Over the last few months, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) have ramped up their rhetoric on fatigue and the need to change rosters. They have held information sessions with members, consultation meetings (the RTBU was unavailable that day) and even tried to set up committees in order to quell this so-called imminent risk to health and safety. These are the same rosters that MTM wanted so desperately back in 2012 that may or may not have accidentally been under costed. Is it because MTM are trying to save money?
Before I get accused of being a conspiracy theorist claiming the moon landings aren’t real, the RTBU are turning a blind eye to safety, here is a list of Frequently asked questions from members:
Rolling stock has a roster change process in schedule D, why don’t MTM just use that?
Good question, Schedule D exists specifically for the purpose of altering rosters, it even specifies that fatigue must be factored in to any roster outcome. My best guess is that MTM know too well that the changes they intend to propose won’t be voted up by union members through that process due to a reduction in pay.
Doesn’t the RTBU care about fatigue?
Of course the RTBU cares about fatigue! The health and safety of our members is paramount. The reality is however, that MTM have the tools available to them right now to manage fatigue better if they feel there is an “imminent risk”.
Surely if MTM believed that there were sections of the roster that proposed a significant risk they would simply send people home with pay for the hours affected. Why don’t they? Well either these sections of the roster don’t exist, or they don’t want to be financially worse off. Either way as stated earlier schedule D specifically takes fatigue into consideration during any such change, so why don’t MTM put a proposal on the table?
Why are they doing it during Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations?
There are lots of reasons why the company may do it now, potentially there is a fatigue issue, or maybe going through a “fatigue emergency” during an EBA provides the mother of all distractions. Members should be focusing on skills and job security this EBA not a divisive battle over rostering.
If this is a genuine fatigue issue, why is modifying schedule D on Metro’s log of claims?
MTM have identified that they wish to change schedule D to create a more “flexible” process to cater for, among other things, fatigue management. This would enable MTM to make changes with less red tape (red tape being defined as seeking agreement from the members). So to translate, MTM want to change your rosters as easily as possible, with as little input from you as possible.
We recommend RTBU members do not partake or volunteer for any established fatigue committees set up to undermine the existing process.
The reality is, we may, or we may not have a genuine fatigue issue to deal with. The RTBU’s message is simple, if MTM want to change rosters, there is an AGREED process. Cut to the chase, consult, put your cards on the table, propose your changes and members will decide.
If members have any further questions about this, please feel free to give me a call on 0457 006 739.