All the drivers hired so far have previously worked for QR.
All the drivers hired so far have previously worked for QR.

QR yet to hire a driver that hasn’t worked there before

QUEENSLAND Rail is yet to appoint a single "outsider" to fill dozens of train driver vacancies.

And documents show the state's powerful Left-aligned train driver union is continuing to wage war against dismantling the QR "closed shop" that contributed to the 2016 "rail fail".

QR has confirmed that no external applicants without prior Queensland Rail driving experience had been selected yet.

Chief executive Nick Easy said the external hiring drive was in its final stages.

A driver hiring campaign was first launched in late 2015, but QR only threw the 200 jobs open to outside applicants in September last year after the $2.5 million Strachan inquiry into the timetable meltdown tied "closed shop" union rules to the train driver shortage.

The inquiry confirmed internal-first hiring rules had stalled efforts to fill driver vacancies.

But the Rail Tram and Bus Union then created further delays by appealing to the Fair Work Commission in an attempt to block QR hiring outsiders.

It ultimately lost, but has appealed, arguing the commission's decision involved "manifest errors" that "give rise to an injustice" for members of the RTBU.

A decision on the appeal is yet to be delivered. QR refused to say whether it had delayed appointing external recruits pending the Fair Work Commission's final ruling.

The RTBU appeal hinges on tightened internal-first hiring rules approved under the State Labor Government in the 2017 train crew enterprise agreement.

Emails released to The Courier-Mail under Right to Information legislation earlier this year revealed it strongarmed the QR board into signing the deal.

It added a new step forcing QR to first offer driver jobs to guards, then to every QR employee before being able to advertise publicly - effectively undermining the Strachan Inquiry recommendations delivered just days after QR approved the deal.

Previously, the jobs could be advertised across the broader QR workforce and the general public concurrently.

The RTBU claims QR ignored the steps and "jumped to external recruitment for drivers and guards". But QR has insisted it followed the recruitment steps in the agreement.

RTBU state secretary Owen Doogan did not respond to a call for comment.

The Courier-Mail revealed last month that QR had a net gain of just 33 qualified drivers (of which 16 are actually driving full-time) since the October 2016 timetable collapse.

QR figures show drivers are earning up to $200,000 after overtime.