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Mar 9, 2017Bulletins

Bulletin 7 – 2017 –

To:          ARTC infrastructure Maintenance Members,

Enterprise bargaining negotiations continued on Wednesday, 8th March 2017.

ARTC have made no changes to their proposal of competencies that are currently sitting at a Level 3 pay rate being moved down to Level 2.

Your Negotiating Team emphasised to ARTC that in some areas, this would cause issues with employees currently attempting to move through the classification structure by further delaying their progression. The changes presented by your representatives would allow employees to achieve a national qualification without lowering where current competencies sit.

If a time based scheduled career progression was agreed to and implemented in this agreement, it would alleviate any concerns that are being raised by the union members in regards to career advancement. If scheduled career progression was in place, the placement of competencies and what levels they sit at would not be an issue as ARTC would be obligated to train you in the required competencies within a specific time frame.

We advised ARTC that if they would agree to scheduled career progression then the current changes that we have already negotiated in regards to the classification structure would be acceptable.

ARTC continue to refuse to commit to scheduled career progression as they believe their system is working efficiently and employees throughout their network are progressing. As this may be the case in some areas, it is not the case in all locations. Furthermore, if their system is working then why not put it into words in the enterprise agreement.

An ARTC argument is that ‘the employees covered by the ARTC NSW Enterprise Agreement (Work Group Leaders, Network Controllers etc.) are not on scheduled progression so why should Infrastructure Workers be’, our response was simple, Infrastructure workers are on significantly less than the employees covered by the ARTC NSW Enterprise Agreement and those employees do not have a competency based classification structure.

Irrespective of ARTC being of the belief that their training system is working, they proposed changes to the existing Training and Development Clause (6.2) in relation to training plans. The changes include the word ‘annual’ and ‘in conjunction with your manager’. The proposal reads as follows (changes highlighted and underlined in red);

CLAUSE 6.2 – Your annual training plan will be developed in conjunction with your Manager to allow you to progress through the competency system.’

ARTC states that this proposal will improve employee’s progression through the classification structure. However, as there are no time frames or that there is no requirement as to the number of competencies you are trained and assessed on in that given time, how is this improvement?

Your Negotiating Team asked ARTC ‘What will stop managers placing only 1 competency on the employees training plan for them to be trained in each year, effectively stalling their progression for years?’ ARTC’s response was ‘Nothing’.

Both negotiating parties are still in disagreement in relation to career progression and the changes to the classification structure.

One of Management’s claims was a review of the current rostering principles. In the meeting on Wednesday, ARTC advised that they are withdrawing this claim from the negotiation as they seek no changes to the rostering principles.

An ongoing issue that is arising from these negotiations is the release and attendance of your representatives to the negotiation table.

Last week we were advised that not all representatives would be released due to operational requirements. At the very beginning of the negotiations it was agreed to by both parties that the Negotiating Team would be present at all meetings as they are there to represent the interest of their work mates in these negotiations.

Arrangements were eventually made by ARTC to allow all representatives to be present at the meeting on Wednesday. Going forward it was reiterated to ARTC that it is imperative that all of the representatives on the Negotiating Team are present at the negotiation meetings. If it is impossible for ARTC to make these arrangements, we will be left with only 1 of 2 options, which are as follows;

  • A proxy representative chosen by the Negotiating Team and the members they represent to attend in their stead; OR
  • The meeting to be postponed until all core representatives are available.

I would like to thank all RTBU members for their continued patience. Your Negotiating Team is doing all they can to make sure all your concerns are heard and these negotiations are finalised soon. Your representatives require your continued support in what can only be described as a tough and difficult negotiation.

Due to the difficulty in negotiating with ARTC, strategies are currently being considered and members will be notified if and when such strategies are acted upon.

The negotiations are scheduled to continue in Newcastle on Wednesday, 15th March 2017.

Issued by: Authorised by:
Luke Hayden


Alex Claassens

Branch Secretary