ETU members working for the federal government enterprise – Australian Rail Track Corporation – commenced industrial action last week after negotiations for a new agreement stalled following 18 months of back and forth.
The combined unions, made up of the ETU, RTBU, ASU and Professionals Australia, are seeking a three-year agreement with no loss of conditions, fair pay increases of 4% p.a. and improvement to some working conditions, but the company has other ideas.
Last December the company circulated an agreement that was not supported by the combined unions including pay increases of just 2%. This management agreement was overwhelmingly rejected by the workforce with more than 80% of workers voting NO.
With management refusing to budge ETU and other union members were left with no option but to take clear and decisive action.
“Our members have been staunch throughout this process and the ETU has lead the way in demanding a fair outcome for workers at ARTC.” Said ETU organiser Ben Lister.
“Industrial action taken by workers from the combined unions has resulted in the cancelation of rail services across the Hunter Valley, other parts of NSW and sections of Victoria – all because management is not prepared to listen to their workforce.”
“This whole situation could be solved by management today.”
“That’s why the combined unions have called on the CEO of ARTC to sit down with us and listen to the needs of the workforce.” Ben said
Following a week of action and major disruptions to passenger and freight services, including the lucrative coal haulage business, ARTC CEO John Fullerton has agreed to meet with unions in Newcastle tomorrow.
The ETU remains hopeful that this dispute can be resolved and we will continue to provide updates for members.