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Secretary’s Message

March 22, 2020

Dear members,

Welcome to this special edition of Loco Express.

Firstly, all members can be proud that once again they are continuing to provide a service, whether that be moving passengers around metropolitan and regional NSW  and or moving  freight and commodities throughout  the state and across state borders during these challenging times. 

As you would be aware, the current situation in Australia in regards to the coronavirus is constantly changing, however the Loco Division is doing everything possible to ensure that employers are doing everything they can to keep members, and the public, as safe as possible. 

The articles below give an overview of the latest information. Of course, things are moving quickly so if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your local delegate or the Loco Division office on nswloco@rtbu-nsw.asn.au (02) 9264 3400. Members should also not hesitate to demand answers and direction from their employer should they have any concerns about performing their day to day job/duties.

Keeping the lines of communication open during times like this is critical. As you’ll see in the articles below, the Loco Division and the various RTBU offices at a national and state level are in regular contact with government health and transport officials, as well as employers.

Daily contact is being made with management at Pacific National and a meeting with PN Coal has been arranged for next Tuesday in Newcastle to discuss COVID-19 concerns raised by Coal members.

A number of other freight operators have now contacted the NSW Loco Division to commence regular meetings and employee communications regarding COVID-19.

A Sydney Trains meeting on Friday came about initially as a result of concerns raised by Mortdale members regarding the route knowledge training they were scheduled to do this weekend which  could have seen up to 5 people in the cab. On our way to the meeting Friday afternoon the Prime Minister announced additional social distancing requirements. As a result these measures were discussed very broadly which resulted in a ‘task force’ being formed to meet regularly from next Tuesday in an effort to keep on top of the ever changing nature of how to deal with the virus.

In regards to NSW Trains, we will be formally writing to them on Monday regarding COVID-19 in line with the Sydney Trains issues.

It is the view of the Locomotive Division that all members – irrespective of operator and whether they work in the private or public sector – are entitled to the same social distancing requirements that are being enforced on the general public and all other industries.

As this is an ever-changing situation we are all having to work through and resolve a constant and growing list of issues across the industry as we seek to protect members. Please ensure any safety concerns – COVID19 related or otherwise – are raised immediately with your local delegate and the Loco Division office directly so we can do what we can to help ensure your safety. 

It is unfortunate that a number of operators have not taken the initiative to implement the necessary changes as they are announced by the Government or to provide proper and detailed communications to member in an effort to provide clarity and allay concerns. Employers just can’t remove every second boardroom chair and think they have done enough! Rest assured we are doing everything we can to ensure every single employer is taking the appropriate steps we need to see. 

Members will continue be kept updated via the various forms of communication we currently use, but of course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. 

Stay safe on the tracks.

In Solidarity, 

Bob Hayden
RTBU Locomotive Division Secretary

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