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Public transport workers forced to vote YES to action

Jan 12, 2018Media releases

MEDIA RELEASE, 12 January 2018

Public transport workers forced to vote YES to action 

Sydney and NSW Trains workers have been forced to vote to give themselves the option of taking protected industrial action, following management’s refusal to negotiate a fair and reasonable enterprise agreement.

The Australian Electoral Commission today revealed that the overwhelming majority of Sydney and NSW Trains workers who voted in the ballot voted in favour of taking some form of protected action. [see breakdown of results at end]

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens said it is unfortunate that after more than six months of negotiations, Sydney and NSW Trains management is refusing to provide its workforce with basic workplace rights such as a commitment to providing some certainty around days off so workers can manage their family lives and their fatigue levels, and a commitment to protecting workers’ conditions in the event our transport services are privatised.

“What this means is that the option to take various forms of protected industrial action is now live, but we are still very hopeful we won’t have to go down that path,” Mr Claasens said. “Industrial action is always a last resort. Management are in a position to avoid that situation, and we’re still very hopeful they’ll come to the table and negotiate a fair and reasonable offer before we get to the point of action.

“This ballot result means that workers now have the option of taking protected industrial action, but it’s important to stress that at this stage, no action is being undertaken. Commuters will always be given as much notice as possible of any action.

The enterprise agreement in question covers around 9000 workers employed by Sydney and NSW Trains.

“All workers are asking for is a commitment to protecting their basic workplace conditions and a fair wage increase, but management is currently refusing to provide that,” Mr Claassens said.

“We know our Transport Minister has his sights set on privatising more and more of our transport services, and workers are rightly worried about what that will mean for their jobs. All we want is certainty that our basic working conditions will be protected.

“The Transport Minister will no doubt try to make our workers look greedy – he always does – but that couldn’t be further from the case. After years of putting up with job cuts, service cuts and now the active threat of the privatisation of transport services and the unworkable new timetable, all workers want is a bit of certainty and an assurance that their basic wages and conditions will be protected.

“The Transport Minister has openly said he looks forward to a day when transport is driverless so he doesn’t have to deal with workers or unions, so it’s probably shouldn’t surprise us that negotiations with management at government-run Sydney and NSW Trains have been difficult, but it has still come as a shock that the hard-working employees that keep our public transport ticking despite all the difficulties thrown at them are being treated so disrespectfully.

“We’re very hopeful management will come to the table soon and deliver and fair and reasonable agreement so that workers can get back to concentrating on what they do best – keeping Sydney’s public transport system ticking.”

The combined rail union team will now meet with delegates to consider the next steps.

 Breakdown of results
Percentage indicates number of voters who voted ‘yes’ to the action

Sydney Trains

Distribute union materials: 90.34%

Speaking about action during work related communications: 91.67%

Bans (partial work bans, or overtime bans): 90.89%

Stoppages up to 72 hours: 94.14%

1 week or indefinite strike: 84.34%

NSW Trains

Distribute union materials: 86.46%

Speaking about action during work related communications: 87.82%

Bans (partial work bans, or overtime bans): 88.62%

Stoppages up to 72 hours: 90.21%

1 week or indefinite strike: 73.37%

 

 

 

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