we will bargain together

3 February 2022

Dear members,

On Wednesday and continuing Thursday, your EA delegates continued bargaining with Sydney Trains and NSW Trains for the new agreement.

No Sign of Movement

Over the course of the last two weeks the CRU has engaged in a summary exercise to determine the accurate positions of Sydney Trains and NSW Trains on our claims. Once again we saw next to no movement from management on any of our claims.

One Agreement

Many members will have already seen that both rail entities are changing their logos and colour schemes to a “Transport” brand and doing away with the public facing names of “Sydney Trains” and “NSW TrainLink”. Your delegates took this opportunity to reagitate our claim for a single enterprise agreement. Given that the entities are shedding their public facing separation, it makes sense, right?

Wrong.

In response, management indignantly rejected the claim, once again, with the usual nonsense about different business models and customers. We know that the real reason is that they want to divide us.

The inconsistency in the positions put by management at the meetings in January and on Wednesday is causing increasing frustration in your delegate group, and that boiled over into Thursday’s meeting.

Section 4 Specific Claims

On Thursday, we revisited your claims specifically in relation to Section 4 of the agreement and the anger was palpable. In response to almost every claim for Drivers, Guards, On-boarders, Station Staff, Area Controllers, and Signallers, management continued their run of rejections. To add insult to injury, the reason for that rejection wasn’t based on argument, but simply that the claim would cost money. Some lip service was paid to “operational reasons” in some responses, but the vast majority was simply that the NSW Government was not willing to stump up the cash to deal with issues important to members.

Much of the rejection we heard today was based on a misguided understanding of the NSW Government’s Wages Policy, which limits pay rises for public sector workers in the NSW Industrial Relations System to 2.5%. Both Sydney Trains and NSW Trains are in the Federal (Fair Work) System and our enterprise agreement ultimately goes before the Fair Work Commission which is not restricted to a particular wage outcome, unlike in the State System where the Commission can only approve Awards with a 2.5% pay increase.

Any position put forward by Sydney Trains and NSW Trains about the State Wages Policy is simply a decision on their behalf to not grant their workers fair pay increases. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Industrial Action

Over the coming weeks our union is stepping up its industrial action against this arrogant Government. Commencing Sunday (0001hrs), members will be banning overtime, foreign depot work for Train Crew, and working with contractors. The only way that management will listen is through our direct action, and it looks like this will continue and escalate as the weeks and months go by.

You also should have noticed that another protected action ballot is currently underway. If you haven’t seen the email with the voting details, make sure you check you Transport email address, check your junk mail, or call CIVS on 1300 798 994 if you still can’t find it.

Remember to vote YES to both questions.

In Unity,

RTBU NSW

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
nswho@rtbu-nsw.asn.au
www.rtbu-nsw.asn.au

Last modified: 03/02/2022