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Fighting back against disgraceful actions by MTS

Apr 5, 2019News

On Wednesday the 3rd of April, union members from other unions rallied together with the RTBU to protest outside Metro Trains Sydney (MTS) against the unjust sacking of an RTBU delegate.

We had overwhelming support on the day from the CFMMEU & MUA, ETU, AMWU, PSA, Professional Australia, USU, APHEDA, CRUNA, PVCU, the RTBU National Office and from our retired unionists. When you touch one – you touch all.

It was clear from this turnout yesterday that MTS’s sacking of Rob was an attack on all of us. It was an attack on our basic right to be union and fight for fair working conditions. It was an attack on democracy and the voice of the working class. But together, we sent a clear message: the workers of Australia will not be silenced.

It was particularly great to have Adam Searle MLC attend the rally as Shadow Industrial Relations Minister to stand with workers at MTS. You can watch the video of Alex Claassens and Adam Searle address the crowd outside MTS on our Facebook page here. The RTBU NSW would also like to thank Michelle Rowland MP for standing up for union members in Federal Parliament by delivering a speech about the disgraceful MTS sacking. You can watch Michelle Rowland’s speech here.

What happened to Rob?

Just prior to being sacked, Robert Car had been collecting signatures for a Majority Support Determination so that his fellow workers could fight for an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement that protected their working conditions.

Workers at MTS were forced to take this action as a last resort after the company refused to initiate bargaining through the Fair Work Commission process.

Disgracefully, last Wednesday April 27, Rob was called into a room only to be told he no longer had a job, without any valid reason being provided to him. Rob was just shy of finishing his 6-month probation period at the company.

We’re got serious concerns that Rob was sacked simply because of his involvement in the union. Every worker has a basic right to be union. No Australian should have to fear for their job just for exercising a basic democratic right.

However this isn’t the first anti-union thing we’ve seen out of Metro Sydney Trains.

This company has continually refused to meet with the RTBU, which is incredibly alarming because we have grave fears about the working conditions and safety at the new service. At the rally we also heard from Anthony O’Sullivan from the ETU who shared their solidarity with our battle and explained that electricians inside the site have also experiencing similar problems that are of great concern to the ETU.

Across the site we’re hearing reports of poor pay, incidents with the metro trains, rosters that don’t allow workers to manage their fatigue properly – and this service hasn’t even got off the ground yet.

It’s extremely concerning that a service that is about to transport thousands of people every day doesn’t want unions coming in and checking things such as safety and working conditions.

We’ve got a message for MTS – this isn’t the last you’ve seen of us.


What’s next?

Since the company have refused to reinstate Rob after the outcry from workers and politicians across the country, the RTBU have lodged an application for Rob’s case to be addressed by the Federal Court.

We expect the case to be heard within the next few days.

Thank you again to everyone from across the union movement and beyond that who joined us on Wednesday or who have supported our fight in other ways. We will keep everyone up to date with the progress of the Federal Court case on the RTBU Express website.

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