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NIF Update – Incompetence at NSW Trains

Apr 24, 2020Bulletins News

Expression of Interests – Guards and Drivers

NSW Trains’ actions to usher in a new era of rail operation on intercity lines hit a new low last week. In an effort to entice existing guards and drivers from Sydney Trains to work the NIF, NSW Trains released two separate expressions of interest (EOI) documents.

For drivers:

1. The EOI failed to contemplate who NSW Trains actually wanted to recruit. The EOI was originally intended for Central based drivers, but apparently NSW Trains changed its mind and made it open all Sydney Trains drivers. However, it left references to Central drivers throughout the document.

2. The EOI incorrectly stated that drivers returning from NSW Trains to Sydney Trains must go to Central. Sydney Trains has since sent out clarification that drivers returning from a temporary transfer will return to their substantive depots.

3. There seems to have been no contemplation what impacts temporary transfers will have on next year’s transfer list.  With no clear plan on how to effectively or fairly move people, NSW Trains is setting the stage for more issues. The RTBU will continue to work with Sydney Trains to clean up NSW Trains’ mess.

For guards:

1. The EOI falsely stated that the position was for a guard’s role despite NSW Trains’ position that the new role of Customer Service Guard (CSG) will not be part of train crew.

2. The wage for the role at NSW Trains was also overstated by about $25,000. The proposed wage of a CSG is proposed to be approximately $80,000.

3. The application of the Guards Rostering and Working Arrangements (GRAWA) to the new role is less than clear given that NSW Trains have previously stated that it doesn’t apply to their new proposed role.

4. Any guards who transfer on a permanent basis are not guaranteed to be taken back by Sydney Trains, but will go on a transfer list.

5. It is clear that NSW Trains want guards from Sydney Trains to help them to produce an operating model to get rid of Train Guards

The roll out of the new intercity fleet has been rife with problems. For the first time in 100 years, Transport for NSW, through NSW Trains, has kept its workforce and the union out of the development and testing of new rolling stock. NSW Trains has still only allowed RTBU delegates and HSRs to see the train twice, once of which was in South Korea!

It’s simply not good enough, and the RTBU and its members won’t stand for it.

If NSW Trains can’t even manage to compile simple EOIs, then what hope do we have that the NIF project will be managed to a successful conclusion and provide a safe, efficient train for the commuters of regional NSW

Pay and Conditions Update

Over the past 2 months, the RTBU and NSW Trains have engaged in the process of exchanging positions in relation to the pay and conditions for proposed new roles on the NIF.

No agreement has been reached and the RTBU still actively opposes the new roles and the NIF operating model.

While we cannot disclose the contents of those discussions, they were less than satisfactory, and it appeared that NSW Trains were making it up as they went along. This is illustrated by the fact the new roles that NSW Trains is proposing weren’t even finalised when the wage offer was first issued back in November 2019.

On Monday, NSW Trains told members that “we [the RTBU and NSW Trains] will discuss the different views on how pay and conditions for NIF roles can be implemented”.

We wanted to take this chance to reinforce the following:

1. We actively oppose the creation of the new “NIF Roles”;

2. We will fight the new NIF Roles, from now until NSW Trains backs down; and

3. NSW Trains will learn to listen to the RTBU when it wants to change its operating models.

It is time to step up and fight. Contact your delegate and learn what you can do to make your feelings about the NIF operating model known.

NIF testing and RTBU involvement

The RTBU has also written to NSW Trains seeking a commitment to allow RTBU Delegates and HSRs to participate in the testing of the NIF.  NSW Trains promised by way of an MOU back at the beginning of this process to allow the RTBU access to the testing process and have not lived up to their word. If this continues, the RTBU will be looking at its legal options to force NSW Trains to comply with the MOU.

This disaster of a train continues to be tested in the shadows. Remember, NSW Trains expects its employees to operate the train and to take their word that it’s safe. This is not a satisfactory position and NSW Trains needs to wake up and treat this matter seriously.