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When good faith turns bad

Nov 25, 2012News

Unfortunately our colleagues in the Tram and Bus Division of the RTBU have recently had a taste of what happens when an employer turns its back on a negotiated EA.

The situation outlined in the below article has prompted the CountryLink Drivers, Electric Trains Drovers and InterCity Train Drivers committees to unanimously pass resolutions supporting the Tram and Bus Division Executive in their campaign against the STA’s attack on workers conditions.

See the letter from Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden outlining the division’s support for the Tram and Bus Divisions campaign against the STA’s “reforms” here.

In 2011 the RTBU Bus Division negotiated a new Enterprise Agreement with the State Transit Authority.
Both parties came to the table in good faith to find an arrangement that would shape the next three years at STA. Both parties negotiated hard, but in the end an agreement was put to members and they voted with a resounding yes.

But now STA wants to go back on that Agreement. It says efficiencies have to be made and it wants them to be made by drivers.

STA CEO Peter Rowley says reform must come or we face a “very real chance that our bus services could possibly be put out to tender in the future”. He says we need to “identify areas that are seen as inefficient compared to the private bus industry” and reform them.

With these as a rationale Mr Rowley wants to introduce what have become known as the Rowley Reforms; seeking to introduce more casual workers and part time broken shifts.

Mr Rowley wants to introduce these without the consent of drivers, arguing they do not constitute Award variations. The union strenuously opposes these changes and will fight any attempt to introduce them.

He has also outlined a number of other reforms he wishes to pursue which have been outlined to members in recent correspondence from the union, one of the worst being the abolition of accumulated days off (ADO).

The union has discussed this with delegates and just as members voted with a resounding yes to the current agreement, they have come back with a resounding no on these variations.

The Drivers will not be pressured into accepting lesser conditions particularly when STA can’t guarantee services won’t be privatised in the future. The union has made this clear to Mr Rowley and will continue to stand firm against this attempt to backflip on the Agreement that was made in good faith in 2011.