we will bargain together

24 March 2022

Dear Members

Negotiations with Sydney and NSW Trains for a new enterprise agreement recommenced last week after they refused to come to the table for weeks on end – since 3 February 2022. There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but it seems like bargaining may now be back on track.

On 18 March 2022, the Transport Secretary put an offer on the table for the RTBU to consider as a way to progress bargaining. The offer involved Sydney Trains and NSW Trains agreeing to a number of RTBU claims and agreeing to drop some of their more repugnant “initiatives” and claims.

The offer from the Transport Secretary was as follows:


The Combined Rail Unions will enter into 6 weeks of intensive bargaining from 25 March 2022 until 29 April 2022.

During that time, the NSW Government agrees not to apply to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the enterprise agreements.

There is no agreement that a vote on an enterprise agreement after 29 April would be appropriate or supported by the RTBU.

Your delegates will be released to attend bargaining meetings and to hold workplace meetings over the 6 week period.

Claims and Commitments

Sydney Trains and NSW Trains have committed to including the following claims as clauses in the new enterprise agreement(s)

i. Pay rate for periods spent not on duty (Off Roster) – calculate using six months average pay rather than master roster (CRU claim 2.7.1)

ii. Working on a Book Off Day (WOBOD) payment for Drivers (CRU claim 14.5.1a)

iii. Incorporate cl. 12 WOBOD payment from 2014 Sydney Trains EA into the new agreement (CRU claim 14.7.2a)

iv. WOBOD payment for NSW Trains – Intercity Guards (CRU claim 14.7.3d

v. Retention of clause 132A in Sydney Trains EA and 128 in NSW Trains EA (Master Roster provisions) (CRU claim 14.5.1b

vi. Driver cab allowance to be incorporated into base pay (CRU claim 14.5.1d)

vii. Guards cab and security allowances to be incorporated into base pay (CRU claim 14.7.1a)

viii. Overtime on a Saturday to paid at double time after eight hours (CRU claim 14.5.1f

ix. Sydney Trains will withdraw their current EA initiative relating to the Transfer and Roster Placement Policy.

x. Sydney Trains will withdraw their EA initiative in relation to rostering for Section 5 of the agreement and put it in clause 12.

xi. NSW Trains will withdraw its claim to establish a new section in the agreement for “customer facing” employees (CSAs and On-Boarders) and put it in clause 12.

xii. Enshrine the Graffiti Allowance in the agreement for Cleaners.

xiii. Add a conversion to permanent direct employment for cleaning contractors if they’re used for longer than 3 months.

xiv. Enshrine the 12-hour rostering practice for Network Incident Manager’s into the Agreement.

xv. The Rail Entities will carefully consider the RTBU’s claim to increase the overtime cap in Section 2 of the agreement during the intensive bargaining period.

Industrial Action

In exchange for giving us the above claims, the following would occur in respect to our industrial action

5. The RTBU will withdraw the following actions until 29 April:

a.indefinite or periodic ban on overtime;

b. ban on working only master roster;

c. ban on altered working; and

d. ban on issuing or receiving transpositions

6. There will be no new actions taken between 25 March 2022 and 29 April 2022.

  1. All other currently notified industrial action will remain in place.

Last night, after extensive consultation with delegates and members, we agreed to the above terms meaning that we will now enter into intensive bargaining for the next 6 weeks, and we secure the above claims as entitlements in the next agreement.

This means that current bans on overtime, altered working, transpositions and only working to master roster will cease at 0001hrs on 25 March.

Securing these claims seemed impossible only a few months ago. Through collective action we have not only been able to push through the stalling tactics employed by Transport for NSW and the NSW Government, but  we’ve defeated a number of their anti-worker initiatives and secured important wins for better working conditions for members.

There’s still a way to go (we haven’t even begun the fight for a fair pay rise yet), but we will no doubt continue to make strides as we enter the next period of intensive bargaining. The fight’s not over until we’ve secured the pay and conditions members deserve.

As a reminder, the following industrial actions still remain in place:

  • Wearing union gear to work
  • Station staff sitting down while performing duties
  • Solidarity bans for Infrastructure
  • Ban on working with contractors
  • Ban on the NIF
  • Work to rule

Members communicating with the public about the campaign by talking to the media, attaching campaign materials to railway assets, and public announcements by any means

We will update members as negotiations progress. For now, members should take a moment to celebrate the wins that they’ve achieved.

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: 24/03/2022