30 October 2021

Dear Members,

Yesterday, we entered the third day of the intensive bargaining period with Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. In the meeting, we put the remainder of our claims to management.

These were:

  1. Section 5 specific claims – you can view these claims here.
  1. Proposed additions to clause 12 (Facilitation of Changes Clause), including the ability of Area Controllers to negotiate more pay for additional duties, and Salaried members to negotiate conditions of employment when they work from home.
  1. Our pay claim – 3.5% per year with an additional 1% rise in employer super contributions above the 10% statutory amount.
  1. A bonus for each occasion members work through disaster or crisis conditions, such as bushfires or pandemics.
  1. Defensive claims against any move to privatise rail assets.
  1. A claim to ensure that any employee who is put off work on the employers initiative (i.e. disciplinary or fitness for duty related reasons) to be paid at their average pay measured over the 6 months prior.

You can find the above claims here from page 3 onwards.

Once your delegates finalised the presentation of the log of claims, the employers put their proposed changes to the enterprise agreement forward. Far from being constructive, many of their claims are attempting to either reduce conditions now or allow them to do so during the life of the agreement.

In summary, the employers want to:

Sydney Trains

  1. Change the consultation clause in the agreement to the minimum set by the Fair Work Commission, reducing their obligation to thoroughly consult on proposed changes to your working conditions.
  1. Change the disputes resolution procedure in the agreement to make it harder for members and unions to bring disputes and reduce the ability of the Fair Work Commission to make orders and determinations.
  1. Change clause 12 (Facilitation of Changes Clause) to remove the requirement for the union to agree in principle.
  1. Remove the protection provided by clause 13 (No Extra Claim clause) to allow the employer to make any changes it likes immediately after the expiry date of the agreement.
  1. Remove the disciplinary matters clause from the agreement and place it in policy, allowing the employer to change it at any time.
  1. Remove the obligation for the employer to pay injured employees master roster when they are found the be temporarily unfit for duty.
  1. Increase the employers’ ability to utilise part-time workers in train crewing and remove the obligation for sign off to occur physically at the depot.
  1. Remove the ability to transfer from Sydney Trains to NSW Trains on the basis of seniority.
  1. Change rostering provisions for infrastructure workers – we are yet to get any detail on this proposal.

NSW Trains

10. Create a new section in the agreement only for customer facing staff – Station Staff and On-Boarders.

11. Remove clauses 12 and 13 entirely. Remember that these are the clauses that prevented NSW Trains from introducing the dangerous NIF onto the network.

12. Change the disputes resolution procedure in the agreement to make it harder for members and unions to bring disputes and reduce the ability of the Fair Work Commission to make orders and determinations.

We have received enquiries from members about a confusing message sent out by their employer on Thursday. In that message, it was stated that the current position on pay is 2.5%, which is comprised of 2.04% increase to pay, and a 0.5% increase in superannuation.

What does that mean? The employer is asking you to pay for the superannuation rise legislated by the federal government out of your own pocket. So, although they are saying that the first year pay offer will be 2.5%, in reality your pay would only increase by 2.04%.

Next week we expect Sydney Trains and NSW Trains to respond to the claims put by your EA delegates over the last week. We will in turn respond to the employers’ claims. It is a great step forward having the employers come to the table with Transport for NSW and their

Chief Executives, however this will be the real test on how seriously they are taking this bargaining. Following the employer’s response, your delegates will meet to determine what action needs to be taken next.

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: 02/11/2021