21 January 2022
On Wednesday and Thursday this week your delegate committee met again with Sydney Trains and NSW Trains to continue our negotiations for a new agreement. These meetings were spent finalising what is agreed in Section 1 and what remains in dispute.
Management Backflips on previously agreed claims
A worrying trend emerged over the course of the last two days when we identified a large number of inaccuracies in previous positions put to us by both Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.
In many cases, Sydney Trains had not properly considered your claims, and in doing so had attempted to hide rejections indicating agreement despite having no intention to include a clause in the Enterprise Agreement. The “acceptance” of our claims was changed instead to have it included in policy, or referred to a consultative committee for consideration.
This is not the same as having a right enshrined in an enterprise agreement.
Of particular concern were dramatic backflips by both Sydney Trains and NSW Trains on two key claims which they had previously indicated were accepted: Critical Incident Leave and Domestic Violence Leave claims.
Both these claims are important to members, and both were the subject of presentations from experts to our bargaining committee and management. Despite enthusiastic sounds by management at the time, this week Sydney Trains and NSW Trains have refused to include any mention of such claims in the Enterprise Agreement.
After 7 months of bargaining, we would have expected some negotiation on claims to have taken place, and for an agreement to be much closer than it is. Unfortunately management and the Government have chosen to disengage hoping that members would lose interest and give up.
Our message to management is that will not happen. Members have consistently shown that they are willing to fight to get a good agreement.
In response to two weeks of disappointing negotiation, it is clear that management and the NSW Government aren’t listening or willing to engage in good-faith negotiations. We have therefore decided that a further protected action ballot is necessary to make further types of industrial action available to members.
All actions that we have currently taken remain available for use, and a brand new suite of actions will be opened up when members vote for this new ballot. We’ll provide more details early next week before voting opens.
In the meantime delegates are deliberating on the best way to take action over the coming weeks to continue putting pressure on management and the Government to negotiate properly.
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