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Sydney & NSW Trains: A message from Alex Claassens

Mar 9, 2018

Dear members,

Sydney & NSW Trains have commenced a postal ballot to determine if the current offer that the NSW Government have put on the table is acceptable to you.

We’ve spent three weeks touring workplaces across the state to ensure that you understand the current offer and have all the information you need, but please contact your local delegate if you have any further questions, or call the RBTU Office on 9264 2511.

You should receive your postal forms in the mail any day now as we have been told that Australia Post were given the ballot documents on the evening of the 7th.

We encourage you to vote and send it back as soon as you can. Voting will close on Friday the 23rd of March, which is why it’s so important to send it back straight away so that your vote counts.

You can click here to view the latest offer that the NSW Government have put on the table, presented by the rail entities at the roadshows.

You can also read the latest bulletin with some RTBU FAQS about the process here.

Watch the video below to hear Alex Claassens explain why it’s so important that you vote, or you can read his letter below.

These are your wages and conditions – it’s up to you to decide whether you believe the offer provides you with the fair wages and conditions you deserve.

If you still have further questions or concerns, please contact your local delegate, or call the RTBU Office on 9264 2511.

A message from the Secretary

After many, many months of negotiations; a difficult period of protected industrial action; and weeks of depot meetings, it’s now time to vote on your enterprise agreement. I wanted to give you a brief update on where things are up to ahead of the vote. Please watch the video above, or read below.

It’s important to note off the top that the EA being voted on is not endorsed by the RTBU. We started negotiations for a new workplace agreement in July last year. In December we were forced to start the process of protected industrial action because we weren’t getting anywhere.

We know who is ultimately responsible for all of this – Transport Minister, Andrew Constance. The man who has given us the shambolic new timetable, the Newcastle bus disaster, is privatizating region 6 buses and is closing down our rail lines and handing them over to a private company based in Hong Kong.

The same man who has criticised you, the hard-working men and women of our railways. When the Transport Minister refused to allow negotiations to go any further, we took action. We, the workers, stood together in order to get a fair deal.  Then the Fair Work Commission ordered us to suspend our actions.

The fact that we did everything by the book is proof the industrial laws in Australia are broken. But more on that at a later date.

The situation is this:

While most of the changes to the EA have been agreed in principle, pay is still an outstanding issue and there three other clauses not fully agreed to by the parties prior to the depot tour taking place.

The wage increase on offer is 3%, which is more than the government wage cap, but less than the 4% delegates decided should be the minimum.

It’s for that reason, the RTBU is not endorsing the offer. That’s not to say the EA and the wage increase along with all the other changes are a bad deal; it’s just that we weren’t able to achieve all the items in our log of claims. 

The offer on the table essentially provides:
– A 3% wage increase from the date of approval
– A further 3% after 12 months and another 3% after 24 months.
– A one off $1000 payment
– Travel passes extended for existing employees
– redeployment and redundancy benefits
– Commitment to master roster changes
– Domestic violence leave
– Critical incident support
– Accident make up pay

And a range of other things that are detailed on the website.

You now have the opportunity to vote on whether or not you think this is a fair offer.  If more than 50% of the employees that actually vote, vote yes, the EA will be ratified.  If the majority vote no, management has said the current EA and Deed (52 Weeks redundancy package) will continue to apply with no wage increase or payment and the Fair Work Commission may decide on the outcome.

Our latest bulletin details the more complex consequences of the possible outcomes of the vote – both positive and negative – so you can have a look at that.   But the most important thing you can do is read over the proposed offer and decide for yourself where you stand.

These are your wages and conditions, so it’s important you take the time to look over the offer and ask your local delegate or call the RTBU office with any questions you may have.

Regardless of how you intend to vote, please make sure you take the time to vote. We need to let the Liberal Government know that you care about your working conditions and we will not be disrespected.

If you didn’t receive the previous Sydney Trains/NSW Trains mail out which included a copy of the Enterprise Agreement 2018, the Deed and their flyer, you should contact them to update your address by emailing iwvote@transport.nsw.gov.au, because it’s likely that you won’t receive the ballot either.

Otherwise, a copy of the offer should be arriving in the post along with the details on how to take part in the postal ballot.

Voting has now officially commenced and will close on March 23.

Thank you for standing strong through this difficult time, and I know we’ll all continue to stand strong into the future – no matter what the outcome of the vote.

In unity,

Alex Claassens, RTBU NSW Secretary



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