The Herald Sun and the Age have both now written scare campaign articles about the proposed Industrial Action being initiated by the Victorian Branch of the Rail Tram and Bus Union with regards to the negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne. Their articles may have focused on an extremely simple scary one-word explanation: “Strike”, but we will endevour to give you a more in depth look at their proposed Industrial Action.
The Negotiations, the EBA and a failure of ‘Good Faith Bargaining’.
Metro Trains Melbourne(MTM) and it’s employees (represented mostly by the Rail Tram and Bus Union) operate under an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). The Last EBA expired on the 30th of June 2015.
Section 3 of the expired EBA states “The Parties will review the Agreement six (6) months prior to its nominal expiry date.”. This means that the EBA should have been reviewed by the RTBU and MTM beginning on the 30th of December 2014.
Marc Marotta, Secretary of the Locomotive Division of the RTBU reminded MTM in a letter dated 22nd December 2014.
A Fair Work Commission Agreement dated March 10th 2015 shows that MTM were forced into negotiations by the RTBU to begin no later than the end of April 2015. MTM Agreed to this recommendation.
MTM EBA negotiations were then scheduled to begin on the 5th of May. (A bit later than the end of April).
With a lack of factual information provided by MTM, their employees seem to be writing their own reports on the issue.
Negotiations continued weekly, with the RTBU putting forward their ‘log of claims’ and MTM putting forward their ‘Log of Claims’. This is a usual practice in EBA negotiations, with each party putting forward a ‘wish list’ of things they want and then negotiating with each other with regards to these claims.
It has been revealed that MTM’s ‘Log of Claims’ consists mainly of deleting large sections of the existing EBA and offering no or minimal pay rise in return. The RTBU of course is refusing to budge on these hard fought rights (many of which have a deep history in Railway Safety, both to the passengers and employees).
In fact, MTM negotiators have been quoted as saying “[We have] No intention of reaching a resolution”, “We [Metro] are only here to satisfy the requirements of good faith bargaining under the [Fair Work] Act”, “We [Metro] don’t want to be here.” and “We [Metro] have no drive to reach an agreement.”
It is this unwillingness to actually negotiate in good faith that has forced the RTBU to petition for Protected Industrial Action.
So What is the Proposed Industrial Action?
The RTBU went to Fair Work Australia
Voting opens on the 23rd of July 2015 and Closes on the 7th of August 2015. Once the votes have been counted and providing 50% of the Votes say “Yes”, Industrial Action will be able to begin.
There are 37 Different types of Industrial Action proposed. Some of these actions may be well received by the traveling public, others may not be.
The First three actions will force MTM to run trains as per timetable. No more short-stopping or station skipping.
- Refusal to comply with the direction to not stop a train at a particular station contrary to the normal published timetable.
- Refusal to comply with the direction to terminate a late running train service and send it back in the other direction.
- Refusal to comply with the direction to terminate a train service and make it form an alternative service.
Other actions will essentially allow a free public transport service.
- Ticket Barriers at train stations to be kept open (Open Barrier Days)
- Selling of and Uploading of Myki money and Inspecting passenger Myki banned (Free Travel Days)
- Refusal to Issue “Reports of Non Compliance” Notices.
- Refusal to Issue “On the Spot Penalty Fares”
- Refusal of Authorised Officers to use the “Next Generation Hand Held Device” to check passenger Myki.
Some Actions will actually make traveling on Public Transport a bit more peaceful
- Refusal to make “Good Service Announcements”
Some Actions will make it a bit safer to travel on Public Transport
- Refusal to run trains where the headlights are not operational
- Refusal to run trains where Graffiti has remained for more than 24 hours.
- Refusal to run trains where the PA system is not fully operational.
- Refusal to depart a train from a station without first ensuring the driver can safely see the entire length of the train
- Refusal to run trains where the Passenger Emergency Intercom is not operational.
- Refusal to enter a section of track in circumstances where a trespasser or other personnel has entered the track and the section of the track has not been declared as clear.
Some Actions won’t make a difference to traveling on Public Transport.
- Refusal to wear uniforms
- Communicating with any persons about the pursuit of an EBA
- Refusal to use IPhones or iPads as part of their duties.
- Refusal to charge electronic devices at home
- Refusal to report late running trains
- Refusal of Station Masters to report cash in safe.
- Refusal of CCTV employees performing identification verification of passenger details
- Refusal of CCTV employees to participate in Joint Surveillance tasks with Victoria Police.
- Refusal of Employees to report and investigate graffiti vandalism.
- Refusal to provide shift numbers in communication
- Refusal to use the ‘RosterOn’ System
Finally, some actions may actually cause some ‘chaos’
- Refusal to report Myki Faults
- Ban on the working of overtime
- Work Stoppages for 4 hours
- Work Stoppages for 24 hours
- Work Stoppages for 48 hours
- Work Stoppages for 1 hour.
- Ban on adjusting a train driver’s scheduled daily shifts.
- Ban on attending defective trains to escort the train back to it’s location. (No damage protection runs
So what does all this mean for me as a user of Public Transport in Victoria?
Take advantage of ‘Free Travel Days’ and keep an eye out for possible work stoppages (which will probably be well reported on by the Herald Scum).
Aside from these two issues, everything will probably be operating as per usual. Just be aware that to the Employees of Metro Trains Melbourne: “The Safety of the Public shall be the first and most important duty of every officer and employee.”
Please don’t take out your anger on the employees of Metro Trains Melbourne, they cop enough of that from their Managers.