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PN Update – COVID

Once again RTBU Members continue to keep the country running delivering essential goods and services across the Nation.

The Delta strain of the virus has caused mass chaos across all the States and Territories, and we are seeing the strictest testing and severe restrictions occur.

NSW is seeing Members living under three separate restriction zones, and up until last Friday last week, MFT Drivers were back in the “perpetual isolation” loop caused by Victoria’s fifth lockdown (but also because the States have different rules for Freight Workers that don’t match!).

We’ve also seen 11 LGA’s in Queensland go into a lockdown.

There has been no RTBU member who hasn’t been affected by these restrictions, both in work life and personal life, and yet trains keep running.

It has to be acknowledged the RTBU (on all levels) has been working alongside PN management to achieve the best outcomes for the Membership. This includes lobbying Governments, locking in better testing options, negotiating different rostering options, and ensuring that worksites have appropriate cleaning materials at hand.

Comrades, it’s also crucial to remember that none of this is “normal”. Being back in this predicament after working so hard last year is depressing and frustrating for everyone. So please, reach out to someone if you’re feeling low. Whatever you feel most comfortable with.

PN has the EAP or your local Manager, but your RTBU family is always there to listen. Talk to your mates, your Delegate (or maybe let them talk to you, as they have been working double time on your behalf!), and your Organiser. Your Mental Health is paramount, always.

If you are struggling , let someone know. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Category Medical Assessments Rail Safety Workers

In March this year PN changed health providers from Sonic to Jobfit. Recently, the RTBU NSW and National Office have been made aware that as part of Rail Safety medical examinations Jobfit have introduced additional functionality testing.

These additional tests have never been a part of the Cat medicals in the past and are understandably causing unnecessary stress and anxiety for the Membership.

A meeting was held this afternoon 0Nednesday 4th August) between PN HR and Safety and RTBU National Organiser Leanne Holmes and NSW Locomotive Division Organiser Greg Cameron.

During this meeting it was ascertained that Sonic was replaced by JobFit Systems and JobFit Health (completely different companies with the same name) after the contract expired, and that Sonic hadn’t been delivering the standard that PN required.

Initially PN was requiring employees to do their Cat medical with Job Fit Health and an additional function test with Jobfit Systems.

After the RTBU raised concerns, since the 14th of July, PN has ceased using Jobfit Systems and has gone to a single point provider in JobFit Health.

PN also advised that, JobFit Health use contract clinics, and also admitted that some information in its original flyer to employees was incorrect in relation to Jobfit personnel being the people who contact members to make appointments. Considering all this, there is no wonder that there is mass confusion around these medical tests.

The RTBU has made it very clear to PN that we will not accept this trajectory. Members are under enough stress without this mishmash of ad-hoc testing in a non-standardised approach. Full function and muscular skeletal tests have never been a requirement of cat one medical tests , nor should they be now! RTBU Members should not be subjected to testing that has zero relatability to their job.

PN has been instructed to:

  • Immediately communicate to its workforce about these changes;
  • Explain why these changes have occurred;
  • Acknowled ge the undue stress and anxiety these Function Tests are causing; and
  • Report back to the RTBU with urgency about what it is doing to address these concerns from the Membership.

PN also has been advised that  non-compliance with these directions will be met with a formal dispute.

Any member who is rostered for more than one Rail Safety Worker category medical examination  (that is not a result of a medical finding) should challenge the examination with their manager and speak with their local Delegate.


Download a copy of the update here.