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News & Views from the RTBU NSW Locomotive Division

12 hour train driver shifts maintained in NSW

May 18, 2012News

NSW has retained its 12 hour shift limits for train drivers – a victory for drivers who stood up for workplace safety and common sense.

Today’s meeting of state transport ministers rejected the National Transport Commission’s proposal to remove the standard in NSW and have opted instead to review it after three years.

This is a big win for RTBU members who fought hard to maintain NSW’s current high safety standards during the process of developing the National Rail Safety Regulator.

The NTC’s proposal to remove 12 hour shift limits for NSW train drivers was always ridiculous and only had one possible outcome, increased fatigue risk for train drivers.

RTBU National Secretary, Bob Nanva who attended the meeting said, “While we’re happy that today’s meeting has decided to retain the standard in NSW, it should have been expanded to other states and territories.

“We will certainly be pushing to expand this standard when the review happens in three years time. Just as you wouldn’t drive a car for more than 12 hours, nor should you drive a train.

The meeting also considered workplace drug and alcohol testing, opting to leave testing methods in the hands of operators.

This is a terrible decision for the industry and will unfairly subject train drivers to urine tests, rather than the more accurate oral swab tests that have been introduced in many workplaces across the country.

To opt for an inferior drug and alcohol testing regime, which does nothing for workplace safety makes no sense, whilst also impinging on the civil liberties of public transport workers.

We have had a great win for rail safety in NSW today but there is still work to do and your union will continue advocating strongly on your behalf for a fair and safe workplace.

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