Combined Unions yesterday evening notified the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) that they will take industrial action to bring the trains to a stop over 72 hours next week and that their campaign of industrial action may continue for months.
The Unions have notified that they intend to begin work bans from Wednesday 17 August and a 48 hour stoppage from Thursday 18 August, resulting in 72 hours of major disruption.
The Unions released the notices at the 11th hour last night before NSW ARTC employees went to vote on a new Enterprise Agreement from this morning.
The stoppages will likely bring the cost of this dispute to the NSW economy to more than $50 million*.
“We are now looking at three weeks of direct damage and months if not years of cumulative damage to the rail industry,” ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.
“Even more concerning is that the Unions are committed to damaging the rail industry for an indefinite period of time with a baseless fear campaign as their justification,” Mr Fullerton said.
“Nanva said the continuing dispute over the pay and conditions of ARTC train signallers and administration workers was just the beginning of potentially months of disruptions on Australia’s rail freight network … so this is the first sign of things to come.” – RTBU Statement, 10 August
“Despite these uncertain times I again thank all of our staff for their hard work preparing for and managing these disruptions as safely as possible and minimising the impact on rail services where they have been able to,” said Mr Fullerton.
“I would also like to extend my thanks to our customers for their patience with us and apologise to the thousands of community members next week that will disrupted by this action.”
ARTC has put forward a 2 per cent pay increase per year, over three years and no loss of conditions.
“The offer is fair and reasonable,” Mr Fullerton said.
ARTC’s focus is now on working with our customers on planning for and managing these disruptions as best as possible and further advice will be provided ahead of the planned industrial action next week.
The Unions are able to continue to take rolling industrial action indefinitely until a new Enterprise Agreement is registered.
Media contact: Bas Bolyn, ARTC, 0477 340 658
- ARTC estimates every 24 hour work stoppage to cost the NSW economy around $10m.
- Various forms of indefinite industrial action ranging from operational restrictions, to no out-of-hours’ work and no overtime currently continue.
- ARTC was targeted by four days of continued and cumulative industrial action last week including 50 hours of work stoppages.
- This affected over a million tonnes of freight and up to 10,000 commuters.
- Union members have been taking up to 16 forms of industrial action – including two 24 hour work stoppages – since Wednesday 3 August.
- ARTC is currently facing low interstate freight volumes and low coal prices – this was reflected in a recent downgrade of ARTC‘s public credit rating by Moody’s rating service
- The Combined Unions have said they reserve the right to notify and take further industrial action in the future so there remains a high level of uncertainty
- The Unions are able to continue to take rolling industrial action indefinitely until a new Enterprise Agreement is registered.
- Summary of Union claims on public record and ARTC response