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NSW Trains NIF and COVID-19

May 4, 2020NSW Trains

Members will be aware of the current situation with COVID-19 and the effects it is having our work environment, families, and social lives. What members may not be aware of is NSW Trains appalling approach to dealing with COVID-19 and its effect on members, highlighted in their refusal to cease any NIF efforts and forging ahead with their proposals regardless of the current crisis. It is our view the testing on the NIF is not required at all in the current environment. The train is not performing an “essential service” as it is not in revenue service and is not required to be for the foreseeable future. Yet NSW Trains continues to expose its workers to this unnecessary risk.

The Locomotive Division has contacted NSW Trains Senior Management to establish a regular meeting with RTBU Locomotive Division Officers and Delegates to deal with all COVID matters affecting drivers across NSW, and put in place a process for managing each issue as they arise. Unfortunately, NSW Trains have ignored our request and instead established a SEQR forum with a cast of thousands, where little is achieved and without genuine RTBU participation.

When it comes to the NIF, NSW Trains are inconsiderate of the current crisis and plough ahead with continual requests for meetings on the things that fit their NIF agenda. The Operator Instruction Manual review is still occurring, along with meetings to discuss their wage offer of 2019, and a review of proposed training material. Add to these proposals around sign on processes, electronic device utilisation and apps for the same, it never ends!

It is clearly apparent that NSW Trains have an agenda regarding NIF and nothing is going to stop them achieving their outcomes, COVID included. All this is occurring without any apparent regard for how the members actually feel about their proposals and what it means to their working lives.

Members will recall the RTBU initiated a NIF related survey undertaken at the end of 2019, which delivered the staggering result that 90% of staff do not want anything to do with the NIF or its operations, as members are convinced what is proposed is unsafe to members and the travelling public.

Whilst the storm clouds of discontent and dissatisfaction continue to gather, HMAS NIF continues to sail on apparently oblivious and ignorant of the gathering tempest.

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