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Loco Express: Secretary’s Report

Dear members,

It’s been a busy year for everyone in the Loco Division and we should all use the holiday period to refresh in anticipation of further and ongoing attacks by employers and governments against workers, their unions and those who they see as getting in the way of their anti-worker, anti-union and anti-fairness agenda!

Congratulations on this incredible year. Through every challenge we faced, the Locomotive Division only became bigger, better and stronger.

In concerning news, we are receiving reports from members in Pacific National about a possible loss of some of their steel business. Whilst details are still sketchy and at time of writing, no official announcements have been made. The possible implications if the reports are correct to members in depots who currently work these services cannot be underestimated and there is only uncertainty during the holiday period and something is confirmed. Members have the right to know and not just by rumours.

Members can be assured that the Locomotive Division and National Office are attempting to find out if what we are hearing is correct in an effort to limit any potential impact on affected members.

The Locomotive Division at its recent Divisional Council have now committed added significant resources to protecting and representing the interest of members affected by the introduction of NIF and its impacts jobs, safety, workload and pay and conditions.

NSW Trains and TfNSW continue to pursue what we believe is a flawed and unsafe operating model for the NIF and continue to operate with a ‘master – servant’ management mentality towards their employees affected by their decisions. The RTBU recently sent out a survey for NSW Trains affected members to participate in. This is so all members affected can voice their concerns about their jobs, safety, workload and pay and conditions. The Survey will be closing soon so we encourage as all NSW Trains Members who have not done so to click on the following link to have their say and participate by click clicking here.

The recent arrogant move by NSW Trains and TfNSW to put out their position ‘Your Guide to the New InterCity Fleet’ to employees with zero consultation to affect staff and their Union left the RTBU with no option but to put the matter into a Step 2 dispute. Your survey feedback and anger when NSW Trains and TfNSW printed a ‘their view of your future’ in a glossy pamphlet without consultation, clearly demonstrated to the Union that the members did not agree or accept what NSW Trains and TfNSW arrogantly touted.

Should NSW Trains and TfNSW continue to believe they can circumvent the EBA including Clause 12, the DRAWA and consultation we have no option but to progress the dispute all the way to the FWC.  This may mean the FWC will arbitrate the outcome if the parties are unable to reach an agreed and fully consulted outcome. To do nothing and watch from the stands is not an option for the RTBU Locomotive Division!!!

We are yet to get a decision from the FWC in regards to the Bowman Rail Dispute and the Aurizon Coal dispute following separate hearings in the FWC. No date has been set for when we will get the decisions, and members will be advised of the outcome as soon as they have been received.

The Division recently lost Industrial Officer Jessica Epps who finished with the RTBU Locomotive Division on the 1/11/19 to take up another role with another Union. Jess had been with us for around 5 years when she started as a Passenger Organiser and moved to the Industrial Officer role a few years ago when she commenced training to become a lawyer. It was a pleasure to see Jess grow over the 5 years she has been with us and become a part of the Locomotive Division. She was fiercely protective of our autonomy within the Branch and whilst it is sad to see her leave us, she will not be lost to the union movement and I can only wish her well in her new role.

Loco Executive took the opportunity as a result of the ever changing legal environment to convert the vacant the Industrial Officer position to that of Legal Officer to employ someone who was already qualified as  a Solicitor/Barrister with 2 to 5 years practicing experience. Following a formal recruitment process I can advise members that our first ever  in house dedicated Locomotive Division Legal Officer will commence with the Division on the 13th January 2020.

At our recent National Locomotive Divisional meeting in Canberra, the National Locomotive Divisional Committee under the guidance of Assistant National Secretary – Locomotive Division Keith McMahon launched two national campaigns on health, safety and welfare in the workplace for members.

The continuous attacks and eroding of our working conditions are getting worrying, especially with labour hire becoming more and more prevalent. Management have transferred their obligations virtually to the worker with little regard for their welfare. They say ‘Safety is our core value’ which is probably true as they do protect their safety by placing the worker (our members) at risk instead and state that they have met the ‘ALARP’ provisions of risk management. Simply unacceptable.

In this final edition for 2019, members will find an article with links to our National locomotive campaign material for all members to address the ever increasing erosion of our RTBU members’ health, safety & welfare action/titled ‘If it’s not safe’ ‘JUST SAY NO” postcard! The second national locomotive division campaign is titled ‘Safety not Surveillance’ and includes links to an In Cab camera fact sheet & a survey for our comrades who have/may be exposed to the continual surveillance devices! 

I’d like to wish all our members a lovely Christmas season with their family and friends, and a safe and happy new year. 

I hope you’ll enjoy this edition of Loco Express.

Stay safe on the tracks.

In Solidarity, 

Bob Hayden
RTBU Locomotive Division Secretary

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