Recently I made the trip to Mildura and Swan Hill Stations to meet with and update our members of the progress on the V/Line Enterprise Agreement (EA). Members were happy to meet with me and discuss issues around the EA and it was great to visit our members in the further regional areas of Victoria.
In the coming months, Organisers will be out and about to update all members on the progress of the negotiations. From Mildura to Bairnsdale, Maryborough and Albury, we will attempt to visit all locations and speak to as many members as possible. Obviously with the nature of shift work, it will be impossible to catch every member, so if there are any V/Line members that have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me, one of the other Organisers, or the RTBU office on 8630 9100.
Members in the timetables and rostering area of Metro Trains have recently had an issue regarding backpay for unpaid overtime. These discussions have been ongoing for some time and we have made progress with getting some of the members their backpay. We are still in discussions with Metro to get the remaining members the backpay that they are entitled to, and we will not stop until everyone has been paid what they are owed.
Probe (PTV Call Centre) still have not come to the table to begin negotiations for their EA which expired in April this year. Members at Probe are getting increasingly frustrated at the company for not recognising their hard work.
The members at the PTV call centre are grossly underpaid for the work they do and are constantly on the receiving end of verbal abuse. The RTBU will continue to push Probe to come to the table and begin bargaining in order to get the members the pay and conditions they deserve.
Box Hill station staff have been trialling a seat at the barriers for over 2 years now and recently Metro trains supplied an “Aero seat” to also trial. The best way to describe the new “Aero seat” is a floating bar.
This seat does not take any weight off the members feet and is not suitable for what the members are after. Health and safety experts from the Victorian Trades Hall recently attended Box Hill station to assess the seating situation, and as a result we were able to gain clarity in pushing the issue to management. Members are asking Metro managers for a meeting to discuss the best way forward.
In the recent weeks I have also been travelling to various Metro stations to give members an update on the EA progress. Members have been welcoming and are relieved to hear that the negotiations are now progressing quite quickly. Following the latest offer, we have arranged further meetings to update members as we continue to gear up the campaign for a fair deal.
As always, if anyone has any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0403 863 869.
The Alstom Ballarat Rail Workshops has been an integral part of the regional Ballarat community for over 100 years now and employs around 70 local workers at the site.
For those of you that don’t know, the Alstom Ballarat workshops have been building and maintaining trains in Ballarat for over 100 years, having delivered more than 600 X’Trapolis rail cars in recent years. Unfortunately, lack of work and inaction from the Andrews’ Labor Government threatens the closure of the workshops.
The Andrews’ Labor Government has the power to change this by committing that the new order of X’Trapolis trains be built in Ballarat at the Alstom workshops, however the Government has remained cowardly in this indecision.
Part of Labor’s platform prior to the 2014 election was around job security, not just ad-hock work and it is disappointing that 5 years later, under a Labor Government, Alstom are close to shutting the gates.
The X’Trapolis 2.0 project will guarantee that Alstom Ballarat manufactures up to 40 new X’Trapolis trains with passenger capacity of 1200 passengers. This would see the future of the Alstom Ballarat workshop secured until at least 2023, giving the workers better job security and assurance.
Not only will X’Trapolis 2.0 give certainty to Alstom Ballarat, but it will also secure jobs at the Metro Trains Craigieburn maintenance facility beyond 2020. This is a huge investment in Rail in Victoria, and we need to ensure that these jobs are retained.
On Wednesday 28 August, a rally was held at the Ballarat workshops in support of the workers, and to put pressure on the Victorian Government to commit to these trains being built in Victoria at Ballarat workshops.
While the weather in Ballarat certainly didn’t show up for us that day, the local community did, and you could see just how important this is to the community in Ballarat.
At that meeting, workers, Delegates, Members, Union Officials and supporters, passed the below motion unanimously:
“That Premier Daniel Andrews seek an immediate meeting with the Combined Union Shop Committee at ALSTOM (AMWU, ETU and RTBU) Delegates to discuss the future of the North Workshop ALSTOM past May 2020.
That the Premier deliver on his promise made on several visits to the ALSTOM site in 2014 and 2018 – that the ALSTOM workshops would never close under his government.”
The motion has since been communicated with Premier Andrews and no response has been received. I have also written to the Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Public Transport twice, urging them to take action and protect these regional rail jobs.
We are yet to receive a response to either letter.
Keeping jobs in Victoria and retaining a skilled workforce must be a priority for the State Government. Trains built by Victorians, for Victorians, is the way that it should be.
Following several mass meetings held on Monday the 12 August, the RTBU is pleased to announce that members have endorsed an in-principle agreement for the Metro Infrastructure EA 2019. In a departure from tradition, the infrastructure agreement has been completed relatively on time and is scheduled to proceed to a formal vote over the coming weeks.
For this EA, the RTBU set out to continue our work creating secure employment in the rail industry, to close loopholes exploited by Metro over the life of current agreement and deliver a fair pay rise.
This has largely been accomplished by placing further restrictions as to when a member can be stood down, greater control over the implementation of new rosters, greater control over the use of supplementary labour, a solid commitment to insourcing over the life of the agreement, the establishment of a safe working committee, an additional 36 full-time jobs and a 14% pay rise with a 2% sign on bonus.
I thank the hard work of the Delegates and the bargaining team in delivering the proposed agreement.
Metro Rolling Stock
Rolling Stock negotiations have largely been bogged down in exactly how best to deal with what will ultimately be an upcoming period of vast change across rolling stock maintenance. With the company pushing for network wide roster changes, the impacts of HCMT, the Comeng retirement and the need to modernise skill sets to deal with modern fleets, this EA is one of the more complex negotiations in this major EA round.
The RTBU firmly holds the view that any solution to these issues designed and endorsed by the members is going to be vastly superior to any the company intends to jam down our throat, and this EA is the time to deal with it.
To date, there have been two bargaining meetings for the V/Line Infrastructure 2019 EA, so in the grand scheme of things, its very early days. V/Line’s main focus this agreement appears to be its claims relating to rostering flexibility.
V/Line’s explanation would indicate this claim is designed for the transition of work from days to nights on what we assume is the busier corridors of the regional network which has seen, and will continue to see increased services.
The RTBU has requested further information regarding this claim and expect to have more information after the next bargaining meeting on Friday 30 August.
Negotiations for the V/Line Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement have officially begun with the Log of Claims (LOC) for both the RTBU and V/Line being exchanged at the first meeting.
At a recent meeting of all V/Line Operations Delegates, further discussion occurred around the LOC and how bargaining will proceed from here onwards. There has now been two bargaining meetings and the next meeting will take place on Thursday 29 August 2019.