we will bargain together

Dear Members,

Yesterday, your RTBU bargaining delegates once again met with Sydney Trains in an attempt to progress bargaining.

All in all, yesterday’s meeting showed us the scope of the hard-won union conditions Sydney Trains want to take from members. This is all while demonstrating how unwilling they are to genuinely engage with our log of claims and the combined EA delegates team.

The meeting started with Sydney Trains rehashing their same three motherhood statements that shape all their “initiatives” and the lens they say they’ll view your claims through.

  • Well-connected community with quality local environments
  • Customer at the centre
  • A strong economy

Not one of these statements mentions the most important factor of an Enterprise Agreement: the workers.

In terms of pay, Sydney Trains are maintaining their insulting 0.3% offer relying on government policy that has still not been produced. We can only assume there is no document or policy constraining them to 0.3% and this is just Sydney Trains trying to save a buck. The only way that we’ll move them from this position is through strong collective action once the current vote concludes.

Some main proposals put forward by Sydney Trains (i.e. the conditions they want to rip out of the agreement) include:

  • For Train Crew, they want the ability to increase the use of part time employment and increase “flexibility” in Rostering arrangements.
  • Change the Sign Off procedure for drivers and guards, removing “sign off” time and moving to a digital platform to verify a shift is completed. This proposal is supposed to “increase the time that Train Crew are available for our customers”. A tone-deaf statement if we’ve ever heard one.
  • Remove the attendance management clause from the EA and placing it entirely in policy.
  • Remove disciplinary matters from the agreement and placing it in policy.

Remember Policies and Procedures can be changed at any time and cannot be enforced in the Fair Work Commission like a condition of an Enterprise Agreement.

The most shameful proposal that Sydney Trains presented was:

  • The proposed removal of the clause 37 – Health Standards obligation regarding payment of master roster to support a rail safety worker who is found temporarily unfit.

This is a blatant money grab from those workers who can least afford it. Many members have spent their entire lives working for Sydney Trains, and now they will be abandoned in their time of need. So much for loyalty.

This also shows members what really lies behind Sydney Trains’ bargaining principle of “modernisation”.  As was put by your Delegates at the meeting, they should be ashamed of themselves for putting this on the table.

Yesterday, as part of the CRU, we spoke to the following claims specific to health and safety from our log of claims:

  • Hygiene on the Rail Network – a claim requiring Sydney Trains to maintain COVID level cleanliness at all times using direct hire employees.
  • Safety at the platform train interface – a claim to enshrine the role of Guards and Station Staff as the primary safety control at the platform train interface.
  • Drug and Alcohol testing – a claim to change drug testing to swab testing in the first instance, to ensure that impairment is the primary consideration, not lifestyle.
  • Prevention of sexual harassment – a claim to ensure that victims of sexual harassment are treated with dignity and respect.
  • Right to disconnect – a claim to allow employees to be truly free from work during their leave and rest time.
  • Australian made Uniforms – a claim that Sydney Trains and NSW Trains ensure that their uniforms and PPE are procured and made in Australia – for quality and to support Australian manufacturing.
  • The right to wear shorts – a claim for all employees, this is just basic decency.
  • Union badges – a claim for the right to wear your union badge on your uniform.

In a final slap in the face Sydney Trains management advised us that they are blatantly refusing to attend a combined meeting of your entire EA delegates. We will be showing up and we continue to urge Sydney Trains to do the right thing and come to hear from your full delegate team.

Everything that happened in yesterdays meeting demonstrated why we need to take strong collective action. The PAB closes at midday on Monday, 30 August 2021. If you haven’t already voted, remember to vote yes in every box. The ballot provider has sent out another email with your voting details. If you cannot find the email, make sure you check your

Transport account or your personal emails junk folder.

If you still cannot find your login details, call 1300 798 994 between 11am and 7pm and they will be able to provide you with them.

We will keep you updated on both the PAB and bargaining process as more unfolds.

In solidarity


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: 26/08/2021