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NIF OIM Process Update

Jul 7, 2020Bulletins News

Bulletin No. 33.20

To: Rail Tram and Bus Union – NSW Trains Guard and Driver Members.

Your Union wishes to advise Members of recent developments in the introduction of the New InterCity Fleet. As Members are aware, NSW Trains has held a series of fortnightly meetings to discuss new procedures in the NIF Operating Instruction Manual. These meetings, attended by NSW Trains, and RTBU and HSR representatives, are purported to be a forum to discuss new NIF procedures, including to address safety and operational issues, which we believe have been overlooked by the third-party manufacturers of the NIF.

This group has consistently and continually raised serious safety concerns regarding the OIM documents, especially with the introduction of new and untested technology, and a fundamentally unsafe mode of operation. These concerns remained unresolved and relegated to an outstanding issue register. This is unacceptable and unsafe.

Following discussions with SafeWork NSW and Fair Work Australia, the OIM workgroup was allowed access to the NIF at Eveleigh. This one visit only served to further highlight our concerns.

The group observed OIM – 2.3 Couplers and gangways in practice. The process was an abject failure. Isolating cocks are virtually inaccessible, electrical heads failed to operate, the emergency coupler could not be fitted, and the train design had air exhausting in the driver’s face.

Based on what has been seen and reported, there are genuine concerns that the new NIF procedures are seriously flawed, ineffective, unsafe, and are physically incapable of being performed and/or reliant upon new technology or equipment yet to be commissioned.

The OIM workgroup group has formally written to NSW Trains advising that they are unable to continue to participate in the OIM process unless they are able to view and test all required elements of the OIM documents on the train.

NSW Trains has yet to commit to facilitating such access to the NIF so your Reps did not attend last week’s OIM meeting. Elected Representatives, both Union and HSR, are tasked with representing all elements of workplace health and safety. We will not continue to participate in a validation process we know exposes workers to unacceptable risks.

We believe NSW Trains has and will continue to be disingenuous as to their true intended NIF Operating mode of driver only. This is evidenced with the non-allocation of Passenger door controls on or near the crew doors as in ‘normal mode’ with placement of that functionality/task now in front of the Driver.

Despite blatant safety failures, budget blowouts and an underhanded attempt to introduce Driver Only Operation, NSW Trains’ propaganda machine remains in high gear… Churning out information about CCTV and USB charging ports while ignoring the fact their train and their operating model exposes workers and the NSW public to unacceptable risks.

Your Union is currently organising Depot tours so Members can hear the truth about the NIF.

Issued and Authorised By:
Alex Claassens
Branch Secretary

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