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News & Views from the RTBU NSW Locomotive Division

NSW Trains uniform consultation collapses

Nov 8, 2013News

A trial of the new NSW Trains uniforms has just been completed, following several months of consultation over the issue.  

Unfortunately, at a meeting held on 7 November, NSW Trains management informed the consultation committee that the executive had decided on what items of the uniform members will be forced to wear based on the simple premise that “it looked smart”.

This includes a shirt that was unanimously rejected by the committee and members, trousers that have been deemed to be too hot to wear in even moderate temperatures, and a suit style jacket that was only ever supposed to be an option for crew to wear.

A survey was conducted as a part of the trial process – which unfortunately the RTBU was not able to have input into – which determined that the uniform was ‘safe to wear’.

It’s the Loco Division’s belief that a more appropriate line of questioning would have been: is the uniform fit for the role being undertaken as per the EA? However, management has chosen to ignore the justifiable concerns raised by the committee members who suggested that the uniforms are not suitable for the line of work. Another concern of the survey is that it was also partly undertaken by employees who will not even wear the driver’s uniform.

After it became obvious that NSW Trains management were no longer consulting in good faith and were determined to push the uniforms through based on their appearance rather than practical application, the committee was forced to take the unprecedented action of walking out of the meeting and a decision was made to take no further part in discussions from here on in.

The Loco Division would like to let members know that the NSW Trains uniform to be supplied is not agreed or endorsed in any way by the RTBU Locomotive Division and dispute proceedings will be commenced.


7 Comments to “NSW Trains uniform consultation collapses”

  • The uniform as I’ve seen it is certainly not practical for the work we perform. NSW Trains, it seems to me want us to look like corporate executives in a high rise office rather than Train Drivers. I’ve heard others mention the shirt looks like it’s for a. An Ice Cream Salesman and b. Pyjamas. Either seems appropriate. And I previously mentioned the lack of shorts and short sleeve shirts. We have temps of over 45 Deg C days. And we’re issued with sunscreen, so what’s the problem? Bus Operators, Taxi Drivers, Police, etc. are still issued shorts and even polo necked shirts that are designed to look corporate and smart whist being practical. Their uniform policy needs to be overturned and overhauled. Immediately.

  • I have not yet seen the NSW Trains new uniform but have been informed by guards who have that they are totally inappropriate for train crew in Hot Weather, the Sydney Train guards are completely against the new uniforms especially not being able to wear short pants, and the quality of the shirts provided, and I have never heard of a clothing company not being able to put pockets on a polo shirt, so the question needs to be asked what sort of backyard company are they dealing with, this will be a major issue for train crew in the coming summer months, and many are complaining why can Police, Ferry and Bus workers allowed to wear shorts, the word from Tony Eid at previous meetings was that the Minister claims short pants do not fit the image for Train Staff. The Guards Sub Division will support the Loco Division in any Dispute proceedings that that take in the issue of New Uniforms.
    Bruce Gale
    Secretary, RTBU Train Guards Sub Division

  • I have some concerns re- the proposed new uniforms.
    Why has NSW Trains not tried to use an Australian provider? I was under the impression that government agencies where required to us Australian manufacturers where possible. Can we see the tendering process? Under the NSW governments procurement policy, a tendering process is required and Australian companies receive a 20% loading on cost to help them compete against overseas companies..
    Who is the new supplier and are they and their subcontractors fully accredited? The federal department of education, employment and workplace relations (DEEWR) requires all suppliers of textiles and uniforms and their subcontractors to be accredited under the Homeworkers code of practice. Can we check this is so?
    If the dept of defence will only use Australian manufactured combat uniforms, why is this not good enough for NSW trains? Pretty unpatriotic in my mind.
    Lastly, no shorts in hot weather. I hope that there is plenty of cold water available everywhere we go to prevent heatstroke is all I can say!

  • As a guard who has worked in Sydney’s greater west, wearing nylon shirts is simply not an option, the current poly cotton shirts are cool and comfortable to wear, also get some more representatives to try and sample this new design, all this talk of new uniform and trials and I have not seen anybody wearing it.

  • the irony is, most commuters couldn’t care less about shorts. This is straight from Gladys and her old fashioned world view. Commuters want safe, clean reliable trains, not bank tellers.

  • It is important to not have a uniform that is not pratical or would just be too hot for the worker, still you do want them to look nice and put on the right image of the company. Coming from someone who is very fashion consious though, I would rather wear something slightly less comfortable that looked better. It would be pretty difficult to work eight hours a day in a hot train in hot uncomfortable clothing.

  • I refuse to wear any of it, as the heat in Grafton to Brisbane is making this uniform unsafe, I am sticking to the old Countrylink Uniform. What are they going to do, send me home and then pay for bus’s to take their customers to Brisbane, good luck with that. If I am safe and healthy, so are my staff and passengers. Out..

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