As Newcastle and the Hunter area battled cyclonic conditions last week, strong union leadership kept our members off unsafe roads.
The storm brought some of the wildest weather in years to the city of Newcastle and surrounds. There were winds of up to 130km an hour, trees were down, as were power lines, houses were destroyed, people went missing, and there was flooding and general devastation in the community. The storm was described as a category 2 cyclone and later declared a natural disaster area.
As those drivers who were able to made their way to work that Tuesday morning they weren’t sure about the extent of the danger they would face on the roads.
As the winds grew stronger, so too did the fear amongst the workers, who gathered together at work, ready for duty, but concerned for their safety. In response union meetings were called at both Hamilton and Belmont depots to decipher which course of action would be taken.
No one wanted to risk their lives and those of the travelling public out in the wild and dangerous conditions and with strong leadership from the union embers wholeheartedly voted for the safest option: for the buses to remain off the roads until the conditions were proven to be safe.
As the day progressed members agreed that certain services could operate safely, which is then what happened.
The RTBU Newcastle membership were particularly united on that day and the strength and support they showed each other was quite remarkable. It was because of this unity that they managed to get through the day and night without too many concerns.
STA have advised the Union of their intention to commence the ‘State Transit Grow Perform Succeed Program’ (GPS) with Bus Operators. As a result you will be asked to sign an individual “Performance Agreement.”
The RTBU advises all members NOT to sign any documentation relating to the GPS program or any other document that resembles an individual performance agreement.
Members should note:
- STA Bus Operators are covered by a “Collective Agreement”
- Nobody can force you to sign your name
- Always take union representation into meetings with supervisors or management.
It took three RTBU members three days to get it perfect, but Burwood’s war memorial has now had its first proper clean in more than 30 years, just in time for Anzac Day.
RTBU delegate for Burwood depot Mark Delohery, bus operator Sandra Carroll and Institute Secretary Robert Boudan gave up their own time and worked in some pretty stormy conditions to clean the war memorial site. Robert cut back the overgrown hedges, Mark gave the footpath and the sandstone memorial a good clean with his pressure cleaner and Sandra brightened the area with flowers.
The memorial was sparkling clean and looking great for the Burwood depot’s Anzac Day Ceremony, where the flag was lowered to half mast and Staff supervisor Andrew Bryson read the speech of a digger who died at Gallipoli for Australia.
It was RTBU member Emad Moussa’s day off on Harmony Day this year. But instead of spending the day relaxing he decided he would treat his colleagues at Kingsgrove depot.
Emad prepared trays and trays of traditional Egyptian food and brought it in to the depot for everyone to enjoy. He fed around one hundred people and everyone agreed – the food was delicious!
“Emad is the sort of person who loves to make everyone happy,” said one of his colleagues at Kingsgrove depot.
The staff supervisors were impressed too, and they commended him on his great spirit and effort.
Harmony Day is held in March every year and celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity.
Do you know someone who has done something outstanding at your depot or on the roads? Dob in a great bus or tram driver by emailing email@example.com
Brookvale driver Sally Hill likes to channel her fitness into raising money for great causes.
The past few years she has done the Big Red Run to raise money for juvenile diabetes and this Anzac day she is taking on the Anzac Day Challenge.
The Anzac Day Challenge is a 100 kilometre run or walk through both the Ku-ring-ai and Garigal National Parks, finishing at Manly Dam. Sally is raising funds to support charities Soldier On and Mates 4 Mates for the care of those who have served our country and require ongoing support.
“Funds raised go to support the families of those affected by war. I will be competing in honour of my grandfather Thomas Hutchings who fought in New Guinea during the 2nd World War and is someone I was very close to growing up. My journey on Anzac Day will be very small compared to what our heroes endure during battle.”
You can help Sally raise much needed funds for the families of those affected by war by visiting her sponsorship page here.
Transport for NSW was in the media today announcing that it has set up a new stand alone office to deliver the project. But they have not yet explained how buses which currently travel up and down George street will be re-routed.
April has been a busy month for RTBU Tram and Bus Division delegates and deputy delegates.
Delegates from all depots got together for a two-day executive meeting covering all the important issues and around twenty relief delegates joined together for a full day of training. Here’s what participants had to say:
“I found the training session extremely helpful and I found out much information that was either unknown or unclear to me. The opportunity to question guest speakers and seek the opinions of the other attendees was invaluable. I feel much better equipped to perform my role as a relief delegate.”
“A fantastic and informative work day! I learnt so much about our union today and I have so much new information for my own benefit and that I can take back to my members at the depot. Thanks for the great day!”
Can you spot delegates from your depot in the pictures below?
For more pictures make sure you check out our very own Bus Express photo gallery here.
Smart commuters have figured Opal out.
For just $15 you can get a week’s worth of unlimited travel on all forms of transport using your Opal card – and get your weekly exercise at the same time.
So how are they doing it?
The most popular way seems to be the light rail stops at Pyrmont, where cash strapped commuters walk back and forth between The Star and Pyrmont Bay stops about 27 times.
That’s just under 6 kilometres, apparently – so its good exercise, too.
It’s the Opal card’s strange fare structure that allows commuters to beat the system and it’s perfectly legal.
Find out exactly how it works by reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Why did you become involved in the union? I’ve always been a unionist – I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t part of a union. I always thought that the working man should be treated more fairly than how he generally is treated. And as the industrial relations environment is getting more and more draconian every day, I want to stand by the guys I work with.
What are your hobbies and interests? Fishing! I’ve just bought a boat with my son in law so that’s a great opportunity to go out fishing with my four grandkids. I also follow Manchester United – I was born in Manchester.
Where do you live and why do you like it? I live in Freshwater. It’s 10 minutes from the beach and I can put my boat on the back and be at a boat ramp in 20 min. The Northern beaches is a fantastic place. I’ve never looked back.
Who would you like to have dinner with (dead or alive) and why? I love having dinner with my four grandkids, two daughters and their spouses. It’s great fun. I’d also have Manchester United’s George Best come along. He’s a famous footballer from Northern Ireland who played in the late 60s, early 70s. He used to be nicknamed El Beatle because he used to dress like the Beatles and had girls hanging off his arms. He was a great bloke. I’d love to sit down and talk to him.
Narelle Sinclair has a long history of standing up for workers rights. She was the union delegate at Brookvale depot for more than seven years before being recently elected to branch council.
Narelle is now one of the RTBU’s Affirmative Action Delegates and is on the Women’s Campaign Committee.
Here’s what Narelle says about her new role:
“The transport industry is very male-dominated and it’s important that women support each other both in the workplace and through the union.
That’s why we need Affirmative Action Delegates and the Women’s Campaign Committee – to stand up for women in the workplace.
We want to see women in our industry empowered so they understand their rights, feel they can ask when they need assistance, and are confident to apply for positions in their organisations and in the union.
Employers also are obliged to ensure that women are given equal opportunity in the workplace, and we aim to hold them to account.
The Women’s Campaign Committee has already had a big win for women and that was getting the domestic violence clause in the Bus Operators award which gives victims five days of paid leave. This has since been included in the Salaried Officers award for State Transit.”
- Narelle Sinclair, RTBU Affirmative Action Delegate
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- Still no answers on light rail re-routing 18 May, 2015
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