Sep 1

Workplace bullying – we need your input

Bullying in the workplace is problem that many of us have unfortunately experienced at some stage in our careers.

While we know it is a problem, including in the transport industry, very little research has been done into the issue. We need your assistance to help change that.

In an attempt to better understand bullying and harassment a Charles Sturt University Honours student is conducting a study into the area. Specifically, the aim of the study is to determine whether a casual link exists between the negative act of workplace bullying and harassment and the behaviour of employees within an organisation when mediated by perceived organisation support.

The RTBU is asking members to take the time to participate in this important research by filling out an anonymous online questionnaire. Click here to begin the survey

This survey is anonymous and entirely voluntary. No identifying factors about you or your organisation are requested and you may withdraw from the survey at any time.

If you have any concerns or would like to speak to your union about bullying in the workplace, please don’t hesitate to contact your local delegate, organiser or RTBU office.

Aug 29

Working With Children Check Update

Whilst members are very willing to participate in any improvements to child protection, the RTBU has fought this unfair cash grab from employees since it was announced.

Divisional President, Gary Way was the first Union Official to publicly raise the issue at Unions NSW.

The legislation is silent on who must pay this five yearly application fee, however, the State Government has instructed all agencies to pass the fee on to employees.

The Working With Children Clearance is not limited to the Public Sector but affects all employees working with children. As a result other Unions in NSW have joined this dispute.

As this matter has widespread coverage and following constant representations from the RTBU and other Unions, Unions NSW has now taken carriage of this matter and as such it has coordinated a dispute to cover all Unions.

This dispute is listed for hearing at the Industrial Relations Commission in Sydney in the coming weeks.

Aug 25

Disgraceful attack on Newcastle rail services

The Newcastle railway line is being truncated at Wickham, meaning commuters will have to change transport modes to travel direct to the Newcastle CBD.

Commuters from the Hunter region (eg Maitland, Dungog, Scone) will no longer be able to get directly into the heart of Newcastle. The State Government has provided no evidence why this change is necessary or how this will effect public transport.
Newcastle rail protest
The NSW Government claims that this change to the railway line will increase patronage are dubious.  Research on transport patronage shows that increased financial and time costs, as well as the requirement of changing modes, discourage a large proportion of people from using public transport.

There are deep community concerns that this is a plan that benefits only property developers, who want access to the rail corridor. Community consultation on the removal of the rail line has not occurred and there has only been limited consultation on the rouse of the light rail.

Any light rail network should be an addition to, not a replacement for, the current rail service.

With the resignation of various Hunter MP’s over questions of corruption and the recent resignation of the Newcastle Lord Mayor who is a property developer, all existing decisions around the future of the Newcastle rail line must be put on hold.

The RTBU consistently stands in solidarity with the Newcastle community with a visible presence at organised gatherings in an effort to stop Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s outrageous plans to trash rail transport in Newcastle.

Aug 15

Vale Robert Takac

Robert TakacVale Robert Takac
1976 – 2014

It was with great sadness that members of Leichhardt RTBU learned of the passing of  Bus Operator Robert Takac, who transferred from Randwick Depot to Leichhardt in 2012. Robert had been with State Transit since 2001.

Robert took up a part time position with Leichhardt Depot and was an exemplary employee and excellent union member. Robert was a quit spoken gentle person who kept to himself but was always willing to help his fellow employees with a smile and a can do attitude. He will be greatly missed.

 

 

 

Aug 12

Carer’s Leave dispute

Following a long running dispute between the Union and STA about when members can use a “Statutory Declaration” for Carer’s Leave,
the following arrangements were put in place during Industrial Relations Commission Proceedings:

“Statutory Declarations can be used for 5 days of Carer’s Leave per year, unless you are on the Absence Management Program”.

NSW IRC Commissioner Tabba will monitor these arrangements, with a “Report Back” scheduled for around three months time.  The Union
is confident of a positive final outcome.

 

Aug 12

More security issues on our public transport network

Last week we saw another significant security incident on the Sydney bus network when a group of drunken teenagers harassed young children from Jewish schools in the eastern suburbs.

Contrary to some inaccurate media reports, there were no restrictions on this school special which was obligated to pick up all school students and the driver is a capable and sensible professional with over 30 years experience behind the wheel.

The RTBU has consistently called for better security on our buses.

The union continues the Keep Us Safe campaign and encourages all drivers to report incidents against their personal safety at http://rtbuexpress.com.au/safe/

Aug 11

Meet your local delegate: Ashish Sarker

AshProfile – Ashish Sarker, RTBU delegate for Tempe depot

1. Why did you become involved in the union?
I enjoy communicating with other people and teams to solve problems. The union is constantly challenged to maintain and improve our working conditions. Via communication and unity we are stronger, hence my favouritye slogan is “Let’s work together to make it better!”.

2. What are your hobbies and interests?
In my spare time I like to try new foods (extra chilli please!) with friends and watch and partcipate in some sports.

3. Where do you live and why do you like it?
I live in the Hills District of Sydney it is close to restaurants and parks.

4. Who would you like to have dinner with (dead or alive) and why?
Candlelight dinner with my lovelly wife. I would go to dinner with my wife
daughter before anyone else dead or alive.

 

Aug 10

Bus union calls for extra security following assault

RTBU Bus Division Secretary, Chris Preston, is interviewed by NBN TV outside the Hamilton Depot

RTBU Bus Division Secretary, Chris Preston, is interviewed by NBN TV outside the Hamilton Depot

The Rail Tram and Bus Union is demanding extra security on buses travelling between Charlestown and Newcastle, following a serious assault.

A 21-year-old man was attacked by a group of teenagers while using the service, with one setting fire to his hair.

Watch the story that aired on NBN TV News on 9 August 2014

Aug 8

Bus drivers demand action following passenger assault on Newcastle night bus

The NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is calling for urgent action to secure driver and passenger safety on Newcastle night bus services after a man in his 20s was assaulted on the 100 service from Charlestown last night.

RTBU Bus Division President Gary Way said a group of about 20 young people first began causing trouble on a bus to Charlestown and were ejected by that driver for anti-social behavior.

Police were in attendance and the group continued their poor behaviour – swearing at the police.

The same group then caught the next bus service and the driver asked the police to assist by riding the bus until the trouble-makers got off. The police refused and said buses have their own transport police.

Within 15 mins a passengers’ hair was set on on fire and was physically assaulted, requiring medical attention.

“The State Transit Authority and local police need to take control of the late night 100 services to and from Charlestown to stop anyone else from being abused before there is an even more serious assault or fatality,” Mr Way said today.

“The Union finds it unacceptable that the experienced driver of the bus where the assault took place was refused police support when clearly there was a dangerous situation brewing.

“Most bus drivers have not seen any transport police on local late night services.

“Bus drivers are not security guards – they need the support of police and their employers to help protect themselves and their passengers.

“This is not a one-off outbreak of violence on this service, there was an assault on the same bus service last week and it has a reputation as a risky service for drivers and passengers alike.

“The Union calls for security guards or transit police on Newcastle late night bus services – particularly those which service Charlestown and are known for problem behaviour.

“If The NSW Government is committed to improving security on public transport it needs to act to end the known danger on the  late night Newcastle bus services,” Mr Way said.

Aug 8

Man has hair set on fire on public bus

Newcastle bus

AN incident where a man’s hair was set on fire while aboard a Newcastle bus has been called one of the ‘‘worst’’ violent assaults the transport union has been made aware of.

The NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) also slammed police for ignoring a bus driver’s request for help with a large group of people before the attack took place.

Police say that the bus driver should have refused to take the rowdy group of people in the first place.

The first sign of trouble occurred at 9.40pm on Thursday when a large group of 30 to 40 people, who appeared intoxicated, tried to board a bus at Charlestown Square.

The bus driver of the 100service kicked them off because of their antisocial behaviour.

Police, who were paid by Charlestown Square to patrol the area, attended the scene and the large group of people started swearing at them.

When another bus pulled up, the group of people boarded it.

The second bus driver asked the police to get on and help him until the troublemakers got off.

The officers declined because of duties at Charlestown Square.

Within 15 minutes, when the bus reached Croudace Street in Lambton, a brawl broke out and people began punching a 22-year-old man.

The victim then had his hair set on fire and eventually had to be taken to John Hunter Hospital.

The offenders forced open the door of the bus and made a getaway.

Newcastle police attended the scene quickly and used a dog to find a number of suspects in a nearby street, who are assisting them with inquiries.

RTBU bus division president Gary Way said it was not a one-off outbreak of violence and there needed to be more security guards or transit police on  late-night bus services.

‘‘The assault on this person was so vicious that we can’t stand by and say nothing,’’ he said.

‘‘This is one of the worse incidents of violent assaults on public transport I’ve been made aware of.

‘‘I don’t know why the people of Newcastle are being treated like second-rate citizens; late night transport services out of Kings Cross have a security.’’

He also said it was unacceptable police refused to support the bus driver.

A spokesman for Lake Macquarie police has defended the actions of the officers at Charlestown Square, saying the officers advised the driver he did not have to take the group of people.

The spokesman said that because the police were paid by Charlestown Square to patrol the area, they could not leave.

‘‘[The driver] was informed that as the officers were committed to other duties as user-pays police they could not accompany the bus,’’ the spokesman said.

North Central Police Transport Command Inspector Paul Kelly said that transit police were working on another job at Newcastle at the time of the incident. He said they were adequately resourced.

‘‘Our roster, tasking and strategies are evidence based and intelligence based,’’ he said.

‘‘On a Thursday night, four to six staff are tasked to work and that includes patrolling areas such as the bus routes at Kotara and Charlestown Square.’’

Article by Ashleigh Gleeson originally published in the Newcastle Herald