we will bargain together

18 July 2022

Dear members,

This morning, we met with the Minister for Employee Relations, and the Acting Minister for Transport, as part of the ongoing bargaining process.

The meeting unfortunately bore no fruit, with both Ministers reaffirming the Government’s position that the offer on wages is in line with the Government’s wages policy and therefore not able to be increased. The Government has therefore rejected our amended wage claim put to them late last week.

A reminder that the Government’s wages offer currently sits at:

From approval – 2.5%

2023 – 3%

2024 – 2%

There was some discussion had around their position on safety changes to the New Intercity Fleet (NIF). The Government is maintaining its position that the changes are dependent on the Enterprise Agreement being voted up by employees and approved by the Fair Work Commission. We reiterated that the safety changes required on the NIF should be considered separately, and workers should not be asked to pay for the changes out of their wage rise. Pleasingly, there seemed to be a tacit acceptance of this, however we remain sceptical about why the Government would want to wait for Agreement approval to start making the changes. The Government should begin making the changes straight away.

There is still no movement on the allowances claim for members performing cleaning duties. A reminder that we are claiming a mere $2.50 per hour for those members required to clean often disgusting things we see about the network, and in acknowledgement that we are still in a pandemic, and cleaners remain the frontline on our railways.

Our Infrastructure Division continues to negotiate for its claims regarding Protection Officers and Work Group Leaders and Team Leaders. We will see where that ends this week.

Industrial Action to escalate

In response to the continued backflips, and refusal to acknowledge the value of our work, your EA delegates have immediately called for a 4-hour network wide stoppage at the earliest time we are able to call it.

Therefore, on 28 July 2022, at 0000hrs, every RTBU member at Sydney Trains and NSW Trains will be striking for 4 hours.

It has been further resolved that this type of action will continue in different ways until such a time that the Government sees sense on our outstanding claims.

We want to reach an agreement, and we want to do it soon. This process has been dragging on too long, and it is no fault of members. Remember the Government refused to agree to bargain until after the agreement expired, instead trying to sell a tiny 0.3% increase in pay. Then it again refused once that proposal was voted down by 90%. And then it still refused to bargain until we took them to the Commission in June.

It’s time for action.

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: 19/07/2022