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Loco Express: Secretary’s Report

Jan 17, 2020Update

January 17, 2020

Secretary’s Message

Dear members,

Welcome back to the first edition of Loco Express for 2020. I hope you had a safe and enjoyable holiday period and spent some quality time with your loved ones. The Division continued to operate throughout the Xmas / New Year period and was straight back into it in the New Year, with plenty of planning underway to ensure that 2020 is one of the strongest years yet. 

I want to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work of members during the ongoing difficult period where bushfires have raged in so much of the state. Members have been extraordinary in their efforts to continue working even if they’ve been directly affected, have had family and friends affected by the fires or have been volunteering in their own communities as many of you have. Our thoughts go to all those affected by the devastation and we hope you and your families stay safe.

It’s going to be a big year for the Loco Division with the NIF trains starting to arrive with initial commissioning already starting,  the ever increasing Metro footprint and the freight sector continuing to see attempts to increase the use of non-fulltime employment and decisions made which place unnecessary and unwarranted pressure and industry uncertainty on members.

The state government is hell-bent on introducing shiny new toys instead of investing in and expanding the heavy rail network. It’s about time they realised how overworked the rail network is and how much this affects members on the ground every day.

Disappointingly, we are seeing an increase in the use of punitive discipline outcomes especially where SPAD’s are concerned in both the passenger and freight network. Employers continue to take the lazy way out by attempting to terminate instead of providing the support that members deserve? Honest mistakes are a part of life and it appears that employers have no confidence in the mechanical controls already in place or their ability to support their employees.

Drivers are highly professional and skilled employees who take pride in their craft, as such, Members have started to talk about a campaign to “stop at the one” so as to not allow the system to put them in a position where a SPAD may happen. If Members can’t expect to be supported by employers or mechanical controls they may take steps to remove practical risks of SPAD’s altogether.

In exciting news for the Division, this year we welcomed our very first dedicated Locomotive Division Legal Officer, Sarah Scully-Leaf who commenced with the Division on the 13/1.  We’re confident that Sarah will provide the additional support in fighting for our members against unfair work practices and employers looking to make big bucks off the back of our members’ hard work. 

In employer news, QUBE have once again decided to take their Company EA out to members/employees for another vote after their first attempt last year was rejected by members/employees. The main concerns put forward by our negotiating team in a meeting earlier this week were that there are multiple depot locations in Sydney and members should be compensated for having to travel between them, that there is no inclusion of the sunset clause and that the pay increase is far below other operators. As QUBE has refused to resolve all these concerns, your Loco Division delegates are encouraging you all to vote NO when they send out their proposed agreement.

Some good news from just before the holidays came for Railtrain members who stood up for themselves and showed Railtrain they wouldn’t work in unfair conditions by voting 12 to nil against the company’s proposed HUNTER PORTS SERVICES EA which had not been agreed to by their union. Members really need to be congratulated for the unified vote on an EA which included pay rates of just $22 an hour. We’re waiting to hear from Railtrain on their next steps and will keep members updated.

More good news from Momentum as Senior Management has finally agreed to pay all of its employees for attending work related training. This is a huge step for employees and really shows what we can do when we work together.

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

Stay safe on the tracks.

In Solidarity, 

Bob Hayden
RTBU Locomotive Division Secretary