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Rail workers will vote on a 2 per cent annual pay rise over three years this week, with mooted industrial action unlikely to go ahead despite fears around the imminent privatisation of the service.
The likely acceptance of the pay deal comes after about 75 per cent of the employees either did not vote or voted against industrial action in a ballot last week.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union had battled for 4 per cent each year over four years but drivers will now vote in a second ballot on the State Government’s offer of a 2 per cent annual increase over three years.
And branch secretary Darren Phillips said the union would not recommend a yes or a no vote to about 239 employees, likely ending the enterprise bargaining process in the government’s favour.
Mr Phillips said employees had been deceived by the State Government, which had gone to the 2018 election with a no-privatisation agenda, but would now hand over running of the train network and their jobs to private operators.
“We have put out the pros and cons on the enterprise agreement and people will now make up their own mind but we will not be putting out a yes or no vote,’’ he said.
“These people’s jobs are going to be privatised in February and this is a really important moment for them to reflect on. We are really happy with some of the conditions we have negotiated to protect the workers before private ownership takes over.’’
Passengers board a train at Mawson Lakes. Picture: Brenton Edwards.Treasurer Rob Lucas said the union had “failed comprehensively” in a bid to implement stop-work action for four, 12 or 24-hours, indefinite overtime bans, and work interruptions to make announcements over train public address systems to put pressure on the government.
He said the failure to reach 50 per cent in support of the industrial action was a “victory for common sense”.
“It’s pleasing that common sense has prevailed, with the overwhelming majority of train drivers rejecting the union bosses’ silly strike threat, which would have caused widespread disruption to hardworking South Australian commuters,” he said.
“We hope this means we can now get on with achieving a sensible resolution to our enterprise bargaining negotiations.’’
The 2 per cent increase is in line with similar public service agreements in recent times, including for tram drivers in May this year. Nurses voted to accept a 2 per cent per year pay rise earlier this year, while last week the Police Association of SA also endorsed a 2 per cent increase.
The ballot of rail staff opens on Friday and will run until November 5.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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