Train strikes set to hit Melbourne next week as Metro staff vote yes to industrial action

 

News article: Train strikes set to hit Melbourne next week as Metro staff vote yes to industrial action

Melbourne's rail network will be shut down by strike action for four hours next week, after Metro staff voted yes to industrial action at a meeting on Monday morning.

  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
Here we go.  Not a strike for quite some time.  The Pom must be putting some pressure on wages.

Train strikes set to hit Melbourne next week as Metro staff vote yes to industrial action

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  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Metro have plans for cheap drivers to be trained on a fragmented system allowing overseas drivers to enter the country and drive trains on the cheap.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
That's a strong allegation - is there any evidence of that? 457 visas are only supposed to be used where there is a shortage of skilled labour in an industry - is there any shortage of train drivers in Melbourne (would have thought not).

Also, I have to say that the union asking for 6% a year for three years is pretty outrageous in my opinion. I know that it's an ambit claim but with inflation and interest rates so low I think a 6% p/a claim is excessive. Just an opinion.
  QSB6.7 Chief Train Controller

Location: Going off the rails on a crazy train.
18% over 3 years is criminal.  
My industry is short on staff and we have had nothing for the last 3 years, not even inflation.
  K-Class Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
18% over 3 years is criminal.  
My industry is short on staff and we have had nothing for the last 3 years, not even inflation.
QSB6.7
Highly agree anything more than CPI per year in this economic climate is just ridiculous. It not as if they are starting from a low wage base.
  hot-axle-box Junior Train Controller

Get more facts about what the union - metro workers are asking for and not the crap that the media is dishing out.
Its easy to sit there and say 18% over 3 years is criminal,  work for metro do you ?  work shift work do you ?
This company is ruthless and making huge profits at the expense of the Victorian taxpayer, while managers get big
bonuses for coming up with ways to screw the employees to scratch up every spare cent. when this company can send huge
profits to its share holders and give managers big bonuses for efficiency, and treat the very people who make it happen for them with such contempt.  Do our jobs for a month and you will soon find out what this mob is like.
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

^your claims that you seek as a union is a bloody joke!
6% each year over 3 years is massive considering once fully trained and experienced, a driver is on six figures... Plus OT...
The extra entitlements you want for cash for iPods etc etc is rubbish!

These new EBAs from most unions at the moment has become outrageous!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Its easy to sit there and say 18% over 3 years is criminal,  work for metro do you ?  work shift work do you ?
hot-axle-box
Shift work is part and parcel of that job - train drivers have a lot of stress in their work (that's true) but they also get paid well and have very stable working conditions compared to (say) people in retail or hospitality. What has the union decided they will give away in exchange for the very generous (and well above inflation) increases they're asking for?

This company is ruthless and making huge profits at the expense of the Victorian taxpayer, while managers get big bonuses for coming up with ways to screw the employees to scratch up every spare cent.
hot-axle-box
How is that different to anyone else who has to work for a completely ruthless big corporation?
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

^don what people seem to forget is that abusiness is operational to making strong healthy profits, not to be a bloody charity..
Everyone who is foolish and uneducated believe if a company makes strong profits then work force is entitled to pay increases.. That's just not the case.. People need to remember if businesses don't make profit, businesses don't operate..

Agreed with your statements 100%
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of sympathy for train drivers trying to make ends meet - but everyone else is in exactly the same boat. Train drivers have a strong union if they are ever in trouble, they have really excellent working conditions in comparison to other people, they get paid on time (which is a constant struggle when you are working for a small employer, let me tell you) and they have excellent superannuation.

Why do they deserve 18% over three years when inflation and interest rates are at historical lows? It just seems like greed to me.
  frezno Junior Train Controller

I think the main point everyone is missing here (and that's largely due to ill researched crap in the media) is that the drivers don't actually don't want a pay rise above base CPI. They simply don't want to be deskilled or have any conditions taken away. The general consensus is give nothing, get nothing. The 18% pay rise is being pushed by the operations side of the RTBU which covers Authorised Officers and Station Staff. There is a separate division of the RTBU for locomotive drivers, they are not the one pushing the 18%. This is never mentioned. Without debating who is or isn't deserving of an 18% payrise, I don't believe AOs should have to pay to charge a work issued smart device at home or a myki reader issued for work purposes themselves. I don't think they're being unreasonable by wanting an allowance for that.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Also, I have to say that the union asking for 6% a year for three years is pretty outrageous in my opinion. I know that it's an ambit claim but with inflation and interest rates so low I think a 6% p/a claim is excessive. Just an opinion.
don_dunstan

It is a big pay rise.  18% over the next 3 years.

How much is the average annual salary for a Metro driver?
  toastywarmhamster Station Master

Location: Space and Time
Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of sympathy for train drivers trying to make ends meet - but everyone else is in exactly the same boat. Train drivers have a strong union if they are ever in trouble, they have really excellent working conditions in comparison to other people, they get paid on time (which is a constant struggle when you are working for a small employer, let me tell you) and they have excellent superannuation.

Why do they deserve 18% over three years when inflation and interest rates are at historical lows? It just seems like greed to me.
don_dunstan
Ok a few things that people seem to not know due to the propaganda being fed to the media by Metro.

* The EBA negotiations are not just about drivers - but all operations staff including signallers, AO's, Station Staff etc
* Negotiations were due to start 31 December 2014 as per the current EBA 6 months before expiry.
* MTM refused to start negotiations until dragged to Fair Work by the Union. Order was to start in April, MTM didn't start until May.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
What about the demands in this article from the Herald Sun?

  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
200 kms a day seems reasonable when you have so many lives on board.  More lives over the same period than an airline pilot.
  hot-axle-box Junior Train Controller

More smeg reporting from the herald sun, "the news paper with integrity".

And to add , not driving over the same route more than two times a shift avoids complacency and keeps drivers alert.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey

And to add , not driving over the same route twice avoids complacency and keeps drivers alert.
hot-axle-box

Yes.  But this is what Metro want to change.
  hot-axle-box Junior Train Controller


And to add , not driving over the same route twice avoids complacency and keeps drivers alert.
Yes.  But this is what Metro want to change.
x31
No s*h*iT Sherlock !
Metro want sectorised running (drivers trained on one line only) drivers running up and down the same line all day for less pay.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
As things stand we may expect to see some form of "action" next Wednesday and next Friday on the Metro network and with the potential for Yarra Trams staff to also take action as they too are having some issues with their EA and pay offer.

This is after due process has been used and Fair Work Australia has agreed that the workforce - in the case of MTM at least - has a valid complaint that their employer has failed to bargain in good faith as the legislation requires.  

MTM management were reminded before the EA expired that they were due to enter negotiations.  They were reminded again and a first meeting was held slightly after the due date.

Without being a party to the proceedings since then it would be inappropriate to offer comment as being "informed" as both sides have issued public and internal statements promulgating very differing opinions.  That includes statements being made to the media upon which various newspaper reports are based.

Not all public transport staff are on the same pay rates as drivers.  The driver's "average wage" is probably calculated based upon the overtime some but by no means all earn working their rest days and swapping shifts to work weekends.  Some of the non-driving staff are paid at much lesser rates and while their jobs may not involve driving thousands of passengers they still require a high degree of rail safety awareness.

The position of the RTBU, representing the great majority of all staff, appears to be that the only argument they have is with MTM management and not with the travelling public.  The latter could both be inconvenienced or may benefit at times depending upon what form of action is taken.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
* Negotiations were due to start 31 December 2014 as per the current EBA 6 months before expiry.
* MTM refused to start negotiations until dragged to Fair Work by the Union. Order was to start in April, MTM didn't start until May.
toastywarmhamster
This is a classic employer tactic. In effect, they are forcing a wage freeze on employees by delaying negotiations.

Happens everywhere.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams' union representatives have now formally announced that there will be a suspension of all rail and tram services between 10.00 - 14.00 next Friday 21st August.

Non-union driving staff are very few and far between and may choose to not work anyway.  As the union also represents and the dispute also involved MTM controllers and safe working staff (among others) it may be impossible to move anything anyway and that would potentially affect V/line operations also.

Talks are ongoing but even if a satisfactory outcome emerged today it would have to be put to the vote and accepted.  There is precious little time to achieve that between now and next Friday.

Therefore unless something significant changes in the meantime expect services to wind down from afar the morning peak such that all are stopped safely before 10.00.  Nothing would move until at least 14.00 by which time every driver and train / tram on the networks will be displaced.  

That has the potential to disrupt services for many more hours.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

Hi All

I do not profess to know what is happening, or taking sides but there seems to be a pattern here. That people are taking what the Herald Sun is reporting as gospel. A paper that is so unashamedly anti Andrews Government and will seize on anything to Undermine them. And they do it daily whilst trumpeting a Napthine Govt who did very little except try to push through the East West link and balanced the books by wiping millions off TAFE and Public Transport.

To be honest I am with Hot-Axle Box here, in so far as the workers deserve a bloody medal to keep this shambles what is the Melbourne Rail Network going. Years of chronic under investment. Signals breaking down and who has ever heard of signal being put out of action because of rats chewing through cable. Unfit and un modernized stations, mostly old rolling stock. And when new stock is acquired it is done on the cheap and is not fit for purpose. (Xtraps). Most of the track is at grade and un-fenced and a Organisation in Public Transport Victoria who is providing very little framework on how to run an efficient system. As for Metro they are finding out that running a completely modern metro network consisting of 3 lines is totally different to running a creaking old commuter network.

Michael
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
...but there seems to be a pattern here etc.
mejhammers1
What is also obvious is that some people seem obsessed with the wage rise component of the dispute, seeing it as the only issue at stake.

Any industrial dispute or negotiations regarding EBA's is rarely about money. It is almost always to do with other issues such as breach of contract, changes to rosters, conditions of employment etc. Some employers think that if they throw a small fistful of dollars at their workers, they can get away with forcing unattractive conditions on them - such as what it happening at Esso at the moment. Long gone are the days when a log of claims is presented to the company and there is an expectation of a semi-successful outcome. Nowadays, the employers present a log of claims to the unions to reduce their worker's conditions. It is all about hanging on to conditions now; many people I know would be willing to continually roll over their agreements for token wage rises, but employers are instead focused on removing conditions - continually heading down the path of casualisation.

Having said that, and further to my previous post, those obsessed with what on the surface appears as ambitious claims for wage rises by unions should look at the example of the paramedic's dispute in Victoria last year. The paramedics finally won annual wage rises of 6%, 3% and 3% with a sign-on fee (an increasingly common payment that is not built into hourly rates, and therefore non-compounding). In reality, their wage rises are spread over FIVE years because of the delaying tactics of the previous State administration. Thus they are only keeping level with the inflation rate.

Suddenly, the ambit 18% sought by the rail unions doesn't seem so high after all, does it? But some people, typically Murdoch press readers, will still froth at the mouth at the prospect of it, thinking it is the be all and end all.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Nurse!

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