union news issue 10.2 winter 2013 Labour Day 2013 inside this issue: Bus review backdown privatisation threat mingela derailment

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1 union news issue 10.2 winter 2013 the journal of the Australian Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch Labour Day 2013 inside this issue: Bus review backdown privatisation threat mingela derailment

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3 State Secretary s Report by Owen Doogan, Queensland State Secretary Pollies outrageous 40% pay rise It appears our poor State politicians have not been paid as much as their Federal counterparts over the last few years and now require a $57,000+ per year increase due to existing legislation. This will bring their minimum wage to almost $200,000 for a humble backbencher before extra payments received for committee work, etc. is taken into consideration. No doubt there will be rises closer to $100,000 for some Ministers. Quite frankly it is rather ironic that the exact same people offering 1% to 2.5% wage rises to public sector workers (including QR) have no difficulty in accepting a 40+% increase. They claim this is because the increase relates to an existing Act of State Parliament. The LNP Government had no difficulty in changing an Act of Parliament to withdraw all job security provisions, contracting out provisions and provisions relating to consultation for public sector workers, including those employed by QR. It would be easy for the LNP Government to change the law to bring the state politicians into line with other public servants thus forgoing the unjustified massive increase in wages. When they fought tooth and nail to win their parliamentary seats last year, they knew what the wages were. The arrogance of power. If this had been a Government with a majority of one, I wonder whether or not they would be behaving in the same arrogant manner towards not only their employees, but the people of Queensland in general. WorkCover Review so far so good Whilst there are one or two negatives in the review of WorkCover by the Government s Finance and Administration Committee, I m pleased to say the Union movement s campaign to protect our members conditions appears to have been successful at this stage. One of the highlights was the Committee did not recommend any change to the mode of injury. Currently the worker s job must be a major contributing factor. This means if a previous injury has been aggravated by work, then you can still make a claim. Unions feared a move to a definition of the major contributing factor which would have excluded any claim that couldn t be shown to have been caused entirely by work. Although this is good news for physical injuries, the same cannot be said for psychological injuries which will be harder to substantiate if the additional hurdles for workers with stress claims are accepted by Government. Overall the report is not critical of the rights and protections contained in the WorkCover Legislation. Those who contributed to the campaign by lobbying their local members of parliament have certainly assisted in the Union s campaign to try to protect our members conditions. Workers compensation has been run pretty well in this State over the years and currently operates on a strong financial base. Currently Queensland sits at number two in the country in terms of costeffectiveness (we held the number one spot for some decades before Victoria overtook us just recently). In addition the scheme provides some very good options for those injured at work and needing support and assistance to get back on their feet. There is no reason why there should be any ideological attacks to reduce the right of workers to fair compensation and access to common law where clear negligence can be proven against the employer. The Government s own committee has supported its retention. The effect of removing an injured worker s access to common law would have had the impact of removing the financial incentive for employers to provide safe working environments. It is now in the hands of the Newman Government to accept the many positive features of the Report and not allow ideology to yet again be the basis for the determination of their decisions on amending legislation. Union News the advocate Winter

4 President s report Bruce Mackie Catching up with the retired workers union I was recently invited to attend the Rockhampton headquarters of the National Union of Retired Workers to discuss their concerns and how our union and our members can benefit from a closer relationship with them. I was impressed by their headquarters and the ties they have developed amongst the Rockhampton community. Their facilities include a library, a space where retired unionists learn to use computers, a gym and a community gathering space. As a way of supporting each other, we talked about encouraging our retired members to join their union. I look forward to working with National Union of Retired Workers in the future and wish them well. It pays to check your pay docket A member recently approached me when he was confused by unusual entries on his pay docket. At first glance nothing looked out of order, but as we looked more closely, we realised he had been significantly underpaid. We raised this issue with his management. Ultimately our member received over $4000 in owed back pay. This was a great outcome but I am concerned not all members are checking their pay dockets closely. It s certainly worth the few minutes it takes. The employer won t chase you up about accidentally underpaying Our union campaigned against privatisation decisions made by the previous Labor state government and we will campaign against equally poor or worse decisions by the LNP. you. In most cases they won t become aware of any errors unless you raise them. It is critical members check their pay check against hours worked to make sure they are being paid at the appropriate rate. Branch Council meets I would like to personally thank all Divisional Committee members and Branch Councillors who participated in Branch Council on 18, 19 and 20 April The quality of debate and proactive thinking of all involved made the Council a very successful event. As chairman of Branch Council I applaud all Councillors and Committee members who made the three days so productive. Unions and the LNP The Campbell Newman-led Liberal National Party (LNP) in Queensland appears to be determined to control and suppress the union movement. Our union campaigned against privatisation decisions made by the previous Labor state government and we will campaign against equally poor or worse decisions by the LNP. We are not a politically motivated organisation. We are always looking out for workers rights. We will stand up for our members when their interests are being attacked or eroded. Campbell Newman s continued attacks on union officials in the media do nothing for his credibility. It s a worn-out political tactic and people are awake to it. Bus and Tram Division fights bus route changes Congratulations to the Bus and Tram Division on their successful public campaign against the recently announced cut backs to bus services across South East Queensland. Engagement of the public through campaigning and social media showed how quickly our union responds to threats to vital public services. Thanks and congratulations to all members and RTBU officials involved in this powerful and necessary campaign. 4 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

5 RTBU Women s Officer Report by Carla Jones, Industrial and Women s Officer The RTBU is proud to announce the Women s Information Pack has finally arrived. It contains a booklet as well as a little make-up mirror, an LED keychain light, pens and bandanas. Information packs from RT Health and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are also included. The booklet provides general employment information and more related specifically to female members. Sexual harassment policy and guidelines, parental leave, discrimination based on marital status, pregnancy and other women s issues are covered. I m really excited to be sending these packs. The decision to put them together was made by the Women s Committee around this time last year. The first packs were sent out on 16 April. Local delegates should have distributed them by now. April meeting The Women s Committee convened on 17 April for another productive meeting. We now have domestic violence posters in Queensland Rail workplaces. The Union has been working to include a domestic violence clause in future enterprise bargaining agreements with Brisbane City Council. Although the domestic violence clause has not been included in current agreements, we remain hopeful future agreements will include measures to assist workers in troubled home situations maintain gainful employment. I'm pleased to announce the RTBU now has women s shirts. They are more appropriately proportioned and comfortable than the men s shirts we had been wearing in the past and I can t wait to see members wearing them at future Union events. The Women s Committee has been working through the process of changing from a nominated committee to an elected one. We have almost finished going through the necessary channels and members can expect to vote soon to elect the Women s Committee. I m also excited to announce our representative for the Anna Stewart Memorial Program and the winner of the Emma Miller Award. Raylene Johnson will represent us in the Anna Stewart Memorial Program, awarded to a member who shows great interest in being an involved unionist. The first week of the two-week program is spent with the RTBU and the second with a host union. The Emma Miller Award this year goes to Teena Carr. Congratulations to her on this great achievement. Maurice Blackburn Bursary Shaun Day was thrilled to receive the Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and RTBU Bursary for $1000 towards his education. Shaun s father is a track protection officer for Queensland Rail and has worked in various positions during his 16-year career with the company. Shaun is currently completing a prevocational apprenticeship in electro-technology at Bracken Ridge SkillsTech Australia. He hopes to work on high-voltage infrastructure after completing his apprenticeship and finds the future of fibre optics such as the National Broadband Network interesting. Shaun Day receiving the Bursary from Maurice Blackburn lawyer Jillian Barrett and Southern District Organiser Greg Talbot. His interest in an electrical apprenticeship was sparked by the almost-limitless applications of electricity domestically, commercially and industrially. He says, Wherever there are people, there s power. Union News the advocate Winter

6 Fair Go For Pensioners Coalition by Ray Ferguson, Secretary Retired Members Association FGFPC in Canberra Delegates of the Fair Go for Pensioners Coalition (FGFPC) from across Australia converged on Canberra on 19 and 20 March for our National Conference. While there, delegates took the opportunity to do some lobbying with government, opposition and independent members of Federal Parliament. News at the National Conference was positive for our Coalition. FGFPC continues to grow with new affiliates in some states. The draft of the FGFPC s federal budget submission, prepared by the National Executive, was examined at the conference. The submission deals with issues affecting the lifestyles of pensioners and seniors on a daily basis as well as dealing with outstanding claims the FGFPC has been campaigning for. These include: Our call to increase the pension rate from 27.7 per cent to 35 per cent of male total average weekly earnings making proper, improved, culturally-appropriate healthcare measures for pensioners are a government priority; including medical, dental, optical, hearing and pharmaceutical services our call for funding levels for culturally-appropriate aged-care services to be significantly increased and extended to meet the growing demand in this area pension legislation amendments to ensure older people do not have their pensions restricted due to overseas travel to visit loved ones legislation to protect older people taking out reverse mortgages the need for a thorough review of the means test and GST impact report for concessions to ensure pensioners are not losing out quarterly indexation of all pensions and quarterly welfare payments instead of half-yearly. The National Conference endorsed the Queensland-initiated campaign seeking a 10 per cent discount for pensioners when shopping at Coles and Woolworths retail grocery outlets making it a national campaign. Delegates paid tribute to the outstanding services of the retiring president Patricia Reeves and elected Col Davies from Queensland as the new National President. The Secretariat will continue to operate out of the Canberra office of the Council on the Ageing (COTA). Carbon Tax Compensation Package Of particular concern to the National Council was the possibility the Liberal National Coalition, if elected at the next election, may repeal the compensation package delivered to pensioners and seniors as part of the Carbon Tax. A lobby group from the National Conference met with representatives for the Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Peter Dutton, Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, Kevin Andrews, and the Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey. Each of these representatives confirmed the Coalition would repeal the Carbon Tax if they win government. We believe the compensation package, which became effective 20 March, is likely to be clawed back as part of repealing the Carbon Tax. The Coalition representatives were unable to give a clear answer whether compensation payments already made to seniors would be taken back. Only time will tell. In total, the FGFPC met and lobbied nineteen politicians or their representatives from both sides of parliament and left the impression the FGFPC is alive, well and getting stronger. Regardless of which side wins the upcoming election, we will be back in Canberra in Oral Health Package The six-year package announced August 2012, known as Denticare, is worth $4 billion and will provide the following: $2.7 billion for around 3.4 million children eligible for subsidised dental care. Called Grow Up Smiling, this program commences 1 January 2014 $1.3 billion for around 1.4 million additional services for adults on low incomes, including pensioners and concession card holders, as well as those with special needs, who will have better access to dental care in the public system $225 million for dental capital and workforce will be provided to support expanded services for people living in outer metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas. While these improvements in oral health care are welcome, the bulk of these new services remain on the drawing board and will be subject to ongoing funding. With 500,000 citizens nationally currently waiting for public health care, we hope Denticare doesn t just remain on the drawing board. 6 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

7 Same Game, Different Name by Industrial Officer, Peter Allen I don t really know but I d bet money it was a business consultant from the USA who changed words like sackings to right sizing. A song I used to listen to noted how advertisers rename things like crude oil spilled onto a beach as mousse, and a recession would be better called a necessary downturn. These are word games and increasingly our politicians play them to great effect. Let s face it, who really likes privatisation? The research tells us only about 14% of people do. They think it s a great idea. That s why the Qld Newman LNP Government is now trying to call it something else. You ll see new and improved words like franchising, contestability and outsourcing It s not just public transport being proposed to be privatised, franchised, outsourced or subject to contestability. used but no matter how you badge it, it s still privatisation. Now, most people are awake up to this. It s pretty obvious when you think about it and look beyond the headline. The problem is that some people do get bluffed. It s vital we talk to our friends and family about these issues, about how privatisation tears the heart out of organisations. Naturally what could happen to our members in Queensland Rail and the Brisbane City Council is an immediate problem for the RTBU, but don t forget it s not just public transport being proposed to be privatised, franchised, outsourced or subject to contestability. The Queensland Newman-led LNP Government is considering privatising big slabs of the public sector. Hospitals and their various parts are being sized up right now. In future the Government might own the building but a private company will operate key areas of the operation. The Queensland Council of Unions, with the support of unions like the RTBU, is asking union members and the general public to take a stand against these backward measures. Please visit standforqld. com.au and get involved. Bus Review For people in South East Queensland there was a collective sigh of relief some time ago when the Campbell Newman and the LNP buck passed the review of public transport to the Brisbane City Council. That sigh of relief might have come a little too early. Brisbane City Council did, in the end, review and remove nine routes from their network. Without doubt, had our members not campaigned, along with many from the community, to oppose Newman and the LNP s slash and burn of bus services it would have been immensely worse. We re told at one point 5000 people a day were lodging their objections to the bus review, which, considering that was through a website pretty clearly designed to stop you from having a say, is remarkable in itself. Innumerable pop-up online petitions and Saturday morning stalls at the shops collecting names and getting the message out were also part of the campaign. Race to the bottom So isn t it all over? Isn t it all fixed? Well, we ve had a great victory in turning the government around so far but it s not over yet. The Costello Report to the State Government made many recommendations. They all centred around privatisation. The Costello Report recommends BCC bus runs compete with private bus companies. It s called contestability. In other words it s the starting gun for a race to the bottom for wages and conditions. Apparently NASA Astronauts often sit in the cockpit on the launch pad during the countdown and remind each other that they are sitting on a massively complex interlinked set of systems that have to work just right and on time to guarantee success. They go on to say that this is all provided by the lowest bidding private contractor who has to cut corners to make ends meet. I m not saying bus operations have the complexity of a space shuttle launch but putting things out to the lowest bidder generally results in a lower quality service and lower accountability. You can expect to hear a lot more about the campaign to stop this dangerous and ill-advised trend. Union News the advocate Winter

8 Central District report by Central District Organisers Craig Allen & Bruce Mackie Multiple sign on dispute There have been some developments following our story in the last Advocate about the multiple sign on point dispute for Moranbah train crew. On Monday April 15 the Deputy President of the Fair Work Commission came to Moranbah to hear the concerns of train crew members over the proposed multiple sign on issue. More than half the Moranbah depot train crew turned out and voiced their strong opposition to the proposal. Members and Union officials are primarily concerned about the safety of train crew travelling on the Peak Downs highway between sign ons. Aurizon were still determined to negotiate the inclusion of multiple sign on points but it was clear there was strong opposition from members to this proposal. A special thanks is due to Sub- Branch Secretary Trent Deverrell who took the day off to be present at these negotiations. Coppabella facilities upgrade After many years of campaigning for improvements to facilities at Coppabella, the RTBU is pleased to report Aurizon have announced a large upgrade. These upgrades include the reopening of the swimming pool, improved sporting facilities, improved town lighting and general maintenance. A town committee was engaged by Aurizon to assist in highlighting and helping to resolve remaining issues. Local Sub-Branch Secretary Dan Vanscherpenseel has been very active on the town committee and recently reported major progress in handling long-outstanding maintenance issues. PN Coal enterprise agreement committee As the Union Collective Agreement negotiations for PN Coal members draw nearer, Les Moffitt, Shayne Kummerfeld, Craig Allen and Bruce Mackie met with delegates and members in a phone conference to develop an agenda for the negotiations. The PN Coal enterprise agreement committee was formed and it was decided they would meet every three weeks in a phone conference. PNQ intermodal locomotives need attention Locomotive drivers for PNQ have voiced concerns over unsatisfactory conditions in their locomotive drivers cabins. Members have reported many issues to the Union including air conditioners that don t work, damaged ceiling lining which sags, releasing dust and other particles into the cab, automatic fire extinguishers not replaced before expiry. Some expired extinguishers are still sitting in cabs. Members have the right to a workplace meeting required health, safety and comfort standards. We urge members to continue providing details to the RTBU, directly to the state office and to your local delegate, so we can have the standards of drivers cabs addressed by management. Aurizon contracting out more workers Nearly 12 months ago Aurizon management told RTBU members they would be contracting out much of the work currently done by Aurizon workers while providing very few specifics of what this meant for members. The Union notified the Fair Work Commission of a dispute. They were supportive of our position, saying members are entitled to more details from Aurizon on these changes, forcing the company to release more details. At least 32 permanent positions will become surplus as this work is shifted to contractors. The remaining workers in Mackay would be forced to relocate to Jilalan. Remaining workers in Rockhampton will have to go to Gracemere and workers in Bowen will have to go to Merinda. The company seems to believe the consultation process is: Ask us questions we may or may not answer. The proposal details reveal what the members knew all along. Contracting out their whole workforce is impossible. they particularly tell us they can't replace RTBU members working on the company's important communications systems. It seems the company now believes the consultation process is: Ask us questions we may or may not answer. Our members have more questions about the proposed contracting out of workers and at the moment are seeking answers to 8 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

9 these. After that we wish to discuss the proposal with the company and be able to provide an in depth response. Without comprehensive, meaningful communication between the Union and Aurizon we won t be able to formulate a real response to this proposal. Bluff members know communication is key Members from Bluff depot are leading by example when it comes to staying in touch with the Rail Tram and Bus Union for upcoming negotiations with Aurizon. A recently held meeting at Bluff, organised by RTBU Sub-Branch Secretary, Anita Reay, and attended by Central District Organiser Craig Allen was filled with active and engaged Union members. Great attendance rates at Union meetings are critical to our ability to help you, the members, lobby for what you deserve during the negotiation process. Queensland Rail members ready for a fight Every five or six years, the Central District enjoys the company of the Queensland Rail re-sleepering gang. This year we used the opportunity to discuss the Newman Government s plans to contract out the re-sleepering work. Travel Team members will also be kept up to date on negotiations for their agreements to date by their local delegates. Members in Western Queensland and Miriam Vale will also receive updates from local delegates as Queensland Rail members gear up for negotiations. Moranbah micro-housing The RTBU and members were encouraged by Aurizon s announcement they would build more housing for members in Moranbah. Members were given an unfortunate surprise when they saw these new houses for the first time and discovered the remarkable lack of space in these dwellings. A recent inspection uncovered evidence showing how these houses are obviously too small. For one thing, the laundry is built inside a cupboard. The RTBU is impressed to see that Aurizon are willing to build more houses but it is disappointing to see they have cut corners instead of doing a proper job. Union News the advocate Winter

10 Labour Day 2013 Around the state the message from the union movement was clear: Labour Day will stay in May! Rail Tram and Bus Union members were out in force state-wide to march under their banner and celebrate the hard-won past battles all workers and unions have faced. The march in Brisbane was spectacularly attended. Brisbane members met at the RNA Showgrounds at the end of the march for a few drinks and a barbecue as well as speeches on the current working climate in Australia. 10 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

11 Union News the advocate Winter

12 Northern District report by Les Moffitt, Northern District Organiser Level crossing trials In June last year 2012 the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Scott Emerson, announced funding of a million dollars to trial a range of ideas to improve safety around level crossings throughout Queensland. The aftermath of a level crossing accident between a truck and train. The Government recently announced three separate types of technology to be trialled. These include a solar powered lighting system to warn motorists of approaching trains with flashing lights, a wireless system detecting the presence of trains and alerting the motorist by radio and with a dashboard light, and a wireless system which provides an auditory warning only. This is in addition to a trial already undertaken at Bemerside, north of Ingham, testing the Valet concept using lights in the road surface which activate when a train approaches. To make it possible to test all three ideas the government has doubled the initial funding for the trial to two million dollars. Trials will be carried out near Gatton, Rosewood, Dalby and between Townsville and Charters Towers. The RTBU will monitor trials closely and continue to campaign for the introduction of proven safety measures at level crossings. Cost cutting hits QR Queensland Rail has been told to come up with cuts worth two million dollars a year. The pursuit of these is becoming a rolling disaster for day-to-day operations, resulting in inefficiencies in the workplace and eroding health and safety standards. The affect of cuts is being amplified by the panicky behaviour of management. The situation is becoming a serious risk to people s safety. One of the more bizarre ideas is the withdrawal of credit cards. Employees need credit cards to purchase necessities. Around 1,000 credit cards have been withdrawn state-wide, reducing the number held by staff to 140. Management wants members to pay for the items out of their own pockets and be reimbursed later. They are asking ordinary workers to bankroll a major business as if it was a volunteer organisation with a petty cash tin. This is totally unacceptable to members. They want to go further, proposing the withdrawal of 1,000 mobile phones and broadband modems. The RTBU is concerned the withdrawal of mobile phones and broadband modems will affect safety. Reliable communication is critical in all areas where rail maintenance staff work. The current cut backs being initiated by Queensland Rail management make it difficult, if not impossible, for workers to maintain an efficient work environment. Aurizon wins large coal contract Aurizon has secured a deal to haul up to 65 million tonnes of coal a year from BM Alliance Coal Operations (BMA) and BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) in Queensland. The contract will see coal from the Blackwater and Goonyella rail areas transported by rail from the mines to the ports. The agreement commences 1 July 2015 for the Blackwater depot and 1 July 2016 for the Goonyella depot. The mines involved are Blackwater, Gregory, South Walker, Poitrel, Riverside, Goonyella, Saraji, Peak Downs and Daunia operations. This will represent about a quarter of the entire coal hauled throughout Queensland. Pacific National and Guildford Coal Pacific National has been successful in signing a memorandum of understanding with Guildford Coal to haul coal from Queensland s Northern Galillee basin. The Guildford Coal project west of Townsville is focused on 12 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

13 two new coal mine proposals near Hughenden and Pentland. The first coal haulage of around one million tonnes will be online in early Production will ramp up over seven to eight years. Clyde Park Mine north-west of Pentland will truck washed coal into a rail facility near Pentland. It will then be hauled by rail to a facility at the Townsville Port. Strathtay Mine is 80 kilometres north of Hughenden. Mine shafts were dug in the 1930s by Mount Isa Mines. Up to ten million tonnes a year is proposed to be mined by open cut and underground operation from the two sites under consideration, ensuring plenty of work for members in these regions for years to come. Truck driver faces court over tilt train collision A fatal collision between the Cairns Tilt Train and a B-Double truck occurred at Rungoo Level Crossing on 27 November Two highly-respected Townsville based locomotive drivers lost their lives in the collision. Initial investigations exonerated the train drivers from any fault leading to the collision. It has taken four years and four months for the matter to reach court. While the matter remains unresolved, the families of the two locomotive drivers are struggling to find closure on this terrible event. The drivers families hope future cases can be dealt with in a more reasonable time frame to assist those involved in finding closure and moving on. Regulator to investigate Mingela Derailment On Sunday 24 March 2013 an Aurizon freight train, hauling zinc concentrate, derailed 21 wagons at the bottom of Mingela Range between Townsville and Charters Towers. At first, it was thought the track would be closed for two weeks. Thirty-five infrastructure workers gave up Easter break with their families to get the line open as soon as possible. After recovery work by clean-up infrastructure gangs the track reopened for traffic at 1pm. on Saturday 3 April. Repairs following the derailment involved the replacement of one kilometre of rail and at least 1200 tonnes of ballast to relay 400 metres of track. On Tuesday 26 March, the government advised the public the Queensland s Rail Safety Regulator would undertake a full investigation into the derailment. The Mount Isa line is one of our most important freight routes. Many sections clearly need upgrading as capacity grows beyond the current 100 trainsper-week. A plan to upgrade the track forms part of Queensland s submission to the Federal Government s Nation Building 2 program. The RTBU will continue to campaign for funding to upgrade the corridor to a standard ensuring a reliable supply chain from the mines to the port. Union News the advocate Winter

14 Southern District report by Southern District Organisers Shayne Kummerfeld, Ross Schimke, and Greg Talbot Queensland Rail Traincrew agreements The RTBU and Queensland Rail are now in negotiations for the upcoming Traincrew agreement. The current agreement expired on 30 June. The Locomotive Division has nominated Shayne Kummerfeld, Billy Martens and Kevin Steer to negotiate the City Train portion of the agreement. Wayne Peardon will take on Travel Train negotiations. Surveys completed by members are informing negotiating points. Members have been kept up to date as negotiations progress. Negotiations with Aurizon Negotiations for the upcoming Aurizon agreement are under way. Unfortunately, it hasn t taken long to see the casualisation of Aurizon s workforce.at Acacia Ridge there are now more casual Aurizon staff than full time employees. Full-time members at Acacia Ridge report high levels of micromanagement, interfering with their ability to perform their jobs effectively. Aurizon is required to treat all employees equally regardless of employment situation. If you, or someone you work with, feels they re receiving unfair treatment we urge you to contact the Union for advice and assistance. Cleveland crash update The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) completed its initial investigation of the train crash at Cleveland station reported on extensively in the Autumn 2013 edition of The Advocate. The ATSB report highlights the need to upgrade Australian safety standards for low-adhesion braking conditions. The RTBU successfully argued for an upgrade to the level of new British standards, requiring trains to stop in all conditions with no greater than 5% additional distance travelled. All new rollingstock purchased by Queensland Rail must meet the new British standards. To deal with the problem of existing rollingstock it is proposed sanders, which pour sand onto brakes in wet conditions, will be fitted to all current 160 and 260 class units. It is hoped sanders will prevent a repeat of the train crash at Cleveland Station. Lifetime membership awarded to Don Previtera Congratulations to Don Previtera who was recently awarded a lifetime RTBU membership. Don has been a member and avid union supporter since joining the RTBU in He has helped members across the state, as a RTBU member and as a delegate, throughout his entire career in various roles. We wish Don all the best in all his future endeavours and were proud to award him a lifetime membership. Queensland Rail restructure merry-go-round continues The State Government continues to force restructuring by pushing for cost cutting wherever possible. The process threatens to severely compromise normal day-to-day operations, not only by reducing resources but also by adding endless confusion. Members should stay vigilant for restructuring measures affecting their ability to perform their job. If you have any concerns contact the Union immediately. The Union will report new and emerging developments. 14 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

15 Branch Council meeting Branch Council met on 18, 19 and 20 April to discuss upcoming agreements and future delegate training. Members will feel an even greater RTBU presence in the near future as we come to negotiate these agreements and, hopefully, organise more delegate training. Do you know the members of your Divisional Sub- Committee? These are the guys to talk to at your local depot when you face problems with management or your work. Whether you need advice on fair pay, leave entitlements, chasing back-pay or anything else, these guys are here to help you. Infrastructure Division Left to right: Andrew Wells, Ross Schimke, Richie Bates, Trent Howard, Col Greer, Dave Leonard Fleet, Manufacture, Overhaul, Maintenance and Servicing Division Left to right: Greg Tatnell, Barry Monaghan, Bruce Mackie, Ross Villiers, Ian Skau, Mark Beaven Rail Operations Division Left to right: Dee Jurd, Lance Barker, Craig Allen, Jacqueline Wright, Jullie Irving, Josie Burke Administrative Division Left to right: Kerry Heffernan, Noel Morris, David Smith, John Summers Locomotive Division Left to right (back): Wayne (Gus) Schroder, Wayne Peardon, Keith (Chook) Heinemann, John Dundas, Mal Williams, Kelvin Steer, Tony Daglish, Greg Jordan. Left to right (front): Gary Goodman, Carl Nielsen, Shayne Kummerfeld, Les Moffitt. Union News the advocate Winter

16 Bus and Tram Division report by David Matters, Bus and Tram Division Secretary and Jim Buttenshaw, Organiser Sorry Not in Service SEQ Bus Network Review debacle Brisbane buses at North Quay in the city. Buses back up at this intersection in all directions one of the issues that will need to be resolved in the future. On 19 March 2013 RBTU Bus and Tram Division Secretary David Matters addressed the chamber of Brisbane City Council about the State Government's South East Queensland Bus Network Review. David Matters vowed to stop the proposed changes to Brisbaneʼs bus routes. We need to save our services. We are going to be with you to stand up for Brisbane, he said. Released on 7 March, the review had recommended axing more than 100 bus routes, increasing the distance between bus stops and creating suburban transport hubs where many commuters would have to change buses to get into the city. In his reply to Davidʼs speech, Cr Peter Matic, Chairman of the Public and Active Transport Committee, said if implemented the proposed changes would completely and utterly change the way people got around. All the councillors here want to work effectively to convey the message to TransLink and to the ministerʼs office that the people of Brisbane are not happy, he said. Both sides of the chamber agreed the proposed changes to bus routes had to be stopped. Two days later it was all over. Minister for Transport Scott Emerson released a statement saying no bus services in Brisbane would change without agreement from Council. Lord Mayor Graham Quirk promptly took the proposed changes off the table and announced his own review. 16 Union News the advocate Winter 2013

17 What future for public transport? The SEQ Bus Network Review is dead in the water, in Brisbane at least. While it was a flawed proposal and poorly presented to the public, many of the underlying issues remain and will need to be tackled in future. Some of the issues are: Bus congestion. The bad bus congestion in the city is predicted to get much worse. Confusion. Unless youʼre a regular bus user, finding the right bus stop in the city is difficult. Empty buses. Many bus routes on average carry fewer than 7 passengers. Overlap. Most bus routes share bus stops with other routes. Frequency. Bus users like fast and frequent services. In Brisbane, 8 per cent of routes carry 44 per cent of passengers. Under-use at night. Most trips are between 7am and 7pm. According to David Matters the reviewʼs recommendations may have attempted to address these issues but it took the word serviceʼ away from buses. The axing of bus routes was an assault on the poorest and the most vulnerable in the community. The extent of the changes to routes would have put an enormous burden on drivers. It was a recipe for chaos, David said. Despite problems with the review, David said the RTBU was always open to bus service improvements. We have a world-class public transport system that needs continued investment and improvement to meet the needs of this growing region. The RTBU and our members have a vital role to play in the ongoing growth of Brisbaneʼs bus network, he said. Excerpts from David Matters' speech to Brisbane City Council I stand here amongst people, no matter what political party, who care about this city, who want to see these changes brought to a stop. They are taking the word serviceʼ away from buses. I have always been a patriot of Brisbane. I have always supported our great city. We have a world class public transport system that is under assault. We need to have the government support the people of Brisbane. We know we have had our differences as a union and an employer, but on this issue we donʼt have a difference. Together we want to stand up for Brisbane. Excerpts from Cr Peter Matic's reply Could I begin by thanking Mr Matters for his attendance today and for addressing the Chamber so eloquently on what is such an important issue for our city. Can I begin, of course, by acknowledging the work you do on behalf of your members and the way you work with this Council so well in providing the service we do to our city as a whole. We want to work hand-in-hand to convey the message to TransLink and to the ministerʼs office the people of Brisbane are not happy. We want to make sure that we protect that service for all of Brisbaneʼs residents now and in the future. Union News the advocate Winter

18 Donna Turner receives Uncle Bob Anderson Award In 2010 the QCU and its affiliates created an award to recognise an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander activist or delegate who has made a substantial contribution to the Union movement. After discussion and consultation with affiliates it was decided that the award would be known as the Dr Robert (Uncle Bob) Anderson Award, in recognition of a man who was the first Aboriginal organiser in Queensland and who has been a union member for more than 58 years. Donna Turner has been a great delegate and activist for the RTBU and works as a train driver out of Cloncurry. Previously she worked as an operational maintainer. Donna was enormously proud to receive this great award. Robert Vincent Anderson, or Bobby as he was known to his trade union mates, is a descendant of the Ngugi clan of Mulgumpin in the Quandamooka area of Moreton Bay, South East Queensland. An apprenticeship in carpentry led him to join the Building Workers Industrial Union (BWIU) in In 1963 he was elected as one of the state organisers. He was a delegate to the Queensland Trades and Labour Council and state organiser of the BWIU for fourteen years. Bob used his connections to work for the benefit of Aboriginal people in a number of ways. Recently, Bob was deputy chair of the Queensland Museum Board, chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee to the Queensland Museum Board and chair of the Queensland Reconciliation Committee. His contributions were recognised in 2000 when he received an honorary doctorate from Queensland University of Technology. The awards and honours bestowed on Uncle Bob include: the Premier s Award for Queensland Seniors (1997), the South East Queensland Indigenous Elder of the Year (1998), Honorary Doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology (2000), Citizen of the Year Brisbane (2001), Queensland Great (2001) and Medal of the Order of Australia (2001). Donna Turner is truly deserving of this award as she not only continues to achieve benefits for all members of the RTBU but goes above and beyond for a fairer outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members. Told by your employer to attend their doctor? If you ve been injured or on extended sick leave and told by your employer to hand over medical information or to see their doctor, what are your rights? While employers need to make sure their employees are medically fit to do their job, a request to provide medical information or attend a doctor is a different matter and one that needs to be carefully weighed up. Put simply, for the request to be lawful there must be a real need for it. There are many things to consider in deciding if being asked to see your employer s doctor or provide medical information is really needed. As a general rule, if you re asked about a medical condition which doesn t affect your ability to do your job, then you usually do not have to provide any information. However, if your condition might impact your ability to do your job, or may impact on what you need to do to comply with workplace health and safety, then you may have to discuss this, but seek advice first! If you re asked to attend your employer s doctor, tell them you will get back to them and call your union. The RTBU can help you to find out why this may be needed, give you some help on what questions you can expect, what information you may be asked to hand over and what this may mean in terms of your ability to do your job. If you do have to see a doctor, your employer should cover the cost even if they don t attend. It is generally not lawful for an employer to insist they come to the doctor s appointment with you. If you find yourself in this situation, involving your union is an important way to make sure you know your rights. It also shows your employer that you re taking the matter seriously. It might make them more careful about doing the right thing. If more specific advice is needed, the RTBU will speak with Maurice Blackburn s employment lawyers, who help RTBU members with free legal advice. If you have any questions about doctor visits and medical records, please call the RTBU on Union News the advocate Winter 2013

19 Who s who at the RTBU Queensland STATE President Bruce Mackie Queensland State Secretary Owen Doogan Industrial officers Peter Allen, Carla Jones Address Level 1, 457 Upper Edward Street Brisbane Qld 4000 phone Fax Web BRANCH ORGANISERS (Southern) Shayne Kummerfeld, Ross Schimke, Greg Talbot phone BRANCH ORGANISERs (Central) Craig Allen phone Fax Bruce Mackie (Sarina) mobile BRANCH ORGANISER (Northern) Les Moffitt phone Fax Bus Division SECRETARY David Matters Mobile ORGANISER Jim Buttenshaw Mobile phone Fax The Advocate Editor Owen Doogan Deputy Editor Peter Allen See you next year! Changed your details? Whether you ve changed job, moved house, switched bank account or mobile number, then the RTBU needs to know. If your details have changed, please fill out this form and send it to the RTBU, Level 1, 457 Upper Edward Street, Brisbane QLD Surname... Given names... Date of Birth address Postcode... Phone Numbers home... work... Mobile... Home... Work... Employer Queensland Rail Brisbane City Council Pacific National PNQ Transfield QRX Other... Occupation... Work Location (Unit, section & location)... Type of Employment Permanent Part Time Casual Fixed Term Trainee Apprentice Year... Method of Payment Credit Card Direct Debit Cheque/Money Order Payroll Deduction Signature... Union News the advocate Winter

20 No worries. Do you sleep better at night knowing you ve taken care of just in case? The RTBU health plan gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if the unexpected happens, you re in the driver s seat. Call us today for a quote or comparison with your current cover. RTBU members and their families receive: 5% discount off every one of our health cover choices An immediate waiver of all 2, 3 and 6-month waiting periods $150 petrol or grocery voucher (your choice), just to say thanks for coming on board! Plus... you ll receive a special RTBU health plan membership card that can be used for on-the-spot claims and fast assistance with a dedicated RTBU member helpline, and website. For a personal consultation, or to arrange a workplace visit for you and your team, contact Kate, your RTBU health plan consultant. Call Visit RT Health Fund /2681

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