Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

Incident Update: High Voltage Oil Insulated Fuse Switch Units

Paul Lister - Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Further to the ETU Notice issued on 11 February below is an update on the fatal incident that occurred in Western Australia on 3 February involving High Voltage Oil Insulated Fuse Switch Units.

Please read and understand the resolution carried by the NSW ETU State Council relating to this matter and subsequent bans relating to work on this equipment.

Click here for the latest WA EnergySafety media release and link to WA EnergySafety's preliminary findings and Work Orders.

All NSW ETU members should read the above information and be aware of the dangers this equipment may present. It is also important for all NSW ETU members to read and understand the resolution adopted by your state council as outlined below restricting work on oil insulated fuse switch units across NSW and the ACT.

Resolution on the Galleria Shopping centre incident on 3 February 2015 (Morley, WA) that resulted in two fatalities and seriously injured two others.

1. The ETU calls upon all employers and electrical safety regulators to conduct immediate safety audits in all workplaces where high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units are in operation; and

2. The NSW Branch of the ETU implements a live work ban on Long and Crawford / GEC / ALSTOM high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units (eg GF3, T4GF3 etc).

3. The NSW Branch of the ETU implement bans on any operating work (such as checking and/or changing of high voltage fuses in fuse switches of this type of equipment) without the high voltage feeder being de-energised into the fuse switch.

Further information is available below:

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates for members.

Rail Update

Paul Lister - Friday, December 19, 2014

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.

Working in Heat

Paul Lister - Friday, November 21, 2014

Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.

All members should be aware of the dangers of heat stress and be familiar with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy or the Workcover code of practice for managing the work environment.

In summary ETU members should observe the following as a minimum but individuals should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation: 


Continuous work with normal breaks.


Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.


Mandatory - stop work - do individual (Personal) risk assessment and determine if work is to continue, that work undertaken to be limited to fault and emergency or finalisation of current work (No New Work).


Click on the links provided for a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat (2003) policyWorkcover NSW’s website with details about working in heat and the Bureau of Meteorology for current weather forecasts (click on the map for your local forecast).

Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

Big turnout for Rail EBA's vote

Paul Lister - Friday, September 26, 2014

On Friday, 19 September 2014 the count was complete and members in Sydney Trains and NSW Trains voted to accept the most recent deal tabled by management after extensive negotiations, including 48 meetings over almost 12 months, with the Combined Rail Unions (CRU).

Details of the vote are as follows:

In August members from every workplace across the network attended meetings to hear the offer outlined by management and to ask questions of the Combined Rail Unions.

The CRU did not advocate a ‘Yes’ vote because it believed it was up to the members themselves to be the judge of the value of the deal to them and their families.

Members and delegates have a right to be proud of the strength and determination demonstrated over nearly a year of intense negotiations especially in the face of the bosses initial Log of Claims which would have stripped away all workplace rights and entitlements down to the Modern Award bare minimum.  Members remained resolute and united in order to achieve the result they have endorsed.


In accordance with the decision of the CRU delegate’s conference resolution passed on 12 August 2014 an application to certify both Agreements will be made immediately.  Members will be updated on progress of registering the Agreements and execution of the deed.

EA Ballot Voting Integrity

Paul Lister - Monday, September 08, 2014


A number of questions have been forwarded to unions regarding the use of a bar code on the return envelope for the ballot.  The returning officer has advised in writing that the “The bar code or serial numbers – single and only purpose, is to find the voter on the roll and ensure a returned envelop has been received”.

A copy of the letter from the Returning Officer is attached for your information.

Please note this method of ensuring there is no voter fraud (people attempting to vote more than once) is standard operating procedure for all ballots including ballots for union elections, protected action ballots and postal ballots to elect parliamentary representatives.

It is no different from being required to have your name marked off the roll at a polling booth.

The returned envelopes are randomly collected into lots of 50 and placed in a secure ballot box until the close of the ballot.  On the day of the count the envelopes are opened by a machine and the envelop is placed face down and the ballot paper is removed and separated.  The envelopes and ballot papers are not kept together.  The count takes place in a separate area with approved observers.  The CRU has been asked to provide scrutineers to oversee the final count.

It is important that unfounded rumours do not deflect from everyone’s responsibility to vote their preference in this very important ballot.


It is vitally important that every member’s view be heard and counted.  Whether you want to vote your Agreement “up” or “down”, it is critical your vote and your views are recorded.  Leaving your decision for someone else to make is not an option, because only you can clearly express your views.

Failing to vote sends a message that you don’t care and this is not a message we should be sending to either management or the Government.

It is expected that the result of the ballot will be known within three days of the close of the ballot on Wednesday, 17 September 2014.

If you do not receive a ballot paper, you must contact one of the following addresses:

Sydney Trains: sydneytrainsea2014@transportnsw.gov.au

NSW Trains: nswtrainsea2014@transportnsw.gov.au

Time to VOTE on the new EA's

Paul Lister - Monday, September 08, 2014

The final step in the EA process is the ballot to determine whether application for certification of the Sydney Trains or NSW Agreement will be made along with execution of the deed. Ballot papers have been forwarded to member’s home addresses this week. Members have two weeks to complete the ballot paper and forward it in accordance with the written instructions.


It is vitally important that every member’s view be heard and counted. Whether you want to vote your Agreement “up” or “down”, it is critical your vote and your views are recorded. Leaving your decision for someone else to make is not an option, because only you can clearly express your views.

Failing to vote sends a message that you don’t care and this is not a message we should be sending to either management or the Government.

It is expected that the result of the ballot will be known within three days of the close of the ballot on Wednesday, 17 September 2014.

If you do not receive a ballot paper, you must contact one of the following addresses:

Sydney Trains: sydneytrainsea2014@transportnsw.gov.au
NSW Trains: nswtrainsea2014@transportnsw.gov.au



Election Consulting Group has been engaged to conduct the EA ballots for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. The Election Consulting Group provides business process services for the successful planning and conduct of Election, Ballots and surveys, to Companies, Government, not for profit organisations, Universities, Associations, Credit Unions and Superannuation organisations.

For more information about the Election Consulting Group go to: http://www.electionconsulting.com.au/


The CRU will have scrutineers present at the counting of the ballot on Friday, 19 and Monday, 22 September 2014.

CRU Update 22 August - updated meeting schedule

Paul Lister - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Members are advised of changes to the CRU meeting schedule.


Any questions may be directed to you ETU workplace delegate or ETU Organiser Daniel Weizman.

Rail entities to take Sydney Trains and NSW Trains agreements out to members

Paul Lister - Monday, August 18, 2014

On Tuesday, 12 August 2014 the Combined Rail Unions delegates met to hear a report back regarding bargaining for Sydney Trains and NSW Trains enterprise agreements.

Delegates were advised the rail entities had provided their final offer and are going to commence staff briefings commencing Monday, 18 August 2014

Click here to read the full details of the offer and schedule for briefings.

CRU Update - 21 July

Paul Lister - Tuesday, July 22, 2014



There has been an unprecedented level of interest in this enterprise agreement (EA) as shown by the high levels of attendance by active union members across more than 60 Combined Rail Union (CRU) workplace meetings over recent weeks.  The resolution passed at the delegate’s conference on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 was overwhelmingly endorsed by unanimous votes of members at nearly every workplace meeting.

The strength and unity shown by the members has ensured the CRU has been in a strong negotiating position when meeting with the rail entities.  The CRU would like to take this opportunity to thank every member who attended one of the many workplace meetings.


The CRU have continued to meet with the rail entities in accordance with the resolution passed at the delegates conference on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 and subsequent member meetings.

In accordance with the resolution the CRU has sought to agitate the matters identified by delegates and to improve the offer initially provided by the rail entities by addressing the concerns of members’ over the following key issues:

  • the current wages offer;
  • the offer of only six months redeployment which is not sufficient to compensate for the loss of job security;
  • the proposed term of two years for the agreements;
  • limitations placed on the dispute settlement procedure by the rail entities which do not apply to any other NSW public sector employee; and
  • the proposal to have key conditions of employment placed in an instrument which sits outside the Enterprise Agreement.

There has been some movement on these issues and the CRU may be in a position to take a revised offer from the rail entities to members towards the end of this month.


  1. CRU continues negotiations with a union caucus on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 and a further meeting with the rail entities on Thursday, 24 July 2014.
  2. Potential delegates conference towards end of July 2014 with workplace meetings in August 2014.

CRU - Delegates Conference Outcome

Paul Lister - Friday, June 27, 2014

On Tuesday, 24 June 2014 the Combined Rail Unions (CRU) held a well attended delegate’s conference to hear updates on progress of negotiations.


The Rail Entities addressed the meeting and outlined their position [see below] in regards to negotiations.  In particular the CEO of Sydney Trains stated Clause 47 Voluntary Redundancy/Management of Excess Employees had to be removed from any future Agreements.  Further, he stated this was not just his position but that of the Minister for Transport and the NSW Government.

Delegates posed a number of questions to the CEO’s of Sydney and NSW Trains relating to both the offer put to the meeting by the rail entities and the NSW Government and the lack of respect shown over the last 18 months to long serving, knowledgeable and committed employees.


There was extensive discussion by delegates in regard to how to progress these matters and it was agreed it was time for members to have their say on the matters negotiated to date.  As a result the following resolution was carried as a recommendation to be put to meetings of members.  This resolution does not replace previous resolutions carried by members earlier this year that endorsed and ratified the CRU’s log of claims.


This meeting of members cannot accept the Rail Entities’ offer in its current form.  In particular this meeting is concerned about the following aspects of the Offer:

  • The wages offer is a mere 0.1% above the rate of inflation.
  • The offer of only six months redeployment is not sufficient to compensate for the loss of job security.
  • This proposed term of two years does not provide sufficient certainty of conditions.
  • The proposed dispute settlement procedure has limitations which do not apply to any other NSW public sector employee.
  • The proposal to have key conditions of employment placed in an instrument which sits outside the Enterprise Agreement

This meeting of delegates calls on the Rail Entities to improve its offer by addressing our concerns, directs CRU representatives to agitate these matters to improve the offer, and will convene workplace meetings of members to brief members on the Offer contained in the Draft Agreement and to report back to a further meeting of delegates and /or meetings of members after 11 July 2012


  1. There will be workplace meetings commencing on Monday, 30 June – Friday, 11 July 2014.
  2. A separate bulletin with times and locations of meetings will be circulated once venues are confirmed.

It is vital that members circulate the material supporting the Pledge campaign to prevent privatisation, and commit to a safe, clean, accessible transport system, respectful to both commuters and workers.  Remember to take the pledge simply log onto www.ourtransport.org.au and sign up!