1 March 2021

Dear Members,

We are writing to all members at Sydney and NSW Trains with some urgent updates.

Your Employers, acting under the instruction of the NSW Government are taking action that demonstrates their ongoing lack of respect for the work force that helped our society make it through the global pandemic.

NSW Trains and Sydney Trains: Your Enterprise Agreements

On 17 February, Transport for NSW (TfNSW), NSW Trains and Sydney Trains called a meeting with representatives from the Combined Rail Unions, where we were informed of their intent to roll over your Enterprise Agreements (EA) for a pay increase of 0.3%.

We were shocked to say the least, that management would attempt to avoid bargaining with their workforce for such an insulting pay offer.

We quickly called a meeting of EA Delegates and distributed an online survey to confirm the RTBUs position. The outcome was clear with 94% of members who responded telling us they would vote to reject managements proposal.

Last weeks survey was NOT the formal vote on the variation. It was intended to provide your representatives with the mandate to reject managements proposal and show them that we are united in our rejection of their proposal.

This position was put to management on Monday, 22 February. Late on Friday, 26 February management wrote to us, saying they were ignoring the overwhelming NO and would instead plough ahead with an all staff vote.

Every member needs to participate to show management that this is simply not good enough. Every member should vote against Managements proposal to roll over your EA.

One of our delegates put it simply – 0.3% is only worth the value of 20 recycled cans or bottles every week. Is that all we are worth?

We will meet with EA Delegates over the coming days and continue to update you as management provides us with the details of their voting process.

NSW Trains puts their agenda over your safety

Members at both Sydney and NSW Trains should be deeply concerned about your Employers absolute disregard for our safety.

The New InterCity Fleet (NIF) since its inception has been plagued with safety issues.  In November 2020, NSW Trains members were forced to take decisive action for safety, after NSW Trains and TfNSW ignored an independent safety report which clearly stated their proposed operating model was not safe.

A further report focussing on the risks at the platform train interface has further reinforced the original finding that the proposed operating model is not safe and poses an unacceptable risk to the community and rail workers alike.

If you have not seen it yet, you can find a copy of the report right here.

This puts everyone on the network at risk, including members from Sydney Trains and the travelling public.  Last week Delegates from Sydney and NSW Trains put proposed changes to the Operator Specific Procedures (OSP) in dispute.  Both NSW and Sydney Trains had proposed to make changes to the OSP to allow the unsafe NIF operating model on our network.  This is utterly unacceptable.

On top of this, NSW Trains are now rostering members to attend NIF training attempting to force their unsafe operating model onto our network. This so called “training” has been created based on old information, without a Guard present during empty car running.

We have written to NSW Trains and TfNSW making our position clear, the training is notready and should be treated only as a pilot, with participants able to provide feedback to both NSW Trains and the RTBU.

No qualification should be achieved through participation in this farce, and dynamic testing absolutely cannot occur until our safety concerns have been addressed. The RTBU will not recognise any false qualification that is awarded by NSW Trains.

Members are reminded if they are issued with a directive that is not safe, you are within your rights to refuse and seek alternative and safe duties.

We should be clear that testing this train dynamically, even under the guise of training is not safe.  Members at NSW Trains and Sydney Trains should not put themselves or the community at risk if this occurs.

We will be in touch with more updates soon.


Issued & authorised by Robert Hayden, Assistant Branch Secretary, Rail, Tram & Bus Union – NSW Branch
Level 4, 321 Pitt Street,
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: (02) 92642511
Fax: (02) 92611342
Last modified: 01/04/2021