Unfortunately, in the Public Transport Industry, and especially in front-line roles, our members face serious safety risks on a daily basis.
As I’m sure many members are aware, the RTBU has long been campaigning for two-up on all Barriers across the network, and for Conductors on all V/Line Services. While the calls for two-up have continued to go unanswered, the RTBU searched for another way forward to help protect our front-line workers.
The RTBU is currently lobbying the Victorian State Government to introduce harsher penalties for assaulting a Public Transport worker.
Currently there are penalties that exist for assaulting emergency workers such as police officers, protective service officers, operational staff within the meaning of the Ambulance Services Act 1986, a fire-fighter, and other emergency workers listed in section 10AA(8) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic). The minimum penalty is a 6 month term of imprisonment for a person who intentionally or recklessly causes injury to an emergency worker on duty.
Following the introduction of this legislation, along with effective state funded publicity, many of these workers have reported improvements in their experience at work. Public Transport workers are no different and deserve this same respect that Emergency workers do.
The South Australian Government has introduced penalties for assaulting Public Transport workers which sees perpetrators facing up to 25 years imprisonment. The time is now for the Victorian State Government to leap into the 21st century and protect the workers who keep our transport system moving each day.
The RTBU urges the Victorian Government to firmly consider adopting such legislation to ensure safety, certainty and security to front line public transport workers.
It is time for our State Government to come to the table and do what is necessary to protect Public Transport workers. The time is now.
We will continue to update members on the campaign and with any progress in this space.
If you have been assaulted at work or are experiencing violence related issues (verbal and non-verbal) in your workplace, please contact the RTBU on 8630 9100 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to log an incident report.
Welcoming in 2018 and once again Metro are in the spot light with the proposed removal of Control Desks in the Clifton Hill group of stations. That means no Control Desk staff at any locations within that group. By getting rid of the Senior Station Officer roles, it removes the in-depth knowledge and understanding of the surrounding local area, for example passenger assistance, attending to emergencies on the platform, on the train and having staff there readily accessible if things go wrong.
On the job meetings have occurred over the last few weeks at the four Control Desk locations being Reservoir, Clifton Hill, Eltham and Heidelberg Stations. It was a great turn out from members at many of these meetings, with many members turning up in their own time. Members who are not Control Desk operators attended to support their colleagues in this attack on jobs, and to protect jobs within the station grade. There has been a great show of support from station staff across all groups in this fight that the Clifton Hill group are currently facing.
This proposed closure of the Control Desks is currently in Dispute, with Metro Management reluctant to pick up the phone to work this out. This is nothing new and it shows the lack of consideration that Metro have towards their staff and family members whom it will affect the most.
The RTBU and our members take this very seriously and will do whatever is in our power to support members and ensure that no jobs or conditions are lost. So, to all the members in the station grade, support your colleagues in the Clifton Hill group, make this your fight as well because in the long term, it will be affect all groups. To the wider membership of the RTBU outside the station grade, please make it your business to support your fellow comrades.
The Rail industry is not utilised as an industry business where it must please its shareholders, it is an essential necessity for the public and will always remain this way.
Members of the RTBU have a long memory of the varied attacks by V/Line, its Board, Management and Governments.
When under pressure or under attack, Rail workers know how to respond and stand together to fight to protect and advance working conditions.
In this campaign against V/Line’s attack on the V/Line Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement (EA) 2015 – 2019, members demonstrated a formidable amount of unity and strength.
This attack from management was direct. It was targeted and it was cunning. It was your collective unity that stood against management and sent a clear message.
The results of the voting showed an outstanding 92% of employees taking part in the vote. Of that 92%, an incredible 82% of employees who voted, voted NO against changes to the EA. This means that there will be no amendments made to the V/Line Rail Operations EA 2015 – 2019.
Never has a union united so well to defend hard won conditions!
The current conditions we enjoy today have been fought for over many generations to be enshrined in your EAs. It is from the strength of the people who came before us that we have those conditions in our EAs now, and it is our job to protect and defend those conditions for the people who come after us.
The last negotiations and threats of industrial action at V/Line saw the current agreement improve again also increasing V/Line members’ share in the current transport boom.
We are able to win these fights because your work is critical to the functioning of our public transport system. When we speak as one management must listen!
Thank you to the members who got involved in the VOTE NO campaign to push such a strong message.
Thank you to the Delegates, Members, Retired Members and supporters who went above and beyond, assisting with getting the message out there. To everyone who made phone calls, to all the people who attended mass meetings and to all the people who helped spread the word. It was an all-round joint effort and without the support of the entire membership, this win to protect your EA wouldn’t have been possible.
This attack will be etched into our memories as we continue to struggle for the respect and dignity we deserve as public transport workers.
In unity comes strength and this fight shows the great strength of the RTBU when all grades unite.
This is your union and this win is yours!
Over the last few weeks V/Line has been pushing for drastic changes via amendments to the V/Line Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2015–2019. We are deeply concerned about the proposal. Firstly because of the changes proposed to the EA, but also because of the approach taken by V/Line.
V/Line has proposed 7 variations that will remove approximately 3 pages worth of enforceable conditions, as well as changes to other clauses. Once these conditions are removed, V/Line can implement programs they feel benefit business operations. We believe the changes are very likely to result in de-skilling drivers’ classifications, but they will impact other employees too.
The approach taken by V/Line has been an extraordinarily hostile one. The first we heard about it was through a letter that the V/Line CEO Mr Pinder wrote to the RTBU over the Christmas/ New Year period. Mr Pinder advised us that they were seeking changes to the EA and notified us that the voting period will be in early February 2018. We received no information, other than the variations sought to specified clauses.
On meeting with V/Line, we were again given very little information. Instead we were literally asked to encourage members to vote in favour of the proposal and to take a “leap of faith” and to trust V/Line management.
The proposal is extraordinarily odd, especially given there was no prior consultation and also given there is less than a year before we are due to commence bargaining for a new agreement.
V/Line talks about increasing the skills set of employees. However, we suspect that the implications will be negative for all classifications. For example, shunters and conductors may be expected to take on intermittent driving duties during usual down time without extra pay. Ultimately, employees who are not able to drive trains may be viewed in the future as “not flexible” and therefore may be forced out of their job.
The reality is that we have no reason to trust V/Line. V/Line could have approached us openly and in good faith rather than seeking to ram through changes without any genuine consultation.
More broadly, this approach calls into question the strength of our bargaining system. A key aspect of our system is our ability to secure legally enforceable conditions in an Enterprise Agreement. We use our industrial strength and our ability to take protected industrial action to secure fair and enforceable conditions. V/Line is attempting to sidestep the threat of protected industrial action and good faith bargaining requirements to delete elements of the agreement that they don’t like.
This technique can be employed by any company who has bargained for an Enterprise Agreement and then decides that they don’t like the conditions they are legally bound by.
Unfortunately, V/Line only needs to secure a yes vote from half of those employees who participate in the vote. This means that if only 10 people participate in the vote, V/Line needs only 6 people to vote yes.
They can do this, it is frighteningly legal. But we can vote NO. So I urge V/Line employees to exercise your vote and I encourage you to vote NO.
These changes aim to divide us, to pit union members against each other according to our jobs. However, despite our differences we are one union and while we stand together we cannot be defeated!
Together we can and will win.