we will bargain together

21 June 2022

Dear members,

Reminder for all Infrastructure members that action starts at midnight. This is our opportunity to show Sydney Trains that infrastructure members should not be underestimated. There are still outstanding claims and Sydney Trains needs to know how important they are to members.

The following bans begin at 0001hrs on 22nd June:

Ban on performing protection officer duties (look out working exempt from this ban)
Ban on performing high voltage switching duties and/or 1500 volt switching duties
Ban on issuing power out permits to contractors
Ban on participating in VMC meetings
Ban on performing labour costing duties

This is protected industrial action and members should be reminded that it is illegal for your employer to take adverse action against you for participating in union action.

We are aware that members may have some questions as these are actions that we have not yet taken. See below for an FAQ to assist members ahead of actions commencing.

  1. Should I still do look out working?
    Yes, the ban is on duties higher than look out working

2. What if I am a contract PO and a member of the RTBU?
Unfortunately, only members covered by the agreement being negotiated will be protected by this action. However, we are fighting to bring POs in house to be direct employees of Sydney Trains.

3. How long do the bans go for?
These bans are indefinite, meaning they will remain in place until they are lifted by members of the union. These bans will continue until we reach an agreement with Sydney Trains about our outstanding claims.

4. What do I do if my manager says the bans are causing a safety issue?
Ask for the specific safety concerns in writing and if in doubt contact your local delegate or organiser. Members should only take action that does not cause a genuine safety risk to themselves or other members on the network. However, if management cannot adequately express the safety concerns and you have deemed there is no risk, continue the actions.

5. Is on-call work part of the protection officer ban?
No, the ban does not apply to emergency call-outs

6. Do I have to notify my manager I am taking protected industrial action?
No, the RTBU office has already notified Sydney Trains of the actions. Members do not need to tell their boss they are taking part.

7. What do I say if a manager asks me why I am not performing a specific duty covered by the bans?
Politely say “I am an RTBU member, and I am taking part in protected industrial action”

8. What do I do instead of the VMC?
Wait in the lunchroom on the workstation until you are given instructions

9. What is classified as an emergency?
Emergency work is exempt from these bans. An emergency is anything that the engineer classifies as or ICON advises is an emergency, not urgent work as decided by management.

10. What counts as adverse action? 
Adverse action is when your employer threatens to dismiss you or alter your employment because you took part in union action. This could mean things like: stand downs, disciplinary action without cause, removing you from working HGDs, removing you from working overtime, denying leave, favouring non-union members for acting up or overtime. If you believe your manager is taking adverse action against you get in contact with your delegate or the RTBU office immediately.

If you have any further questions, get in touch with your local delegate or organiser.

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: 21/06/2022