NSW Trains and COVID 19
Members will be aware of the current situation with COVID 19 as they continue to perform their duties as essential service employees and the results of the same within their work environments. Members may also have seen the very limited information put out by NSW Trains. Unfortunately, a lot of this information has either not been detailed enough, not completely factual, outdated and, in some instance misleading. Drivers have raised multiple questions with their managers with many and varied responses that have failed to provide accurate information and several incidents have resulted in confrontation. It is for these reasons that members have sought out their delegates for answers and numerous calls have come through Loco seeking clarification on the many issues arising from COVID 19.
The Loco Division has repeatedly attempted to engage NSW Trains in genuine discussions around issues faced by members and despite numerous requests, the silence has been deafening. The Loco Division requested weekly phone hook-ups to discuss issues affecting drivers, management set up an HSR forum with a cast of thousands for which the Loco Division was allowed access but wasn’t allowed to speak. However, this attitude quickly changed, when correspondence was sent directly to the Deputy Secretary – Regional and Outer Metropolitan TfNSW, by-passing NSW Trains who had shown they were not prepared to engage and properly deal with members issues unlick Sydney Trains. As a result of this correspondence the Division and a number of additional delegates where hastily added to participated in what turned out to be a complete shamble of a 1 hour phone hook-up last Friday.
Eventually we were invited to participate in meeting this week with the Chief Operating Officer and some managerial representatives during which the Loco Division not only raised a number of concerns and ongoing issues impacting on members, but also verbally proposed a way forward by way of the establishment of a Taskforce to deal with all COVID 19 issues and involve as many of your delegates and HSR representatives.
This Taskforce would be made up of representatives with coverage of all NSW Trains depots, be released weekly initially to accumulate the required information, collate the same, meet with management and have the issues addressed. This would be a similar approach to that adopted in Sydney Trains very successfully. NSW Trains expressed an interest in the proposal but was concerned with “duplication” and requested the proposal in writing which has now been supplied.
It has never been the intention of the Locomotive Division to do anything other than represent the genuine and real issues affecting members who continue to perform their work with the utmost professionalism during this crisis especially when it was clear that NSW Trains were unable to do so.
It is hoped that now that the Chief Operating Officer has become involved and we have put forward a reasonable and proven way forward, NSW Trains adopts a more inclusive and proactive approach to dealing with all issues members are facing on a daily basis to what has previously been displayed.