The Victorian government has brokered a deal to transfer manufacturing staff from Alstom’s manufacturing site in Ballarat to Bombardier’s maintenance depot in the same regional town.
The deal was agreed to by the Victorian government, the two major manufacturers, and unions, and will see 27 of Alstom’s permanent manufacturing staff redeployed to work on the VLocity train maintenance program, which will be carried out at Bombardier’s Ballarat workshop.
Alstom workers who have not been redeployed will continue working on other rollingstock projects, said Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne.
“We’re helping keep these highly skilled manufacturing jobs in Ballarat – giving certainty to workers and their families.”
The deal comes after speculation over the future of Alstom’s Ballarat workforce once the final X’Trapolis trains in the current order are completed. While the Victorian government has committed to an order of X’Trapolis 2.0 trains, designs are still being completed, leaving the workforce in limbo. Victorian secretary of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Luba Grigorovitch said that the jobs could have disappeared altogether.
“There was the potential for these regional jobs to be lost, and I’m really pleased that the state government applied the pressure that was necessary to ensure that the redeployment of the employees has been facilitated.”
The Victorian government has committed $12 million to Alstom to continue designing the X’Trapolis 2.0 trainsets.
Grigorovitch welcomed the investment but said that a confirmed order was needed.
“The investment in the design phase is only the first step and the workers and their families will only truly be secure once they see an order of much needed X’Trapolis 2.0s.”
By redeploying the workers onto the VLocity fleet, maintenance schedules will be sped up, said Horne.
“Alstom workers will gain new experience and skills carrying out vital maintenance on our VLocity fleet – helping to keep services moving across regional Victoria.”