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Disappointing, but not surprising! RSS fails its workers again.

May 5, 2022Update

Today, Wednesday 4 May 2022, RSS decided that bargaining for a fair and reasonable Enterprise Agreement is now over. They issued a bargaining update, beating their chests about how concerned they are for their employees and their conditions of employment.

They allege that the RTBU issued them a “take it or leave it” ultimatum, when we made it clear that we were still willing to consider further offers and would like bargaining to continue.

They call the RTBU “an external 3rd party” dictating your conditions. This is plainly not true, the RTBU is a party and covered by this Enterprise Agreement – perhaps RSS haven’t read clause 2.1 of the Agreement. RSS employees should also remember that RSS are the ones relying on ‘external 3rd parties’ to set your conditions – firstly by insisting Pacific National has fixed the wage increases at 1.5%
or WPI, and secondly, when they ran to Fair Work with a bargaining dispute.

So, lets discuss the outstanding items yet to be agreed on: –

  1. Loaded Rates. RSS have offered 130% for additional hours over 76, 140% for working your RDO’s and 175% for Public Holidays. RTBU members have asked for 150% for all additional hours and 200% for Public Holidays. RSS has flatly refused. Are you all prepared to give up your time at home with your families for an extra 30-40%? Are you prepared to give up your Public Holidays for 175% when most other workers in our industry get between 200 – 250%? Is this RSS looking after their employees?
  2. Mechanism for Rate increase. RSS have offered 1.5% or WPI, whichever is greater citing contractual agreements with Pacific National (which we were never allowed to see). The RTBU has asked for 2% or WPI as a compromise position, whichever is greater. RSS has flatly refused. Note, WPI is currently at 2.4% for the private sector. With out-of-control inflation at 5.1%, cost of living pressure and rising interest rates, is a refusal to guarantee even a modest 2% pay-increase really RSS looking out for their employees?
  3. Site Clause. RSS have offered to pay other Rail Train employees used at St Mary’s the same rates as you will receive under this EA, the RTBU has asked for that to be extended to include any contractors or labour hire workers that perform your duties at St Marys. RSS has flatly refused. Remember the Rail Train Group have a history of corporate manipulation to undercut EA conditions with outside workforces. Why have they refused this claim if they have no intention of doing the same at St Marys? Is this RSS looking after its workforce?
  4. Casual Employees. The RTBU remains extremely concerned about the 2-tiered pay structure, which makes it cheaper for RSS to employ casuals instead of permanent employees – despite casual employees having no job security, no commitment from RSS, and no leave entitlements. To offset this risk, we proposed a cap on casual employees at 20% of the workforce. RSS has flatly refused. Even though they say that this won’t happen, they will not commit it into the EA. What are they planning? Is this RSS looking after their employees?

If the answer to these questions is NO, then it’s time to take action. You are currently in a voting period to take protected industrial action to force RSS back to the table.

Don’t be fooled by their apparent concern for their workers, the $2500 and 3 shirts bribe (or the threat to take this away).

Don’t be fooled by their representations that there is no money left in the contract to meet your valid bargaining claims – our site rates clause and casual caps won’t cost them a thing!

Vote YES for Protected Action and NO to this inferior Enterprise Agreement!

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