we will bargain together

25 November 2021

Dear Members,

Yesterday your EA delegates recommenced bargaining after spending last week visiting and updating members in the workplace.

The meeting began with management asking for feedback from the workplace meetings held by each of the unions last week. From our meetings last week, members were clear that unless Sydney and NSW Trains start properly negotiating and move to accept more of our claims, especially around items regarding safety, privatisation, pay and the NIF, more protected industrial action will kick off. This feedback was provided to management.

The bargaining meeting then moved on to Sydney Trains and NSW Trains Management presenting to the CRU on requested action items relating to Disciplinary Proceedings and Rostering in Sections 1 and 2. The CRU welcomed these responses but took the opportunity to ensure that Sydney Trains and NSW Trains understood the importance and complexity of these claims. The CRU made it very clear that we will not support an agreement that does not resolve the current issues with disciplinary proceedings and rostering and that the solution is not policies but improved protections in the enterprise agreement.

Disciplinary and Dispute Procedures

The CRU reiterated the need to prevent unnecessary stand-downs of employees during disciplinary proceedings. The current arrangement where employees are stood down at times for many months is punitive, unfair, and unsafe. Workers who are the subject of disciplinary proceedings deserve to know why they are subject to an investigation and to continue to work as long as it is safe to do so. Stand downs should only be used as a last resort and this must be clearly stated in the enterprise agreement.

Your Bargaining Team continued to press our claim to have the Just Culture Framework consistently and fairly applied to all investigations. Current business failures often see operational issues improperly dealt with as discipline matters and your Delegates made it clear that this must stop. Following lengthy discussions, Sydney and NSW Trains have agreed to reconsider their rejection of the CRU claim to have all investigations and outcomes accord with the “Just Culture” framework (claim 9.1.4).

In relation to a transparent and open disciplinary procedure, NSW Trains has agreed to address and come back to the CRU about our concerns around 9.1.3 (to provide allegations within 7 days of suspension). However, Sydney Trains has consistently refused to recognise the need for transparency in the process, especially to protect the mental health of their employees. 

The CRU awaits responses on a number of other questions and claims taken on notice by Sydney Trains and NSW Trains including:

  • Providing a copy of the investigation report (claim 9.1.2)
  • Creation of an Independent Review Panel (claim 9.1.5)
  • Improvements to clause 33.5 (claim 9.1.6)
  • Status quo clause to be inserted in DSP (claim 9.2.3)
  • Ability to commence disputes at Step 1 or 2 (claim 9.2.4)

Section 1 Rostering

Disappointingly, both entities had not given genuine and proper consideration of the CRU claims or grievances around rostering in Section 1. Management continues to prefer that rostering be dealt with on a ‘case by case basis’. However, following important and impassioned discussions with delegates across all work areas about the structural problems with rostering, both entities have undertaken to come back to the CRU with proposals to address claims 3.2.

Your Bargaining Team have also demanded copies of all documents informing rostering practices across all work areas to ensure there is sufficient transparency going forward.

Next Steps

The next bargaining meeting is on Friday 26 November 2021. The focus of this meeting will be on rostering for Sections 3, 4 and 5, Infrastructure and Maintenance claims and the New Intercity Fleet. Your Bargaining Team will continue to bargain uncompromisingly to secure the most positive outcome to improve the lives of members.

Remember you can stay up to date with everything happening in the EA campaign at www.ourrightsourfight.com.au.

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: 30/11/2021