It’s been a year since I have taken the great responsibility of looking after the rail industry. A great deal has happened in the past year, a new Enterprise Agreement, continual reforms, restructures and many local issues.
One of the great successes of the year was the apprentice swap program initiated by former rail organiser Geoff Prime. It took some time for the Australian Tax Office to approve the scheme, but it finally did and had great results. The scheme was for members that wanted to retire could and their positions filled with apprentices coming out of their time. This has resulted in jobs being kept open and members retiring with additional benefits.
The maintenance infrastructure reform program is now coming to an end with all new depots opened. Through member participation, we have seen rostering and team numbers increased to what Sydney Trains were hoping for. The Union believes staffing numbers are too low, the ETU reminds members to maintain a high vigilance on work, health and safety. Never compromise this to finish the job.
Most of you in the Infrastructure renewals would have attended the brief in November. Reform is around the corner with the company’s dream of three main depots. The ETU will be ensuring members get allocated a home depot as close to their residence as possible and maintaining current numbers. What we really want to see is more work being done in house and less being allocated to TPD.
The Liberal Government’s plan of outsourcing unfortunately hit Infrastructure Facility Maintenance. The decision made by management is short sighted and ill-informed. The ETU held the company to account and stalled this process as long as possible, not even a trip to the Fair Work Commission could halt the decision. The ETU encouraged the CEO to attend a meeting with members and hear their concerns and the decision to outsource is still proceeding
Fleet Maintenance has continually tried to introduce reforms, each time members have stayed united and staved off these attacks. Management have continually negated the important step of CONSULTATION, instead trying to ram through their desired changes. Unions took the company to FWC over the implementation of the FMD management restructure and the recruitment process, unfortunately the Unions were unsuccessful in the Commission.
The Train Technicians are currently undergoing a PD review, this is all because of the hard work and persistence of delegates. The McClukey report was handed down some 6 years ago and not all its recommendations have been implemented, diesel techs are next on the agenda.
FMD also continue to engage, labour hire, contractors and outsource work. Unions have had some success converting a few labour hire workers into fulltime employees. Many disputes are on foot for the excessive use of labour hire and contractors.
In the last few days I attended a workshop, you guessed it about reforms to be undertaken in the ICON. A consultant has been brought in to tell Sydney Trains what is needed. Members have shown at this workshop how little the consultants know about what work our members perform as well as how statistics can show anything and to ask experts, not assume you know anything.
Finally, I would like to remind members to switch over to direct debit payments. If you are on direct debit or pay your Union fees in advance, you are eligible to up to $7000 funeral cover, yet another benefit of being a financial Union member.
I would to thank all our members and delegates for a trying year for the ETU with EBA negotiations and continual reforms. I wish you all a very festive season.