy will involve a period of consultation. The idea behind is to ensure that safe, fair and industry best practises are observed to ensure that standards are increased, not decreased (so this is a good thing)
  • The company has removed away the presumption of innocence, in so the fact that if you did take a prescribed medication that is allowed, it is still punished. This has financial and career progression consequences
  • The company has implemented this policy, but has not provided the trained staff to administer these tests. So it is unfair that 1 depot is being tested all the time, but other depots are not due to logistical constraints. This issue would have been identified if consultation had of occurred
  • There is no clear answer as to whether a person who is returned to duty will be back paid for the shifts that they have lost in the event that they were innocent.

So, the union is not saying that want druggos on the train. Quite the opposite, but they are asking for a fair process to be implemented, for the EA to be respected and for those who are innocent to be treated as such. The union has maintained its position that it is not supporting allowing quantified drug users to use trains.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
For the unions' take on the matter read this link http://www.rtbu.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=715

I support seb2351 and YM-Mundrabilla's   views on this ... it must be proven that the test is positive before punishment is inflicted.

The unions concerns are regarding Aurizon's ability to provide sufficient competent persons to conduct the initial testing as well as the proposal to suspend employees without pay on a negative result to the initial test
unions https://www.railpage.com.au/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

You'd prefer the days of old when workers had no guarantee of surviving a day at work?
How about we simply go back to the mid 90's before drug and alcohol testing took off. I still remember the NSW drivers striking over the proposed implementation of compulsory breath testing at the start of the shift following a number of accidents in Cityrail where alcohol was believed to have been a cause.

Sometimes people can be their own worst enemy.

It's 2016, small mining companies had this compulsory tests sorted out over 10 years ago. The basic equipment to do a breath test for drug and alcohol is just that basic and only a test to sideline someone, not provide a conclusive outcome.

Why is this even a discussion in QR? Drivers at the pointy end of 10,000t of steel at 80km/hr surely don't want to die because of them or some idiot, the union shouldn't be opposing it, the union should be protecting its members demanding D&A testing and suspension of these idiots.
RTT_Rules
You obviously did not read the link I posted
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Recently and with barely three days’ notice, Aurizon forwarded a new enterprise wide drug and alcohol policy.

Nothing unusal about that, 3 days is huge. Usually its with immediate effect. Safety First.

One element of the policy change means that Aurizon are attempting to conduct alcohol and/or drug testing on employees before they commence each shift. Furthermore it is understood that they intend to stand down anyone who displays a positive result - without pay.
The author of this has not indicated at which point the positive is taken. The wording by another poster is initial swap is Non-negative. Only a medical test can determine a positive.

Needless to say, Aurizon did not approach your Union advising of such drastic changes.
Why does any company need to consult with others to implement higher degrees of safety, is the union anti Safety?
Is this really "drastic"? Why is the author using such language. The author is using very defensive language for process that is supposed to improve their members safety.

In the first instance, the RTBU doubts the capacity of Aurizon to conduct testing in the manner proposed in the latest advice and furthermore the Union questions the right to force employees to take unpaid leave in the circumstances proposed by Aurizon.
Using what evidence? Other large companies smaller than Aurizon can do so. I doubt the union is also in the position and has the technical expertise to make such a judgement call.

Employees should be paid in full until such a time that the medical investigation concludes the outcome. Depending the location this can be done quickly in a day or so.

In the last few days a large number of questions have also arisen about the practicality of the scheme. In absence of any consultation though – it’s no surprise flaws were quick to emerge in the system.
Again the union is being defensive in the companies move to improve safety, why? Look at the calender, is 2016, not 1985.
Because the company didn't consult with the union?

Below is a letter to Aurizon seeking a response on exactly how they propose to undertake such testing, how wide they intend to cast the net and on what basis they believe they have the right to force employees who provide a positive result to take unpaid leave.
More defensive language. Unpaid leave, pft, they should be dismissed!

I will ensure members are advised of Aurizon’s response upon receipt along with what action the RTBU may consider to be required depending on the contents of the response.

Unity is Strength

Yes I also read the letter to the company. Its basically the same;

- Clearly does not support improvement in safety, rather only when it suits their purpose
- Uses defensive language
- Yes there are obviously flaws in conducting each shift in small locations, but offers no suggestion on how to resolve
- Sees that a person who turns up to work drunk or drug affected as a victim rather than a potential irresponsible killer
- Believe's driving a desk is in the same category as driving a train (but yes the policy should be the same for all QR roles)
- Overall makes no suggestions to improve this process or offers examples from other industries on how to fix, best practices etc and is just being part of the problems rather than improving.

No I'm not anti-Union, but why is the union not championing safety improvements? Does it not care for its members?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Drug and Alcohol Testing
Recently and with barely three days’ notice, Aurizon forwarded a new enterprise wide drug and alcohol policy.

Nothing unusal about that, 3 days is huge. Usually its with immediate effect. Safety First.

One element of the policy change means that Aurizon are attempting to conduct alcohol and/or drug testing on employees before they commence each shift. Furthermore it is understood that they intend to stand down anyone who displays a positive result - without pay.
The author of this has not indicated at which point the positive is taken. The wording by another poster is initial swap is Non-negative. Only a medical test can determine a positive.

Needless to say, Aurizon did not approach your Union advising of such drastic changes.
Why does any company need to consult with others to implement higher degrees of safety, is the union anti Safety?
Is this really "drastic"? Why is the author using such language. The author is using very defensive language for process that is supposed to improve their members safety.

In the first instance, the RTBU doubts the capacity of Aurizon to conduct testing in the manner proposed in the latest advice and furthermore the Union questions the right to force employees to take unpaid leave in the circumstances proposed by Aurizon.
Using what evidence? Other large companies smaller than Aurizon can do so. I doubt the union is also in the position and has the technical expertise to make such a judgement call.

Employees should be paid in full until such a time that the medical investigation concludes the outcome. Depending the location this can be done quickly in a day or so.

In the last few days a large number of questions have also arisen about the practicality of the scheme. In absence of any consultation though – it’s no surprise flaws were quick to emerge in the system.
Again the union is being defensive in the companies move to improve safety, why? Look at the calender, is 2016, not 1985.
Because the company didn't consult with the union?

Below is a letter to Aurizon seeking a response on exactly how they propose to undertake such testing, how wide they intend to cast the net and on what basis they believe they have the right to force employees who provide a positive result to take unpaid leave.
More defensive language. Unpaid leave, pft, they should be dismissed!

I will ensure members are advised of Aurizon’s response upon receipt along with what action the RTBU may consider to be required depending on the contents of the response.

Unity is Strength

Yes I also read the letter to the company. Its basically the same;

- Clearly does not support improvement in safety, rather only when it suits their purpose
- Uses defensive language
- Yes there are obviously flaws in conducting each shift in small locations, but offers no suggestion on how to resolve
- Sees that a person who turns up to work drunk or drug affected as a victim rather than a potential irresponsible killer
- Believe's driving a desk is in the same category as driving a train (but yes the policy should be the same for all QR roles)
- Overall makes no suggestions to improve this process or offers examples from other industries on how to fix, best practices etc and is just being part of the problems rather than improving.

No I'm not anti-Union, but why is the union not championing safety improvements? Does it not care for its members?
RTT_Rules
Not questioning the safety aspects of drug testing but this is an ill-conceived botch so far as implementation is concerned.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Not questioning the safety aspects of drug testing but this is an ill-conceived botch so far as implementation is concerned.
YM-Mundrabilla
How come?
  1771D Junior Train Controller

Typical Hockridge non-consultative corporate bastard approach to supposed safety.  Guilty before proven innocent.  From the same a hole who sacks employees for not having their laces done up properly.  
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Typical Hockridge non-consultative corporate bastard approach to supposed safety.  Guilty before proven innocent.  From the same a hole who sacks employees for not having their laces done up properly.
1771D
ALL employers/PCBUs have a duty in the OHS/WHS act in each jurisdiction to consult with their workers in matters affecting safety, so straight off this new policy is on dodgey ground, if indeed they have failed to consult with their workers about this, before it is implemented. Not only do they have a duty to consult, part of the duty is to consider the opinions of their workers on the matter.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Typical Hockridge non-consultative corporate bastard approach to supposed safety.  Guilty before proven innocent.  From the same a hole who sacks employees for not having their laces done up properly.
ALL employers/PCBUs have a duty in the OHS/WHS act in each jurisdiction to consult with their workers in matters affecting safety, so straight off this new policy is on dodgey ground, if indeed they have failed to consult with their workers about this, before it is implemented. Not only do they have a duty to consult, part of the duty is to consider the opinions of their workers on the matter.
Lockspike
If (unlikely, perhaps) there are other idiots like me out there:

A PCBU is the legal entity operating a business or undertaking. A PCBU may be an individual person or an organisation conducting a business or undertaking.

Now you know.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I'm not sure what sort of consulting is needed. Managements job is to manage, while I personally work with my people to decide an outcome I know others not so much but have salaries equal to and usually greater than mine.

Its also not a complex problem. If you are drugged or pissed on the work place, you are gone. the days of pandering to these types of people are over. Testing is nominal random, not routine unless you think there is a major problem. If you are sober you keep your job and you get paid. All final evidence is collected and tested by a medical professional. For the remote locations, again it random

As I said before, this is not revolutionary stuff, Aurizon is at least 10-15 years behind most major industries. I am aware a number of their senior people are ex Rio and they could have copied and pasted this policy from Rio Tinto. During the boom we had 1/3 contractors rejected at the gate for the compulsory swap and breath test and sacked 2-4 people a year on a site of 1200.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

We had a driver fail a preliminary drug test a few months back. He was randomly tested in southern NSW, returned a positive to opiates. Immediately suspended with pay. Subsequent checks found he had eaten multi-grain sandwiches with heaps of poppy seeds, that was what caused the positive reading. Several blood and urine tests showed not an issue, and since reinstated.

In his case, he was effectively accused of being a druggie. Quite a shock to the rest of us, he being an exemplary decent chap, no signs of him ever being a druggie. Company had to stand him down pending further tests, fair enough, but given he was proven to be clean (and the testing arguably used poor settings) it made us think. He was effectively falsely accused. Why shouldn't a person so accused be paid pending completion of testing? It's not like grog; you cannot blow in the bag and get an instant reading.

Union seems to have very right to support members being accused, and the fact that some at least are clean indicates that suspension without pay, at least initially, is unfair. Mind you, anyone found to be actually using, they don't have my sympathy; the union should then confine themselves to ensuring they get a fair trial before their execution.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
We had a driver fail a preliminary drug test a few months back. He was randomly tested in southern NSW, returned a positive to opiates. Immediately suspended with pay. Subsequent checks found he had eaten multi-grain sandwiches with heaps of poppy seeds, that was what caused the positive reading. Several blood and urine tests showed not an issue, and since reinstated.

In his case, he was effectively accused of being a druggie. Quite a shock to the rest of us, he being an exemplary decent chap, no signs of him ever being a druggie. Company had to stand him down pending further tests, fair enough, but given he was proven to be clean (and the testing arguably used poor settings) it made us think. He was effectively falsely accused. Why shouldn't a person so accused be paid pending completion of testing? It's not like grog; you cannot blow in the bag and get an instant reading.

Union seems to have very right to support members being accused, and the fact that some at least are clean indicates that suspension without pay, at least initially, is unfair. Mind you, anyone found to be actually using, they don't have my sympathy; the union should then confine themselves to ensuring they get a fair trial before their execution.
hbedriver
Pretty much sums up what most of us have been trying to say.

I don't believe that you can stop someone's pay on the basis of an incomplete series of tests. Paid suspension (just in case) until the final results are in then restoration or execution. If guilty, withhold the amount paid during suspension from other payments due on termination if necessary.

If the arrangements proposed by Aurizon are as set out in the Union letter it would seem to imply that Aurizon has either a massive drug/alcohol problem, that they have no faith in their workforce or that they are grossly overreacting.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Recording a non-negative does not make you a druggie. There are numerous and frequent reasons the initial tests give a non-negative due to the limitations in the Go/No Go technology currently available and the company has no option but to stand someone down until its confirmed Yes or No by the more accurate testing method. I've failed because of medication taking following an operation. I pulled out the drug and script and they looked and said no problem back to work.

Despite all the comments above, has Aurizon or any other company immediately suspended pay after the first reading? Recently?

Union seems to have very right to support members being accused, and the fact that some at least are clean indicates that suspension without pay, at least initially, is unfair. Mind you, anyone found to be actually using, they don't have my sympathy; the union should then confine themselves to ensuring they get a fair trial before their execution.

Agree

If the arrangements proposed by Aurizon are as set out in the Union letter it would seem to imply that Aurizon has either a massive drug/alcohol problem (AGREE), that they have no faith in their workforce (AGREE) or that they are grossly overreacting (Unlikely).

As Aurizon seems to be doing this now, years if not decades after others, leads me to think previous mis-management afraid to tackle the problem with an aggressive union who is more interested in supporting its drug addicted/alcoholic members than the safety of the others.

As I said, during the boom in the same area as a large chunk of Aurizon's workforce, 1/3 contractors to our site were rejected at the gate for manditory swab and breast test with annually 1% of the coal face work force dismissed.
  Expost Deputy Commissioner

Let me give you another example.

About 8 weeks ago. I was lucky enough to contract a flu like illness. Being the generous kind of chap that I am, about a week later, I shared it with my lovely wife. I had commenced taking over the counter medication that would not produce a positive reading if I was subjected to a random drug test at work.

When my wife came down with it, we went to the chemist, and bought some totally legal, over the counter, non prescription medication - Sudafed- but the kind that you have to show identification for, and the purchase is recorded. About 8 days later, she was back to normal, as right as rain.

About 5 weeks later, I finally managed to shake the bloody thing off.

All because the medication my wife legally obtained, would cause a random drug test to show up positive for me. Oh,. and I never took a day off work, so goodness knows how many people I also passed the illness on to at work.

I hate druggies. I hate alcoholics. I drink on occasion, but make sure I am 0.00% when attending for duty. But I cannot be certain that a particular medication that I buy legally over the counter will not show up on a drug test. So I have to suffer as a consequence. I cannot afford to be stood down with no pay for an extended period of time.

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