22 December 2021

Dear Members,

First and foremost, congratulations to all RTBU members who took part in Monday night’s strike. It is a great testament to the strength, solidarity, and determination of our union that we managed to completely shut down the railways once again. Many members attended workplace pickets across NSW, and it was fantastic to see so many workers stand up and feel proud to be union.

Members across the state have sent a clear message to Sydney Trains, NSW Trains, and the NSW Government. We are united, and we refuse to accept less than what we deserve. We have made it known in no uncertain terms, we will not stop fighting until we achieve a fair Enterprise Agreement that protects and enshrines the rights of our members.

Safety, secure public service jobs, guards on trains, hygiene on the rail network, fair rostering principles, a fair wage for our hard work– none of these are radical asks. This is what we are fighting for. We are fighting for fairness and respect.

Members have been clear, we will continue to increase the pressure and we will come back bigger and stronger in the New Year.

Management Backflips during Section 1 Review

On either side of the strike, your EA delegates continued bargaining with Sydney and NSW Trains, attending meetings on 20 and 21 December. After working through Sydney Trains’ responses to CRU Section 5 claims, we then spent the rest of Monday and Tuesday dedicated to a review of the words for Section 1 of the Enterprise Agreement.

Unfortunately, as delegates began to work through the few claims that had been accepted by Management, we were consistently met with backflips on nearly every claim ‘agreed to’.

It appeared that management was being disingenuous and had made a decision to not incorporate the agreed claims into the Agreement, instead wanting to place them in policy and procedure. We made it quite clear that we were there to negotiate an Enterprise Agreement, not agree on policies that everyone knows can be changed at the whim of management.

RTBU delegates also again made the point that our scope claim for one Agreement remains and that we will continue fighting for it.

On Tuesday, this exercise continued.

Discussions went around in circles, with particular attention given to critical incident leave. So far neither employer has agreed to add this clause to the EA, and still believe putting it in policy is adequate. This was passionately shut down by union delegates in the room, and it was made known that this is a claim we will not budge on.

Sydney and NSW Trains are set to provide responses to a number of outstanding claims on the 24 December. We will update members as soon as practicable when this information is made available.

Your Industrial Action Works! The Deed is Back.

Less than 24 hours after the commencement of industrial action, and after a meeting between CRU officials and the new Transport Minister on 21 December 2021, we received an offer in writing from the Transport Secretary, putting the Deed back on the table for all current and future employees of Sydney and NSW Trains for the life of the agreement.

Next Steps

Sydney Trains and NSW Trains have agreed to come back to the CRU this week with a proposal for a 2022 bargaining schedule but it is expected that Bargaining will resume the week of 12 January.

In closing we want to thank everyone involved in our continued industrial action and be assured, together we will win. In the meantime, we trust that you will find time to spend with loved ones during the festive season and we wish you a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year and for those of you working we simply say thank you and stay safe.

In Unity,


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: 22/12/2021