we will bargain together

Another Day at the Virtual Negotiation Table – this time with NSW Trains

19 August 2021

Dear Members,

NSW Trains insistence on bargaining separately continued today with NSW Trains Delegates spending another day at the virtual table trying to progress negotiations for your Enterprise Agreement.

Here’s what happened:

Non-Union Bargaining Representatives

Unfortunately, some non-union bargaining representatives are still participating in negotiations. We are yet to see what their claims are for a new enterprise agreement and it seems that many are simply along for the ride. We are concerned that some may be doing the bosses bidding, and told everyone at today’s meeting that ultimately they will be accountable to the workforce.

We reminded Management that the Combined Rail Unions (CRU) represents thousands  of members and that only limited space should be afforded to non-union representatives who are simply pushing their own individual agendas.

Dodgy Tricks from Management

RTBU Officials and Delegates have heard reports of managers reaching out to RTBU members individually and seeking one-on-one conversations about the Enterprise Agreement seeking to find out what their thoughts are on bargaining.

This is not how collective bargaining works. The RTBU represents members with a log of claims developed after extensive consultation with your EA Delegates. The delegates you have chosen to sit at the table then negotiate around that log and consult with members when a position is reached that may be acceptable. Do not get roped into an individual conversation.

We have raised this with NSW Trains management and demanded action be taken to stop this flagrant disregard of good faith bargaining. If you are approached for an individual conversation, contact your Delegate or your organiser straight away.

Proposal for Customer-Facing Roles

At the last meeting, NSW Trains proposed introducing a new section of the enterprise agreement just for Station Staff and On Boarders with an increased base rate of pay. Management gave very little detail about what this increased pay rate would be or what would be taken away to pay for it.

From the limited detail provided, we have determined that Management is proposing to review and change rostering, create longer shifts, make the meal break unpaid, and take away your ADOs. We have requested more detail around this offer so we can consult with members and respond.

NSW Trains offered 0.3%

NSW Trains reiterated a first year wage increase offer of 0.3%. They said the same as Sydney Trains that this offer could increase with “employee-related cost savings” – just like Sydney Trains.

Members have already rejected this insulting offer resoundingly earlier this year. To put it back on the table is a slap in the face to hard-working members who have kept our cities and regions moving through a global pandemic.

NSW Trains told us that this is the NSW Government’s wage policy. However, again just like Sydney Trains, we are still yet to see the wages policy that they are supposedly relying on to justify this insulting offer. We have again requested a copy.

What the CRU put forward:

The Deed must be retained.

In today’s meeting, your representatives made it very clear that any attempt to remove the Deed would be met with fierce resistance from members.

One Agreement for both NSW Trains and Sydney Trains.

We reiterated our claim that we want one Agreement for BOTH Sydney Trains and NSW Trains and that negotiations should progress with your entire EA team. We have invited NSW Trains to a meeting of the combined delegates group on 27 August 2021 at 10am. We will be inviting Sydney Trains to this same meeting.

Hygiene on the Network

As a result of Covid the community has come to expect a level of cleanliness on the network and today we put our claim that this level of cleanliness should be retained by people directly employed by Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. This will create new jobs, and ensure that members and the community are kept safe.

New Intercity Fleet (NIF) Platform Train Interface

Your Representatives spoke about keeping a Guard, PSS, or On-Train repeater on every piece of rolling stock and a commitment that NSW Trains would not attempt to introduce Driver Only Operations during the life of the Agreement.

The introduction of swab testing as the first instance drug testing

We put forward our claim about using swab testing as the first test for drug testing purposes. Only in the event of a positive result would urine testing be utilised.


Our claims about having uniforms made in Australia, the right to wear union badges on your uniform, and the ability to wear shorts at work were also tabled

Management advised they will respond to these claims at our next meeting.  We will be putting exactly the same claims to Sydney Trains when we meet with them again next week to make sure that both bargains are in the same place and ensure that our scope claim to bargain together is not affected.

We are getting ready to take action.

Since the Fair Work Commission issued the Protected Action Ballot Order, we have seen a shift in tone in the negotiations; Management know that members are voting YES and are gearing up to take protected action,

By voting YES on every action, this will give us more tools in the arsenal to get these negotiations moving. Even if the action isn’t something specific that you can do in your current role, you still need to vote yes for every action so that every member can participate in protected action.

Vote Yes in every box and make sure that all your workmates do the same.

We will be in touch soon.


Issued & authorised by Alex Claassens, Secretary, Rail, Tram and Bus Union – NSW Branch

Level 4, 321 Pitt Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 92642511
Fax: (02) 92611342

Last modified: 19/08/2021