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Strikes on Australian rail operator Aurizon's coal network averted

Sydney — Industrial action by workers on Australian rail operator Aurizon's Central Queensland Coal Network has been suspended as the company and the unions return to enterprise bargaining, a spokesman for Aurizon told S&P Global Platts Thursday.

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The strike by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, which was to include rolling stoppages and overtime bans, was due to run from July 12 to July 17.

"We expect bargaining to recommence early next week," the spokesman said.

There had already been 24 hours of industrial action over Tuesday to Wednesday by network controllers on the CQCN. The network still operated during that time but Aurizon did warn of potential delays.

The action is in relation to the current Staff Enterprise Agreement negotiations. Aurizon says it was offering wage increases of 2% per year for four years and changes to conditions that are "better aligned to competitors and industry."

On Tuesday, Aurizon wrote to the unions offering to resume negotiations if an undertaking is given to cease the industrial action while the talks take place, an Aurizon spokeswoman said earlier in the week.

The CQCN is one of the world's largest and most complex supply chains. It connects mines in the region to both domestic coal users and the export terminals at Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Gladstone port.

--Nathan Richardson,

--Edited by Irene Tang,