Today over 200 Combined Rail Union (CRU) delegates met to hear reports from union organisers and to determine a way forward for a new agreement covering all NSW rail passenger workers.
Between 12:00noon and 1:00pm Sydney Trains and NSW Trains CEOs and Les Wielinga outlined the Government’s policy and their approach to implementing a workplace with increased “flexible work practices” and the removal of what they termed “conditions more suitable to 1938”.
The rail entities also advised they were seeking 5 agreements to replace the current agreement including: Sydney Trains EA – all employees other than drivers, guards and IWs (Up to $131, 838); Sydney Trains (Train Crew) EA – Drivers & Guards; Sydney Trains (Infrastructure) EA (Up to $91, 575); NSW Trains EA and Transport Cleaning Services EA.
A series of questions were asked by the delegates regarding the vision and in particular on plans to “franchise/privatise” large sections of current rail activities. Delegates were not satisfied with the answers provided by management.
A briefing on a new CRU website where information relevant to the upcoming negotiations and campaign will be accessible to members and delegates was presented to the meetings.
Employer Correspondence Tabled at Meeting
Correspondence received from Sydney Trains and tabled at the meeting confirmed the employers will post “Notices of Employee Representational Rights” on noticeboards on Wednesday, 26 November 2013. The notice contains information about the right of an employee to appoint a bargaining representative for the upcoming negotiations. For union members the default bargaining representative is their union.
The correspondence received from the rail entities regarding the “Notices of Employee Representational Rights” states:
“We [the rail entities] understand that we have been in discussions with unions about the approach to bargaining, but have not yet commenced negotiations….[and]…The issue of Notices, in compliance with the Act, signifies the Employer’s willingness to commence bargaining but does not require that Unions or employee representatives be prepared to commence negotiations at that date. The issues, approach and schedule for negotiations may be subsequently developed and agreed”.
Campaigning from Here
The union delegates carried the following attached resolution. This resolution now must be endorsed at meetings of members across the network. The CRU is now organising meetings both in workplaces and accessible venues which will be conducted over the coming weeks and concluding prior to Christmas. Once the members have endorsed the way forward for wages, conditions and rights at work the CRU will seek a formal meeting with the rail entities and advise of the members own vision and claims.
This meeting of Combined Rail Union Delegates rejects the ‘privatisation by stealth’ agenda adopted by the NSW government.
Privatisation of NSW passenger rail services will shift costs onto passengers, profits to shareholders and risks onto NSW taxpayers.
Current mismanagement of rail passenger operations and the network it relies on has resulted in:
Less service for thousands of commuters;
Millions of dollars wasted on ‘marketing’, logos and branding efforts;
Thousands of workers made redundant and an irreplaceable store of corporate knowledge ‘lost’ to the rail entities-to the detriment of safety as well as efficiency and effectiveness;
The external recruitment and expansion of new layers of senior management who have no working knowledge or experience in making rail services run safely or effectively;
On train and Station security severely compromised to the detriment of safety for the public and the rail workforce; and
Hiring contractors to perform work at many times the cost of redundant employees.
The people of NSW deserve better.
NSW Rail passenger stakeholders deserve improved safety, better services and respect from government and senior rail management.
A: BARGAINING PRINCIPLES AND PROCESS
Structure and Terms of Replacement Agreement for 2010 RailCorp Enterprise Agreement:
(a) A single agreement covering all employees currently covered by the existing RC EA 2010 is the policy position of the Combined Rail Unions (CRU);
(b) To ensure this outcome, this meeting of CRU delegates authorises an Application to Fair Work Australia (FWA) for a Determination that employees of the Rail entities support a single enterprise Agreement to replace the existing RC EA 2010; and
(c) No negotiations covering arrangements for Sections/Grades/Entities/Occupations and the like will commence unless and until resolution of the matter of a single Agreement is finalised
B: LOG OF CLAIMS
The Conditions of employment and functional arrangements contained in the current Agreement are maintained, unless otherwise improved.
An increase of 4.5% applied to wages and allowances, per annum each year for the next four years.
Payment of Workers Compensation journey cover for all employees covered by successor Agreement or Agreements to RC EA 2010.
The incorporation of all relevant employee policies into the replacement Agreement.
Equal allowances as between Wages and Salaried station employees.
No outsourcing of work during the life of the Agreement.