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O’Farrell must come clean on privatisation of our trains by stealth

Jan 13, 2014RTBU News

The planned out-sourcing of rail cleaning services by the NSW Government signals another step in O’Farrell’s privatisation agenda with the whole rail network clearly in his sights, said the Rail Tram and Bus Union today (RTBU).

RTBU State Secretary Alex Claassens said the appalling management of cleaners within RailCorp has left workers so demoralised that over sixty percent of the cleaning workforce have requested redundancy and workers are being sought from external private providers.

He said the cleaning division has endured three years of constant “restructures” which have involved allowing the operational workforce of 805 employees run down to 715, hugely increased the workload of the remaining staff and cut back on the equipment available to them. 

“Commuters deserve a properly staffed cleaning division with the adequate resources to do their job, which is keeping our trains safe and clean for the travelling public,” Mr Claassens said.

“Cleaning workers deserve the resources to properly do their job without having to do three years of excessive overtime because management haven’t recruited adequately.

“Cleaners have now been left wondering if they have been played by the government – treated so poorly that they have been driven out so the government could pursue their out-sourcing and privatisation agenda.

“If not, then this is an awful case of bungling and mismanagement which will no doubt come with a hefty cost to NSW tax payers.”

The O’Farrell Government must make public their plans to privatise Sydney’s passenger rail by stealth and sell it off to the highest bidder.

“The travelling public gave the Government a mandate to improve public transport, not sell off their trains to private interests whose purpose is profit not public service,” Mr Claassens said.

“Outsourcing cleaning jobs has confirmed rail workers concerns that the Government was silo-ing divisions of the network, gutting them and then moving to privatise them.

“The O’Farrell Government knows it does not have a mandate from the NSW public to sell-off the publicly-owned rail network so it is engaging in privatisation by stealth.

“Workers and the union have long suspected the Government’s privatisation plans but outsourcing jobs within the cleaning division is the first public move to privatise jobs and sell off the network.”

Mr Claassens highlighted the public transport privatisation effort in Victoria which became an abject failure, burdening taxpayers and delivering a degraded service to commuters.

“Melbourne’s commuter rail sell-off cost taxpayers $10 billion and resulted in fare increases of up to $1200 a year since privatisation (twice as fast as inflation) with fundamental problems involving lateness, cancellations and reliability.

“With the benefit of hindsight, Melbourne has now decided that privatising its trains is a failure, and Sydney needs to see the light on this too.”

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