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New Intercity Fleet (NIF) – Fair Work Commission Update

Jul 5, 2019Bulletins

Bulletin: 41/19

To RTBU Sydney Trains and NSW Trains Driver and Guard Members:

New Intercity Fleet (NIF) – Fair Work Commission Update


This morning RTBU delegates attended the Fair Work Commission with our barrister to continue the fight against the proposed NIF operating model.


To assist the Commission, the RTBU presented a document chronologically outlining developments and our concerns about NSW TrainLink’s approach to NIF which included the following points:


  • “In December 2018, NSW TrainLink’s Acting Chief informed the RTBU in written correspondence and in unequivocal terms that traction interlocking of crew cab doors would be removed and a bell would be installed at the crew cab door. These were welcome and important developments. They ensured that guards would be able have full visual and audible capacity during boarding and door closing processes. This was, in the RTBU’s view, a significant development that went a long way to ensuring the health and safety of members of the traveling public…”


  • Subsequently, NSW TrainLink has announced that the proposal to remove traction interlocking from crew cabs is not ‘feasible’ and has been abandoned. This announcement, bereft of detail and made without consultation and disclosure of information, presaged a wholesale reframing of a guard’s role. This is a matter of significant concern to the RTBU and its members. The present proposed restrictions on the guard’s role are without merit and, more concerningly, will present an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of customers.


  • …the [In the Know] sessions appear to involve the announcement by NSW TrainLink of a final position in relation to the design of the NIF and the role of drivers and guards on the NIF. It is trite that consultation about a final decision is not consultation at all…”

Despite the continued insistence by Transport for NSW and NSW Trains that traction interlocking needs to be applied to the crew cab door, there was a startling inability to explain to the Commission why. TfNSW and NSW Trains are hiding behind a purposely designed engineering feature of the NIF as the reason that the door cannot stay open. Members deserve to know why this simple design flaw cannot be fixed.


The RTBU has demanded access to the engineering plans that will change the lives of our members and pose serious safety risks to the travelling public.


Martin Stewart, Blind Australian of the Year and friend of the RTBU, spoke to the media outside the Fair Work Commission about the importance of a guard with the full ability to visually and audibly assess train arrivals and departures and ensure safety of the most vulnerable in our community. The pain he feels everyday was caused by a similar decision being made in Victoria to remove guards from trains.


The fight continues in relation to the use of in-cab cameras and the additional duties being imposed on drivers under the new operating model.


Issued and Authorised by:

Alex Claassens

Branch Secretary

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