Region 7 Update: 1 September 2021
The RTBU have been in discussions with Busways but they haven’t progressed far. The company is unwilling to put aside it’s Greenfield Agreement and remains committed to creating a two-tiered workforce. How that is likely to affect everyone needs some explaining.
Current STA employees will be on the right side of that divide compared to new employees. New employees after privatisation, will be working under worse conditions and for less money. The problem for STA employees is that the new employees will be cheaper to pay for the company and will be given more of the high paying work. This is exactly what happened in Region 6 with the two roster system.
Your conditions in the State Award, even if we don’t negotiate an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to replace the Award, are protected for 5 years after privatisation. It doesn’t matter how long the original Award is for. Once it goes into the private sector and the Federal system, it becomes a Copied State Award and stays exactly as it is for 5 years, unless something else is negotiated.
The real issue is avoiding a two-tiered workforce. The company will use it to work new employees like animals and take the work away from existing STA employees. Knocking off the Greenfield in court remains the best way of sorting this out, and we’re waiting on a judgement for that.
The next issue, if we’re successful in court is what happens to the new employees, what conditions do they work under? If we were dealing with a company that cared for it’s employees they’d employ them under the terms of the STA Award and start negotiations. Sadly, this is not something we can expect but there’s a plan to deal with that.
The RTBU strategy to undo this catastrophe created by TfNSW and the Government has not come into play yet. It rests on things a little further down the track and members will be told what we need to do when the time comes.
In the meantime, members are able to return their Letters of Offer whenever they choose. The letters have no impact on how we’re going to fight. You can also ignore the 10-day deadline, that’s rubbish. Technically you can return it the day before privatisation and you won’t lose your job or your roster position or suffer anything at all.
Now that the RTBU and TWU have signed the Deed of Agreement, there will only be the RTBU in Region 7. That makes our fight easier, but members must be strong. If you know people who are not RTBU members, please encourage them to join. This is the fight that will determine the future of our jobs and if we’re not all united, it’s going to be that much harder.
We don’t want to be in a position where our conditions, hard fought and won over many decades, fade away. We cannot let this company deny future bus drivers our victories. In the private sector they have no idea what standing time is. They get 4 weeks Annual Leave and you would have to explain what an ADO is because they’ve never heard of it.
We need to fight for our members here and now, as well as those yet to come, and that fight is coming fast. We must be ready.