V/Line are at it again! This time it’s in Bendigo where management have taken it upon themselves to completely ignore the consultation procedure as outlined in the EA and fast track the implementation of conductors being offered overtime shifts to fill vacancies in the stations. Instead of going through a recruitment process and filling the vacant roles on a permanent basis, management have elected to use off duty conductors, as well as conductors who are “available” during their rostered shifts, to perform station officer duties.
Whilst a conductors’ PD does state customer service duties, this does not extend to what is currently being expected of them in Bendigo. Management in Bendigo have explicitly listed, in writing, the duties conductors are expected to perform on these overtime shifts and whilst “available” including mopping and cleaning of both customer and staff toilets, litter removal, emptying of bins and picking up of cigarette butts.
Aside from the lack of consultation, none of the conductors being asked to perform these duties has been trained in the correct handling and use of the chemicals involved in these duties. The risk of injury to members from these chemicals is one your Union is not willing to take, and I am currently speaking with HSR’s on the Northern Line about the issue.
Members have spoken very passionately about the long-term plan management has with this move at Bendigo and the fact it may be signalling the pre-cursor to a cross classification push by V/Line in the next EA. Your Union DOES NOT support cross classification. It is clear that this move at Bendigo is merely a thinly veiled attempt to disguise the lack of action on behalf of the company to address the ongoing staff shortages that are prevalent throughout the entire network.
Members should not be subjected to being V/Line’s guinea pigs in the company’s attempt to set precedence for cross classification across the different grades, nor should members be expected to complete duties they are not adequately trained in or that are not included in their PD. Remember, this management team spouting the “One V/Line Team” rhetoric, is the same management team that sacrificed a role in the booking office to free up funding for a third Authorised Officer at Bendigo as part of the new AO depot being established. A management team that, when already staffing levels are critically low, got rid of a role completely instead of petitioning the Department of Transport for additional funding for the Authorised Officers.
I have written to V/Line regarding this issue, and I shall keep you updated!
By Sally Van Bragt