Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

Management told to come clean on reforms & bargain in good faith

Paul Lister - Thursday, December 05, 2013

Last week the Combined Rail Unions (CRU) received advice regarding an intention by Sydney Trains to start another round of reform and engage in other measures to reduce employment security for members.

The CRU sought urgent discussions regarding this matter and received a briefing at 12:00noon on Monday, 2 December 2013 at which these rumours were confirmed.

At 2:00pm the CRU met with the Rail Entities regarding the new enterprise agreement (EA). At the meeting the CRU told management that confirmation of these rumours affecting a number of areas meant the delegates who attended the Delegates Conference on 26 November 2013 had been misled.

At the CRU Delegates Conference Mr Howard Collins and Mr Rob Mason were invited to provide their views on ALL the matters they wished to canvas as issues during the negotiations for a replacement EA. As a result of the failure to provide this information, in particular failing to respond to at least 3 explicit questions on the topic of privatisation and further reform, the CRU advised management representatives yesterday that they required a signed letter from the Minister for Transport confirming all the issues and areas of reform had now been provided to the CRU.

At the first meeting with NSW / Sydney Trains representatives the CRU were advised there would need to be some recognition of the cost savings made by the current reform process as part of the final wage outcome for the replacement EA. This has not been put on the table to date as part of these negotiations.

As a result the CRU are currently unable to accurately report to members or to fully consider their position and finalise their log of claims until all the requested detail has been supplied by the Rail Entities.

The CRU representatives will not be placed in a position of providing only “half the information” to members when the information will form the basis on which the members will consider a log of claims.

The CRU is committed to bargaining in good faith to achieve a new agreement, however, both parties must demonstrate good faith if any real progress is to be made.

Union Workplace EBA Meetings.

The CRU will hold workplace meetings to report on the outcome of the Delegates Conference including matters raised by delegates for consideration of members.

A timetable of dates, times and locations of meetings will be circulated to members later in the week.

Rail delegates confirm way forward

Paul Lister - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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:

  1. Less service for thousands of commuters;
  2. Millions of dollars wasted on ‘marketing’, logos and branding efforts;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. On train and Station security  severely compromised to the detriment of safety for the public and the rail workforce; and
  6. 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.


  1. 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


  1. The Conditions of employment and functional arrangements contained in the current Agreement are maintained, unless otherwise improved.
  2. An increase of 4.5% applied to wages and allowances, per annum each year for the next four years.
  3. Payment of Workers Compensation journey cover for all employees covered by successor Agreement or Agreements to RC EA 2010.
  4. The incorporation of all relevant employee policies into the replacement Agreement.
  5. Equal allowances as between Wages and Salaried station employees.
  6. No outsourcing of work during the life of the Agreement.

Rail EA Update 18 November: Preliminary Discussions Continue

Paul Lister - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Further discussions were held today between Sydney and NSW Trains, RailCorp and the Combined Rail Unions.

The employers continued to discuss the changes they are seeking as a result of their interpretation of the NSW Government Policies and how they believe they should apply to the federal RailCorp Enterprise Agreement.

This is being done under the pretence of keeping the railways a viable Public Sector Entity and keeping people in jobs (a contrast to the Government's stated intention to cut Public Sector job numbers).

Each Sydney Trains director was invited to give a brief overview of the operating model for their areas:

  • Customer Service
  • Maintenance
  • Train Cleaning Services; and
  • Operations

NSW Trains then outlined their operations.

The employers are consistently pushing the need for extensive changes to existing conditions and methods of rostering, arrangements for penalties, hours and payments.

This is being done in the name of flexibility and for the benefit of the customer and improved customer service but nothing in the name of the employees!

An interesting comment was made in regards to 'assets' and the fact that one of these entities has no real assets.  This is a clear indication that thousands of staff are not considered to be assets by the employer.

Next Steps

There is a Combined Rail Unions' Delegates conference on Tuesday, 26 November 2013.  The aim is for the delegates to put together a draft “Log of Claims” that will then be taken out to Combined Rail Union members at workplace meetings for endorsement.

Rail EA Update 11 November: Battle lines being draw, discussions continue

Paul Lister - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The framework for upcoming negotiations and the number of agreements that workers could be covered under were the key focus of preliminary discussions regarding the Sydney and NSW Trains 2014 Enterprise Agreement held today.

The Rail Entities representatives at the meeting outlined in greater detail what they consider to be the coverage of the agreement/s; the implications of NSW Government policy on the 2014 agreements; the importance of aligning the new agreements with government and industry standards; as well as the upcoming schedule of meetings.

Of particular interest was the Rail Entities representatives’ indication that they are looking to introduce three to five new agreements that could potentially cover:

  • Sydney Trains;
  • Sydney Trains Train Crew;
  • Sydney Trains Infrastructure;
  • NSW Trains; and
  • Transport Cleaning Services.

The management representatives also indicated that they’re looking for “flexibility” in the new agreement that would free the parties of the perceived “constraints” of clauses of the current 2010 EA.

The Combined Rail Union representatives are currently looking over the very limited documentation provided by the company representatives in order to identify key areas that have the potential to impact workers and the travelling public.

Next Steps

A delegate’s conference will be held on Tuesday 26 November at which it is expected that Rail Entities representatives will further expand on their position and allow delegates to put questions to the management team.

Rail EA Bulletin

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 24, 2013

The CRU met with management from NSW Rail Entities earlier this week a report on this meeting is available for members to read.

Rail members can direct any equiries to their workplace delegate or ETU Organiser, Geoff Prime 0416 060 955 / geoffp@etunsw.asn.au

2014 Rail EBA Survey

Paul Lister - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 2014 Rail EBA negotiations are about to commence. All ETU rail members are asked to download and complete this survey and return it before the 7th of November 2013.

Once you have completed your survey please return it by either email or fax using the details at the bottom of the survey.

The Combined Rail Unions will be issuing bulletins once the negotiations start, this is expected to be early December. Please get on board and have your say via the survey, these negotiations are about your wages, conditions and job security.

Steve Butler will be addressing rail members at The Strathfield Quadrant, Columbia Lane @ 7.30am Thursday 24/10. All members are invited to attend providing any Operational requirements are met.

NSW Bushfires

Paul Lister - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Over the past week many parts of NSW have been engulfed by bushfires with the hardest hit areas being the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, parts of the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie and Newcastle around Heatherbrae and Raymond Terrace.

I know many of our members live and work in these areas and I am asking each and every one of us to keep an eye out for fellow ETU members that may have been affected by these fires.

If you know of any ETU members that have been impacted by the fires through loss of property or if you have been impacted yourself, I would like to know so please call the office on 02 9267 4844 and the union will consider what assistance may be available.

I would also like to extend a massive thank you to ETU members that have once again put the community first by responding to this emergency situation to make sure the electricity network, rail corridor and our communities remain safe.  We all know who the real heroes are – people like you, who work within the fire ground protecting the community.

Again, if you are aware of any ETU member that requires assistance following these destructive fires please get in touch. To the rest of you thanks for your hard work, selflessness and community spirit.

Yours in unity
Steve Butler

2014 Rail Enterprise Barganing

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 10, 2013

On Tuesday 8 October 2013 the Combined Rail Unions (CRU) met with the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian to commence discussions on 2014 enterprise bargaining process.  At the meeting the Minister outlined her vision and expectations of bargaining for the new rail entities.

The unions were advised by the Government they wished to organise a meeting with the CRU to outline their log of claims for the upcoming negotiations.  The CRU are now in the process of organising a time and date for this meeting to occur.

While the meeting focused on the process for negotiations the CRU was provided with the following information:

  1. The Government has a preference for 3 agreements to cover Sydney Trains, NSW Trains and RailCorp (the residual entity).  The responsibility for negotiating the industrial conditions for Transport Cleaning Services (TCS) and RailCorp (the residual entity) will be done by Sydney Trains.
  2. The Minister advised the CRU she was required to implement Government policy which includes an ongoing reform program.  No details of any further or ongoing reforms were provided at the meeting.
  3. The Government will provide a schedule of proposed meetings for enterprise bargaining which will occur over coming months.
  4. The CRU was advised that some of the key policies the Government intends to discuss include:

There was no further discussion of this at the meeting.

The CRU advised the Government it will be required to consistently consult and seek direction from the membership throughout the negotiations.  To ensure this occurs the CRU made a formal request to have delegates and members released during the negotiations to ensure members have direct input through various forums including workplace meetings, delegate meetings and paid member meetings.

RG EWP Safety Alert

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 03, 2013

ETU Members are advised to read the RG EWP safety alert listed below as issued by Ergon Energy (QLD) in relation to uncontrolled movement of an RG EWP.

Members should read this notice and take any necessary action to ensure workplace safety is maintained.

Redmond Gary MEWP HSE alert.

Public Warning - Infinity Brand Cable

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 03, 2013

On Friday 27 September the Fair Trading Commissioner issued a public warning against all Infinity branded TPS and orange round cable. A copy of the Public Warning press release and the Fair Trading Fact Sheet is attached for your information.

In August 2013, Fair Trading announced the voluntary recall by the company of three batches of Infinity brand TPS. Those were batches numbered INFH 190311, INFH 210912 and INFMEL 081112.

Fair Trading had continued to gather further samples of Infinity electrical cable and conducted further indicative testing of cable samples. The test results concluded there were deficiencies in the manufacturing of the cable and as a result, Fair Trading has concerns regarding the safety of all Infinity branded TPS and orange round cable.

Infinity was recently notified of Fair Trading*s growing concern about all of Infinity*s flat TPS and orange round electrical cable and had discussed the possibility of a wider recall.
However, on 27 September 2013, Fair Trading became aware that the company had initiated action to wind-up the company. In the absence of a formal recall Fair Trading is issuing this public warning to ensure that consumers and electricians are aware of the safety risks of the cables and no further cable is purchased or installed.

Fair Trading's advice to traders and consumers is that unused Infinity cables should be returned to the place of purchase by electricians, where they will be entitled to refunds on any unused cabling they have purchased. We are also advising that consumers should not try to inspect the cable in their homes. Any work on wiring or cable should only be done by licensed electricians.

Further information is available on the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the Infinity electrical cables can also contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.