NSW Trains Principle Driver Dispute
The RTBU Loco Division has been agitating for numerous years for NSW Trains to re-institute the Principle Driver role within Regional depots which has been allowed to wither to the point where there was only one Principle Driver left out of 7 Regional depots. InterCity depots were also short of Principles in several depots and discussions commenced in late 2018 to fill all vacant Principle positions as well as recruit additional Driver Trainers for InterCity. Position descriptions (PD’s) were developed and supplied to the RTBULD for review where it was found that all the new PD’s were vastly different from those previously agreed.
The RTBULD reviewed the first drafts and supplied feedback on the errors/omissions which led to a further draft being supplied. To cut a long story short, after 5 attempts at drafting these PD’s which went well into 2019, final versions were agreed which were then attached to an Expression of Interest for a recruitment program to commence. Unfortunately, this is where the problems began. Unbeknown to the RTBULD, NSW Trains had failed to follow all the RTBULD’s feedback and sent out the InterCity Principle Driver PD without adding the essential requirement for 3 years depot based experience. This led to confusion with the recruitment process as drivers were applying for the position who did not have that required experience.
In some areas the applications were refused on the grounds they didn’t have the essential requirement for 3 years depot based experience however, in other areas drivers were allowed to apply and progressed to the interview stage with that requirement. Once the RTBULD became aware of the issue the omission was discovered and attempts to rectify the matter were undertaken. NSW Trains advised that the omission arose from the Human Resources department who had compiled the PD’s and EOI’s however, this was cold comfort as the recruitment process was well underway. The end result is that many drivers were disadvantaged by not being allowed to apply whereas others were allowed to apply without the required depot based experience and some have even been appointed. The RTBULD, despite numerous attempts to rectify the situation has now been forced to place the matter into dispute in an effort to achieve equal opportunity for its membership.
In the Regional space, similar issues arose where drivers were allowed to apply, tested and interviewed without the possessing the necessary years of experience as a Regional driver. Fortunately, with RTBULD intervention, these issues were rectified. In summary, despite over six months of to and fro about establishing positions that both sides wanted re-instituted, NSW Trains and its recruitment process have managed to make a mess of what should have been a simple process.