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RAIL employees stood down after Cyclone Debbie could soon return to work as damaged lines are fixed earlier than expected.
Up to 180 workers from BMA and Aurizon were forced to take annual or unpaid leave earlier this month after Debbie left several rail lines out of service.
Four major railway corridors were closed, including the Newlands and Goonyella lines, which were out for repairs for up to five weeks.
BMA and Aurizon used a special clause in the Fair Work Act, which allows companies to stand down an employee during a period a worker cannot be usefully employed.
The union representing rail workers met with the two companies and has since been told work is expected to resume within a week.
"BMA agreed the workforce would return on April 24, dependant on works not exceeding ... the expected date,” Rail, Tram and Bus Union Queensland state president Bruce Mackie said.
"Aurizon anticipate their tracks will reopen on April 26, so they want workers back on the 24th also.
"Because they initially stood them down until the end of the month, Aurizon's only been able to invite them back to work, the workers can stay on leave until the end of the month if they choose.
"Despite the early return, we (RTBU) still totally condemn the actions of BMA and Aurizon.”
Mr Mackie said Pacific National was a good example of how companies should have operated during a disaster period.
He said employees had had the offer to take annual leave, but if they chose to remain they were deployed to disaster areas.
"Pacific National sent a lot of people from their Bowen depot to help out in surrounding communities,” he said.
"You cannot put a price on employee loyalty.”
BMA and Aurizon have been contacted for comment.
This article first appeared on www.dailymercury.com.au
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