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RTBU, AMWU and UnionsNSW Takes on WorkCover

Apr 24, 2015Bulletins

Bulletin 23 – 2015

To: RTBU Members

The RTBU, AMWU and UnionsNSW lodged an application before the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales (NSWIRC) naming WorkCover Authority of NSW. The basis for taking this action is below;

  • 22nd January 2015 – Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) were elected into their positions. The HSR’s nominated their training provider numerous times to Sydney Trains as per the Work Health and Safety Act and reiterated by Sydney Trains Q&A, published on 8th September 2014, which states: “Health and Safety Representatives are entitled to choose and attend a WorkCover endorsed training course.”

Sydney Trains initially agreed to the nominated training provider however changed their position citing that the chosen training provider was not on their procurement list.

  • 9th February 2015 – During a consultation meeting where HSR Training was discussed the HSR representatives repeated their choice of training provider. Sydney Trains position remained that the chosen training provider was not on the procurement list. As such, this training provider was denied.
  • Simultaneously, the RTBU lodged a complaint with WorkCover on the grounds that Sydney Trains were not adhering to the legislative requirements with regards to training. However, WorkCover determined that Sydney Trains could deny a training provider on the basis that they are not on the procurement list. This determination disregarded the fact that Sydney Trains had previously agreed to the use of the provider on a number of occasions.
  • 10th February 2015 – The RTBU and one of the HSR’s lodged an application for an Internal Review with WorkCover. On the 31st March 2015 the Internal Review agreed with the original determination, in that Sydney Trains could deny a training provider if they are not on the procurement list.
  • On the 14th April 2015, UnionsNSW, RTBU and the AMWU through Slater and Gordon filed the application for External Review with NSWIRC.

On Thursday 24th April, Aron Neilson appeared in the NSWIRC for directions to which WorkCover did not appear. This was due to WorkCover apparently being served the paperwork in a different area. His Honour directed the parties to have discussions about directions and gave leave to file documents with the Commission within 14 days. His Honour further requested that Sydney Trains be notified of our application and this was done on the 23rd April.

This is a crucial matter to run due to the implications of the WorkCover determination could have on all industries, both public sector and private. The determination made by WorkCover goes against the fundamental essence of HSR rights.

Members will be kept informed as the matter progresses.

Issued by: Authorised by:
Helen Bellette


Alex Claassens

Branch Secretary