Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

RAIL MEMBERS SET FOR ACTION AFTER TALKS FAIL

Peter Moss - Friday, December 15, 2017
‘VOTE YES, VOTE TODAY’

Frustrated rail workers are voting on protected industrial action after six months of fruitless negotiations.

Ballot papers hit letterboxes this week in a crucial poll that could open a new front in the battle for a fair deal at Sydney Trains.

At stake are future pay rises, job security and safety concerns around the uncontrolled spread of contractors.

ETU organiser Ben Lister urged ETU members to vote ‘yes’ to all action options on the ballot paper.

‘We need a very strong yes vote to make management sit up and take notice. We’ve talked and talked but Sydney Trains has not listened. This ballot is our members’ opportunity to put a rocket up them,’ said Ben.

‘I urge all ETU members to complete and return their voting papers without delay. Do it today.’

Management has refused to release productivity data that could underpin the union case for substantial wage rises.

‘What has Sydney Trains got to hide? We know ETU members are massively more productive. Our people are working harder than ever before and new technology has supercharged our efficiency,’ said Ben.

An ETU survey found that reasonable wage rises, job security and no loss of conditions are the key priorities for rail members.

Bargaining is under the auspices of the Combined Rail Unions which include the ETU, RTBU and five other unions.

High Voltage Overhead Wiring Hits Train After Contractor Failed to Tighten Bolts

Peter Moss - Wednesday, December 06, 2017
A section of high voltage overhead wiring fell on a train after contract workers employed by Novo Rail failed to tighten bolts.

The incident at Clarendon, near Richmond, forced Sydney Trains to issue an urgent safety action notice on 9 November.

The notice ordered overhead wiring staff and contractors to tighten bolts and perform quality assurance checks in future.

The safety failure is just the latest involving infrastructure work carried out on the Sydney rail network by the private sector Novo Rail Alliance.

In September, Novo Rail was busted using unqualified employees to perform dangerous high-voltage linework.

On that occasion six Novo Rail workers were ordered off the job at North Strathfield by a Sydney Trains Safety Inspector.

The ETU has received other reports of sloppy, potentially dangerous work by contractors including recently at Glenfield.

ETU President and rail delegate Glen Potter called on Sydney Trains to revise arrangements with Novo Rail with the aim of bring infrastructure work back in-house ‘at the first opportunity’.

‘We are thankful that to this point there has not been a serious injury or fatality,’ said Glen. ‘But these are not isolated incidents.

‘We see a clear pattern of risk involving contractors operating at night and self-checking their work. This latest breach confirms the need for urgent action from Sydney Trains.

‘The private sector’s drive to maximise profits is not compatible with the need to prioritise safety for rail workers and the travelling public.’

Novo Rail is a consortium of contractors working in partnership with NSW Government agency Transport for NSW.

The Novo consortium is made up of contracting giants Aurecon, Laing O’Rourke and RCR Infrastructure O’Donnell Griffin.