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METRO and V/Line trains could simultaneously grind to a halt causing transport chaos in Melbourne as a pay-and-conditions fight escalates.
V/Line staff are furious that a new EBA has not been inked despite striking the same pay jackpot that Metro Trains workers received last year.
The Herald Sun can reveal a major deal-breaker has been that V/Line will not give in to the Rail Tram and Bus Union’s demand of paying workers on call for eight-hour shifts even if they are not working.
Other sticking points are trauma leave, the dispute resolution process to make it tougher to be sacked, and RDOs for signals staff.
Regional train passengers have already faced five months of disruption with buses replacing V/Line trains while wheel wear issues and boomgate faults are fixed.
The union, which is already in a pay-and-conditions battle over Metro’s infrastructure works, is plotting chaos and plans to roll out simultaneous strikes on the Metro and V/Line networks for full impact and to hold CBD rallies that would disrupt some trams.
Passengers cram onto one of the last trains during a strike last year. Picture: David Crosling
The union is plotting to roll out simultaneous strikes on the Metro and V/Line networks.
Jacinta Allan hopes an agreement can be reached soon. Picture: Chris EastmanEmbattled Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan will be under pressure to secure a deal to avoid a network-wide shutdown throwing the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of commuters into turmoil.
The RTBU has lodged an application at the Fair Work Commission for protected action against V/Line.
Its armoury of disruption tactics includes an unlimited number of one-, four-, 24- and 48-hour stoppages, free travel days, a ban on uniforms, overtime bans and no roster changes.
The RTBU last year secured a 17 per cent pay increase over four years for its operational staff including train drivers, ticket inspectors and frontline workers. By the end of the deal, some train drivers will reap more than $140,000.
But the union is now at war with Metro’s infrastructure division over pay and conditions and has threatened to also strike for up to 48 hours.
While any strike would not include train drivers, many would back the infrastructure workers and call in sick, and many trains would not run because the infrastructure workers are needed for safety.
RTBU branch secretary Luba Grigorovitch said members wanted industrial action to happen 10 months ago but she held off in the hope of a new EBA being signed.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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