we will bargain together

EA Update: Sydney Trains – Another day at the virtual table

11 August 2021

Dear Members,

Over the weekend, there was a considerable development in our enterprise agreement campaign with the Fair Work Commission issuing an order that means, starting from 16 August 2021, RTBU members can vote to take action.

Voting has NOT opened yet.

We will send an update closer to that date, providing details of how the vote will work and how every member can VOTE YES to take action.

To progress negotiations, we attended meeting number four with Sydney Trains today.

Here is what happened at the “virtual” table.

Management want to GUT your agreement

Finally today we got some limited detail about what Sydney Trains wants to see in a new enterprise agreement. The highlights were as follows:

Management want to GUT your consultation clause so management can unilaterally change what they want, and when they want. They want to remove clause 7.4 which requires either agreement or arbitration on consultation processes.

They want to GUT your dispute resolution procedure by limiting what a dispute can be about. Currently we can dispute any matter pertaining to your employment, management wants this to be curtailed.

On top of this, management suggested that infrastructure members should be more “flexible” to allow Sydney Trains to be “competitive” with private providers. Let’s not forgot that it is Transport for NSW who allows private operators into the space in the first place. Sydney Trains are simply creating a race to the bottom.

Sydney Trains once again put their wage offer of 0.3% that would not increase without “employee-related cost savings.”

What the Combined Rail Union put forward:

Safety Claims:

We put forward our claim that if Sydney Trains proposes any changes to the way work is performed, any changes affecting safety must be assessed as “as safe or safer” than what is currently in place.

Management’s response was to question if our HSRs were qualified enough to make this kind of assessment.  This is a simple claim; about making workplaces safer not less safe, that should have been agreed to promptly. . What a slap in the face during rail safety week

The Deed:

Management refused to commit to incorporating the Redundancy and Redeployment Deed into your EA, deliberately avoiding the conversation or obfuscating to different topics. There was no commitment made to retain the deed beyond this EA.


The RTBU once again invited Sydney Trains to attend a combined meeting with NSW Trains and meet with all of your elected EA Delegates to hear about your entire log of claims. Management used the same old trick and requested another invitation in writing.

RTBU Officials, Delegates, and members are understandably getting very frustrated with Sydney Trains playing games at the table and failing to provide a specific log of claims to members or genuinely engage in negotiations.

As of Monday, next week, we will have the opportunity to vote to take industrial action.

Only by standing together will we show management that we are serious about getting the best agreement for all members at Sydney Trains and NSW Trains.

We will be in touch soon,


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: 11/08/2021