RTBU Express
RTBU Express
Visit Bus Express Visit the Bus Express
Visit RTBU Express Visit the RTBU Express
Visit RTBU National Visit the RTBU National

Loco Express: Secretary’s Report

Dec 6, 2019Update

December 6, 2019

Dear members,

Our latest update on the Pacific National mobile phone debacle is that there will be a meeting with PN on Monday to discuss member concerns and hopefully come to an agreement. Members may be aware that PN is requesting that drivers use a phone given to them by PN and use the ‘Driver App’ component with the Loco On/Loco Off feature. This is designed to track the locos according to them but we know that PN are collecting the data for other purposes and will probably bring it back in the future to argue for a different payment structure, such as ‘footplate time “and “non-footplate time”. We also have concerns around privacy and tracking, any damage, loss or theft of the phone, distraction from doing safety critical operations or fear of disciplinary action from accidental non-use of the Apps.

An update on the Sydney Trains driver trainers is that Sydney Trains is still not prepared to accept that all drivers, including driver trainers are covered by the DRAWA. As members know, we have been concerned over the payment of Lift Up/Lay Back and Build Up for driver trainers. We are continuing to meet with Sydney Trains in an attempt to reach an acceptable outcome. We will keep members updated.

Meanwhile, NSW Trains has been no easier to deal with. They provided the RTBU with a proposed remuneration package for drivers who will be operating the NIF trains. This package has a measly 4% increase which they, laughably, believe to be adequate compensation for the increased responsibilities of drivers. No part of their proposal for ‘InterCity Specialist Drivers’ has been made in consultation with the Loco Division and we completely reject their offer as a piss poor attempt at driver compensation. The offer only cements what members have known for some time, that NSW Trains just doesn’t get the workload and/or workplace stress that Drivers are being placed under and nor do they respect and or acknowledge the professionalism and knowledge that drivers bring to NSW Trains. We’ve now placed the matter in dispute. Members are now being surveyed in regards to the NSW Trains/TfNSW offer and all NSW Trains Members are encouraged to participate in the survey.

QUBE met with delegates last week to recommence negotiations on their EA following the overwhelming rejection of the company’s proposed EA. The results of this meeting were an offer to revise the agreement, however, it was clear that QUBE hadn’t given much consideration to all the items under dispute nor were they willing to give a response. Another meeting has been set for after Christmas. In case we need to take protected industrial action, members are advised to ensure that they are financial members of the RTBU and that we have the correct address details.

Some good news from the other side of the globe as our comrades at the Rail, Maritime and Transport union in the UK have started 27 days of strike action after negotiations with Southern Western Railway have broken down. As we are seeing in NSW Trains, they are also facing the prospect of the removal of guards on trains and added workload being placed on the driver. We stand in solidarity with them in this fight.

Last week the RTBU National Council was held in Canberra over 3 days with the first day being for the National Divisions to meet from around the country. The National Locomotive Division Committee discussed a number of major issues affecting drivers around the country such as in-cab audio and video surveillance, workplace fatigue, DOO and the increasing use of technology within the driver work environment.

All members are also encouraged to attend events this month with Blacktown Christmas drinks on the 13th at Adams Tavern and a retirement event / Christmas gathering on the 21st at Mittagong RSL.

I would also encourage you to view the delegate videos at the end of this edition of Loco Express as a new feature we are rolling out to see delegates speak directly to members.

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

Stay safe on the tracks.

In Solidarity, 

Bob Hayden
RTBU Locomotive Division Secretary

PN mobile phone update


As RTBU Train Crew Members would be aware, Pacific National extended the Consultation period regarding the proposed mandatory use of the Drivers App.

This was a direct result of the Rank and File standing together and forcing PN to answer the influx of questions around this proposal. Thank you and well done!!

In regard to the letter that the RTBU National Office sent on Wednesday the 27th November, Pacific National has rejected the Union’s claim that consultation has not been genuine and that it has failed to respond to employee questions in a meaningful manner.

Pacific National has requested a meeting with the RTBU on Monday 9 December to discuss the Members’ concerns. The meeting requests have come from Simon Atkinson (President of Freight) and Brett Lynch (President of Coal).

The RTBU National Office responded to PN on Monday 2 December 2019, advising that we are prepared to accept the invitation to meet, with the following proviso:

  • That the consultation period is paused until after that meeting, and that no implementation occurs until either the concerns are addressed or, in the event of ongoing disagreement, in accordance with the relevant DSP; and
  • All related policies are reviewed with the Delegates and the RTBU.

We will continue to keep you informed of any updates.

Click here to read more on the history of this dispute.

Sydney Trains Driver Trainers Update

The Locomotive Division wishes to provide an update to Members in relation to the ongoing issues and talks concerning Driver Trainers with Sydney Trains.

Another meeting was attended today in which it was clear that Sydney Trains does not agree with our position/view in regards to the application and the payment of Lift Up/Lay Back and Build Up as contained in the Drivers Rostering and Working Arrangements.

The RTBU Locomotive Division reiterated our position that all Drivers including Driver Trainers are covered by the Drivers Rostering and Working Arrangements.

Sydney Trains expressed a view (apparently supported by external legal advice), that the DRAWA allows them to take Driver Trainers “off roster” to deliver training without payment of Lift Up / Lay Back or Build Up. Sydney Trains stated that they believe clauses 3.6.1 (e) & (h) of the DRAWA permit this practice.

The Locomotive Division does not agree with Sydney Trains position.

At time of writing there is agreement between the parties to further meetings next week, in an attempt to reach an acceptable outcome, if possible.

The RTBU Locomotive Division will be seeking our own legal advice regarding this matter, and reserve our right to seek to assistance of the Fair Work Commission to deal with this matter.

Members will be kept informed via future Footplates and should contact Head Office or your local delegates should you wish to further discuss this matter and or share you view on the above.

Please click here to read more.

Wollongong Depot Union Day

The Wollongong depot RTBU members recently held their regular union day to discuss matters affecting members, not only in Wollongong but across NSW Trains’ areas of operation.

At the forefront of these discussions was the advent of the NIF train and NSW Trains’ proposed operating model which affects a wide range of members and their future working arrangements.

Also discussed was the proposed new Regional Diesel fleet and speculation as to how NSW Trains intended to operate that train in light of the NIF model.

Local matters were discussed regarding the new schedules arising from the 2020 timetable changes. To celebrate this union day, members proudly raised the RTBU flag which flew on the flag pole for the whole day.

Click here to read more.

NIF Update

Members are advised that NSW Trains presented the RTBU with its proposed remuneration package for drivers who will be operating the NIF trains. After advising that the Government “was aware of the offer”, NSW Trains proposed it’s so called “fair and reasonable” offer of a 4% increase for drivers which apparently “reflects the increased responsibilities” of the new role. NSW Trains has also advised that they will “introduce a new classification of InterCity Specialist Driver” for the new role.

It was proposed that the new rate would be applicable once a driver is “trained, competent and has started driving the NIF”. Once qualified, members would then receive the new rate permanently meaning it would also be applicable for diesel operations as well.

Needless to say, the Locomotive Division totally reject this offer and its contents as grossly undervaluing the role drivers currently perform and that which NSW Trains expects them to continually perform on the NIF for what amounts to a meager pittance.

Any suggestion or inference by NSW Trains that this is agreed or consultation has occurred is a lie!

The RTBU has placed this matter instantly into dispute as a clear breach of the NSW Trains EA. Members will be kept informed and if further information is required they should contact their local delegate or head office.

Click here to read more.

QUBE Enterprise Agreement Update

After an overwhelming rejection of the company’s proposed Enterprise Agreement (EA) of 101 to 8 in early November 2019, your EA negotiating team met with QUBE management yesterday in an effort to get the improved agreement you deserve. 

Members and delegates raised a number of items that were previously handed to QUBE Management on the 13 November 2019 for discussion. While we made some progress, it was disappointing that QUBE had not given full consideration to all the items, nor did they give us a response for you to consider. 

Next Steps 

Qube have stated that they will make a revised offer, which includes a pay increase for each year, the overtime rate and the term of the Enterprise Agreement (either for 2 or 3 years) by the 6th December 2019. This offer will then be conveyed to you for consideration over the Xmas period. The next proposed meeting is scheduled for 7 January 2020. 

While we are in a position to apply for a protected action ballot, we will wait for the company’s proposed wage offer. If the offer from the company is unacceptable to you, the negotiating team will be seeking from you what type of potential actions you would be willing to take. 

If we need to file for an order for Protected Industrial Action with the Fair Work Commission, it is very important that you are a financial member of the RTBU, and that your current address details are the same with the RTBU and QUBE. 

Click here to read more.

UK union strikes begin

RMT members of Southern Western Railway in the UK are taking a stand as they begin 27 days of strike action.

Hundreds are striking in an industrial dispute over the roles and responsibilities of train crew onboard. While drivers have been promised a role on new trains, other train crew members have not been given any guarantees and the union is not moving forward without assurances. They’re taking matters into their own hands before the company makes the role of another crew member redundant altogether.

A company that goes back on its word to keep more than one crew member on board new trains… sounds familiar, doesn’t it? We wish them the best of luck and stand in solidarity with our international comrades.

Click here to read more from the Guardian.


Les Rudd Retirement/Christmas Gathering

21st December, 2019.

3pm onwards.

Mittagong RSL.

$10 donation for gift and nibbles.

Dinner at own expense.

Accomodation available at Mittagong RSL Motel.

Contact DM Moss Vale or Mick Bindley for details.

2019 Blacktown Christmas Drinks

Hi members, you’re all invited!

Friday 13th December 2019 at Adams Tavern, Richmond Rd, Blacktown (change of venue due to renovations at Marayong Brewhouse).

From 2:00pm – whenever (party on if you like).

Everybody’s welcome (bring your partners too).

Light snacks will be served (various types of finger foods).

Come and enjoy the camaraderie of your workmates!

Click here to learn more.

RTBU casual vacancy elections E2019/149 results

The results of the election for the RTBU offices are conducted in accordance with the provision of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. See below for a link to the results.

Please click this link to see the election results.

A message from our delegates

Please see below messages from Andrew Cox from Passenger and Luke Roberts from Freight.