8 April 2022
This week we continued bargaining with Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. The atmosphere in the bargaining room has continued to change with management now being open to negotiate key claims of members, with an attitude that has been missing for the past 10 months.
Negotiations this week centred around the following:
- Protection Officers – previously Sydney Trains had agreed to introduce a classification for Protection Officers and hire 12 dedicated employees into that job. Yesterday, we saw Sydney Trains try to walk back on this commitment stating their preference for existing employees to perform protection work in addition to their duties. This is unacceptable to us and we will see where this lands in next week’s meetings.
- Rostering Agreements for Station Staff, On-Boarders, and RC Grades – rostering is a major issue for members, with each having claims for a rostering agreement for their specific areas. After significant pressure, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains have agreed to sit down with your delegates and negotiate what a rostering agreement may look like for those specific areas.
- Meal Allowance for Infrastructure – we once again put to Sydney Trains our claim for a meal allowance to be paid every 4 hours members spend away from their Home Depot. This would bring Infrastructure Workers in line with their salaried colleagues. Sydney Trains are going to come back to us with a further response on this important issue to the Infrastructure Division.
- Chairs for Sydney Trains Station Staff – today Station Staff achieved their next win, with Sydney Trains giving in to pressure to provide members with seating at gate lines, as well as maintaining chairs in control rooms and platforms. A great win for Station Staff.
- Cab allowance for Regional Drivers – NSW Trains confirmed that CountryLink drivers will have an increase to their base rate of pay through the acceptance of their claim for a cab allowance.
- Safety Standards – a key claim for all members in these negotiations is a change in safety standards for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains by making sure any changes are “as safe or safer”. We all know the Railways can be a dangerous place, and we cannot tolerate our workplace being less safe. Unfortunately, management do not agree, pushing the disingenuous argument that because the Rail Safety National Law states that safety is to be assessed as safe “so far as is reasonably practicable” they cannot possibly go above that standard. Shame!
- On-Boarders barracks detention – our claim to ensure that barracks detention allowance is not counted towards the guaranteed hours took a big step forward. NSW Trains agreed to amending the agreement to take out this allowance from the fortnightly guaranteed payment.
- Hygiene on the NSW Rail Network – a major claim in this bargaining round has seen some progress this week. Sydney Trains have agreed to make some of the COVID cleaning work permanent and create new in-house positions to do that work. We are yet to see the detail, but this is a positive step on such an important issue.
This progress has come after 6 months of consecutive industrial action by members. Make no mistake, we would not be in the strong position we were in this week without the united efforts of every RTBU member. But this is not the end, there are many more claims we need to get over the line. And, of course, we still have the vital issue of pay and superannuation to fight for
Organisers and delegates will be out in workplaces regularly over the next few months. Keep an eye out for meeting notices on your notice boards or in your emails. It’s important that you attend these meetings so you can have your say on what your delegates fight for next at the bargaining table. After all, this is your EA!
If you’re not sure where or when you can attend a meeting, speak to your delegate or organiser, or call the RTBU office.
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