RTBU EAs are in full swing with ground being broken. As members are aware, the RTBU notified Metro of work bans on the week of 12 August. Metro members in operational grades whipped into action. In light of mounting pressure, Metro threatened to dock members’ pay but this only further incited hard working members as Metro’s heavy hand likely overstepped the mark.
The RTBU has sought legal advice on the docking of pay for minor work bans. Should Metro seek to dock members’ pay in future instances of Protected Industrial Action, the RTBU will commence legal proceedings to challenge their attacks.
Eager to block members’ attempts to take action, Metro moved to have some of your actions blocked through a court injunction.
Metro claimed that leaving barriers open was not a form of industrial action as it was not part of ordinary duties and as a result would not be ‘protected’ under the legislation. Further, they claimed that misleading statements had been made about how you were going to take some forms of industrial action. The RTBU told the court that the union had never said that there would be “free travel days” and that the media had done what they do best in sensationalising anything they can get their hands on.
No wonder workers across Australia have continued to grow disillusioned by the industrial relations system! In a matter of hours, the Federal Court awarded Metro with an injunction against planned action of open barriers and issued a court order and the RTBU invested considerable time and effort to ensure compliance. This is 2019 Australia. The rules indeed need to be changed!
With all other forms of industrial action on the table for the week to come, the RTBU responded to Metro’s threats to dock members’ pay by notifying a 4-hour stoppage scheduled for Tuesday 27 August. Metro’s little win in the courts did little to curb members’ momentum.
The culmination of threatened industrial action, court battles, and Metro’s general confusion, the weekend saw Metro return to the bargaining table looking to put talks back on track, seeking to restore faith in their approach to bargaining.
Following lengthy discussions amongst Officials and key Delegates, the RTBU made the call to capitalise on the opportunity to advance claims and withdrew looming work bans to enter intensive negotiations. These negotiations have proven to be beneficial, and although we are yet to reach an agreement, these talks have proved generally positive, the RTBU continues to push forward and ensure claims are taken seriously.
I have heard from many Members just how keen you are to take protected action if a fair deal isn’t forthcoming. Members should know that the period in which Metro members can take protected industrial action presently expires on 28 August. Consequently, Marc Marotta and I have applied to the Fair Work Commission to have our right to take protected action extended by another 30 days.
Although we called off the original stoppage, please be under no illusion that one might not happen. The RTBU is prepared to play the long game.
The RTBU will refuse to sign off on a deal that could compromise the safety and working conditions of members.
Members deserve to be respected at work, and the RTBU will demand it.