Giant multinational players in public transport operations, freight logistics conglomerates, and global rail tech firms all continue to drive the wedge and demand more for less, pursuing their aggressive antiworker agendas. But the RTBU remains steadfast in the fight for dignity
The technological changes around the network result in machines and computers taking over human jobs. Our industry is not alone in this fight against technology. Consequently, there is a big question mark on ‘Job Security’.
The prospect of driverless trains is barely the tip of the iceberg. New signalling systems and technology, ticketing changes and the use of smart devices all impact our work in some way and will continue to rustle feathers moving forward.
So how do we tackle it? We must remain one step ahead, strategically plan and manage the terms for the future of our industry. To do this we need to stand shoulder to shoulder, share information and work as one.
This is the value of our National all grades union, giving the perspective and sharing the intel of how we best fight back.
We and other RTBU state branches and other rail unions unite globally through our work with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). This is the power of our National all-grades union, sharing knowledge, strategy and backing each other on how we fight back.
Working at the ground level, asking the critical questions and influencing decisions before projects start and contracts get signed. That’s why we’re already engaging with the Government, Operators and Department of Transport on key issues such as new ticketing contract, MR5 franchise contracts, Metro Tunnel and the Commonwealth Games.
Customer service has become a cornerstone of our network – improving information, addressing disruptions, accessibility issues and supporting passengers. While new ticketing might see changes to the work we do, we will be on the front foot determining how that work will be done. RTBU members will always be key to its success or failures.
The Metro Tunnel is on track to open in 2024 and Next Gen Trams (NGT) are around the corner. Platform screen doors, new high tech signalling and systems (such as CBTC), HCMT, operating procedures and staffing requirements have been live matters of debate over recent months.
RTBU representatives have been pushing for proper consultation, certainty around jobs, and standards to ensure members are internally prioritised in the recruitment process for new jobs and opportunities created through new projects.
The 2026 Commonwealth Games will bring further opportunities not to be missed. The Games will be run through regional hubs in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, and there are significant upgrades and staffing improvements we are advocating for to meet the standards of an international event.
These Games are our opportunity to secure proper funding for our regional network. We all know V/Line has been chronically underfunded for decades. Plagued with corrupt and poor management, I have highlighted to the government items requiring attention ahead of the games.
The tram network is not without need of attention. With a new fleet and depot, there are many items to be worked through along with other accessibility and safety upgrades.
To press our campaigns further, I have reached out to community groups including the disability advocacy community to make the collective voice louder in demanding proper staffing, training and upgrades. Watch this space.
Our enterprise agreements will be a vital tool to underpin these necessary changes and protections. With solid provisions that have served us to date, the next round of bargaining kicks off next year where key clauses will need to be delivered as we pivot to the future.
Members know in their bones that our demand is simple – our jobs are not for sale! We will always fight for members as the heart and soul of our network.
My commitment through these challenges is that we will not be silenced. We are gearing up for the next fight to cement the importance of putting workers at the core of all decisions for the network of the future.
Transport bosses will respect RTBU members, OR THEY WILL FEAR US.