The Guardian • Issue #2092

WA: Rail, Bus, and Tram Unions (RBTU) stop work for a better pay deal

Perth railway station.

Perth railway station. Photo: denisbin – (CC BY-ND 2.0)

On 14 March members, delegates and officials of the RBTU stopped work and held a meeting outside the Perth Train Station in Western Australia. They were joined by other members of the Public Sector Alliance including the United Workers Union, Health Services Union, Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association and State School Teachers Union to formally reject the offer of a three-year deal identical to that offered to teachers – 4.75 per cent in the first year and 3 per cent for each of the following two years.

The State Secretary of the RBTU Western Australia, Joshua Dekuyer addressed the rally to say the union had been waiting for nine months for an offer from the government on their claim for 12 per cent over two years and only received it the night before the rally after the rally was threatened. The government also asked them to call the rally off.

They refused, and this lead to the 200 plus unionists assembling outside the Perth Train Station.  Dekuyer said that members had put up with seven years of austerity-level wages which had significantly reduced the real income levels of his members. The members have endorsed a campaign of industrial action of not checking train tickets and not issuing fines for not having a valid ticket starting on Friday 22 March, and continuing the last Friday of every month, with an escalation of that action until a worthwhile offer is received.

Other state public sector unions can expect to receive the same offer, signifying that it will only be united and resolute industrial action which will prompt the government to improve their offer to the RBTU and other public sector unions.

The Communist Party of Australia supports the campaign of industrial action by the RBTU to secure a better wages outcome from the government to lift the incomes of RBTU members who have seen cost of living pressures erode their real wage levels over the last seven years.

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