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QUEENSLAND Rail has reacted to fresh criticism over its hunt for experienced driver recruits after initially leaving rejected applicants clueless as to why they failed.
The Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees has confirmed taking up the applicants’ complaints with QR on behalf of angry members.
It comes after an unknown number of former QR drivers, now driving for freight operator Aurizon, were told last month they had failed QR’s tough psychometric or psychomotor testing.
The tests first came to attention in April when The Courier-Mail revealedapplicants were being asked to solve university-level maths problems as part of psychometric testing, triggering concerns it could further delay QR fixing its serious driver shortage.
Those who pass the test must complete a computer program testing motor skills.
Complaints reached the union when some drivers were told they had failed the tests, despite continuing to drive freight trains on the state’s rail network. AFULE organiser Mick McKitrich said the drivers were initially given a “stock standard” reply that they did not meet the safety benchmark, but QR later agreed to provide more feedback.
“Some of the gentlemen are very good drivers and they would have made very good Citytrain drivers but I guess there’s a standard in place they have to pass,” he said.
“At least they are getting some feedback now.”
Some drivers have questioned whether QR is reluctant to hire Aurizon workers after blanket rejection emails earlier this year forced the Government to intervene. But Mr McKitrich hosed down the concerns, saying “there’s nothing really that I’m aware of to say it was tilted in anyone’s direction or anyone’s favour”.
QR chief executive officer Nick Easy said QR would provide future successful and unsuccessful candidates with a summary of their result against each assessment area.
He said previous candidates seeking results had also been contacted to give an overview.
“To ensure we do not compromise the overall purpose of the testing, we are unable to provide the answers for each individual question,” he said.
An inquiry in January criticised “restrictions on the ability to recruit train crew externally, which increased the burden of recruitment and depleted guard ranks”.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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