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RTBU V/Line strike action before Christmas

RTBU action

The Victorian branch of the Rail Tram & Bus Union (RTBU) has notified V/Line of its intention to take industrial action on Wednesday, December 13.

Operations staff including conductors, train controllers, stations and customer service staff, authorised officers, will walk off the job for four hours between 3am and 7am, bringing the network to a halt. At this stage only non-driving grades will participate in the action.

The entire V/Line network across the state will be affected as workers take action to advance claims for their enterprise agreement.

RTBU Branch Secretary Vik Sharma said despite bargaining since June, V/Line is yet to address key concerns that have been raised throughout the negotiations to date.

“This decision to escalate the campaign comes following last week’s ballot result that saw union members vote overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action,” he said.

“Following the conclusion of the vote, the union has continued to meet with V/Line but progress in key areas has not eventuated. Bargaining representatives will make themselves available to meet with V/Line management in a bid to drive progress on the dispute.

“The RTBU has provided V/Line with ample notice to have the outstanding matters resolved whilst providing travelling public with maximum notice to make alternative travel arrangements for the hours notified.”

Sharma said public transport workers at Metro Trains Melbourne recently resolved their negotiations, locking in the key issues around fairness of process, job security and achieving a modest 17 per cent pay increase over four years.

“The expectation is that the regional RTBU members are treated with the same respect and dignity as those in the city in
challenging economic times,” he said.

“In the current climate of automation, major changes and an uncertain economy, members are fighting for what all workers across Victoria deserve – job security and decent conditions.

“We are focused on minimising the impacts of industrial action on the travelling public and encourage commuters to plan their working weeks accordingly where possible.

“The RTBU will continue to meet with V/Line and negotiate in good faith as members would prefer to avoid industrial action if their concerns are addressed.”

V/Line chief executive officer Matt Carrick has called on the union to reconsider, acknowledging the disruption the action would cause.

“We’ll continue to work with the union to deliver excellent employment conditions for our workforce and a better service for our passengers – we will be working hard over coming days to finalise a plan for replacement coaches and will notify passengers of these plans as soon as possible.

“We operate more than 2250 services across the network each week, with a further 200 services coming online over the coming years. Any reductions in staff availability will significantly impact service delivery.”