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Secretary’s Message

February 7, 2020

Dear members,

The National Locomotive Division, Safety and Surveillance campaign continues and we encourage all members who have not yet checked it out and participated to click here as your view is important to help shape and build any campaign against in cab surveillance. Only with active member participation can the National Locomotive Division push back against employers and argue our case against the intrusion where they can watch and listen to you 24/7 whilst you are at work. Meanwhile they’re doing who knows what because they’re not surveilled!

Earlier this week, Pacific National issued several notices of consultation to Coal Crews in relation to its Northern Operations. In short, the notices relate to changing the HUB of Operations in the Hunter from Port Waratah to the Greta Train Facility which you can read more about here. The company has assured us there will be no redundancies and no forced transfers. Under the consultation provisions of the Bulk Enterprise Agreement, affected employees have the right to raise concerns and ask any questions they may have on the proposed changes. Consultation under the agreement is for a fourteen day period only, so it is important that members log any concerns as soon as possible.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is conducting an investigation into the tragic loss of WA Branch PN Driver Greg Reid as a result of the recent accident involving a PN DOO service and a grain train in WA. Our thoughts go out to Greg’s family, friends and work colleagues who are all suffering as a result of this tragic accident.  We are supporting a fundraiser for Greg’s family in this difficult time which you can donate to here.

QUBE is still continuing to send out proposed agreements to members without the endorsement of your Loco Division EA negotiating team. There are still major outstanding issues and as a result the Loco Division Negotiating Team have made the decision that they are not able to support the proposed agreement. We are encouraging all members to VOTE NO. If you have not yet received your proposed EA, you should contact QUBE immediately. If this EA is voted down, we will be filing an order that will allow members to take protected industrial action against the employer.

In the news recently, we have seen Transport for NSW shell out millions to hire spin doctors to sell taxpayers privatisation and shiny new driverless metros. The department’s approach has been to force commuters to accept new transport without consultation through PR spin, an underhanded way of communication from a government department created by the public for the public. The spin doctors certainly have plenty of work with the recent news that the South West Metro project is $4Billion over budget and at the same time the state government cannot find the funds to cover and/or replace with pipes the dirt channels that provide water to regional and remote towns! The Liberal/National Party continue to represent their Pitt Street Farmer constituents over their “claimed” rural, regional and remote farming constituents.

On top of this, a new report from Oxfam has found that the top 1% of Australians are earning more than double the amount of earnings from the lowest 50% combined. The rich are getting richer and not paying tax. The government is clearly pandering to this top 1% and letting employers get out of paying tax scot free.

In NIF news, NSW Trains and Transport for NSW continue to ignore the concerns of Drivers, Guards and any employee who may have a different view of their shiny new train as they commence initial testing, seek to circumvent existing WHS work groups, and continue to misrepresent that consultation has taken place, when it has not! The constant propaganda/spin being released is a true sign they just don’t care about your work environment, work load, stress, fatigue and safety. In fact, NSW Trains have shown that they are not committed once again having cancelled the first planned NIF HSR working group meeting in 3 months. We are now involved in an ever increasing number of ongoing disputes, safety PIN notices by supporting duly elected WHS representatives, work groups, delegates and members as NSW Trains and Transport for NSW seek to circumvent any group and or individual who doesn’t agree with them!!

A new inland rail link from Brisbane to Melbourne has also gotten heavy criticism for the decision to create new rail corridors across floodplains in Queensland. A Senate Inquiry has been established to look into the project with locals saying that the decision could not be possibly be a good idea. Seems like heavy rail investment is full of bad ideas when decisions are made without consultation.

Privatisation has also been in the news for how terribly it works. The UK has decided to put the rail system back in the public’s hands, finally realising that delays, cancellations and problematic management could be solved without private companies and their money making agendas. Adelaide’s public trains and trams have also found to be far more effective than Melbourne’s privatised trains and trams according to new transport data – a finding which doesn’t surprise any of us. Let’s hope the NSW Government has a pen handy to take notes, although expect it to have invisible ink!

I hope you’ll enjoy this edition of Loco Express.

Stay safe on the tracks.

In Solidarity, 

Bob Hayden
RTBU Locomotive Division Secretary