The Guardian July 24, 2002


CityRail station job cuts

The NSW State Government is planning to radically reduce staff levels at 
railway stations on the State's South Coast. Warning of the cuts came as a 
State Rail executive and CityRail manager conducted a "staff review 
process" at the stations. No doubt the Government would see the job losses 
as a positive outcome of the process.

Staffing levels have already been severely reduced and this has impacted 
upon the lives of State Rail workers and the travelling public. Further 
cuts will only exacerbate the situation.

The railway system is already in crisis following years of economic 
rationalist policies of successive state governments.

Previous "reforms" have resulted in:

* the restructuring of traditional work arrangements to the detriment of 
workers;
* minuscule pay increases for workers;
* the promotion of overtime at the expense of full-time jobs;
* reductions in work conditions;
* enforcing additional work when short staffed i.e. workers doing two jobs 
or more;
* utilisation of increased casual and part-time positions;
* using casuals to fill the master roster;
* "Co-operation" clauses in industrial agreements;
* outsourcing to private companies, i.e. bus marshals, maintenance, 
cleaning, and security;
* favourable (to the private sector) leasing arrangements and outsourcing 
practices;
* outdated rolling-stock;
* increased cost of tickets.

So what does this have to do with the staff review?

CityRail workers have already seen their workloads increase dramatically 
over the last few years. While the Government has offered little or no 
excuse for the increase, it has continually assured the workers it will 
"look into the matter".

So far nothing has been done about it  management is quite happy to see 
the workers at State Rail with an increased burden.

Staff say the situation is not good enough and must be remedied.

With a new EBA looming the issue of increased permanent employment and 
increased station staffing levels must be priority issues  for the sake 
of the workers at State Rail and for the travelling public.

Recently, NSW bus drivers received great public support for the actions 
they took in relation to their EBA, and there is little doubt that the 
workers at State Rail would receive no less support, especially in light of 
a spate of recent accidents and revelations of structural decay.

The Communist Party of Australia's Maritime & Transport Branch said, "The 
public are already feeling threatened when standing on empty station 
platforms, and are angry they are being denied the assistance that station 
staff once so readily offered to commuters".

"We view all CityRail staff as essential. The public expects and deserves a 
train service to get them from one station to another in a safe, efficient 
and convenient manner.

"It is also the expectation of the many workers who would like to provide 
that type of service to the public."

The Maritime & Transport Branch has called for:

* an end to staff "downsizing";
* full-time positions as the acceptable form of railway employment;
* a significant pay increase for State Rail employees;
* full employment to include sufficient training courses and other courses 
to retain workers;
* services such as childcare facilities, re-establishment of the NSW 
Railway Employees Welfare Fund within SRA;
* an independent Office of the Rail Safety Inspectorate as per the 
Glenbrook Inquiry recommendations;
* provision of canteen and gymnasium facilities;
* an end to the sale of State Rail assets;
* an end to the outsourcing work to private enterprises who make huge 
profits that would have ultimately ended up in the public purse or as lower 
fares.

It is high time the Government and CityRail recognise and properly reward 
the people who actually make the railways work  the workers.

The CPA's Maritime and Transport Branch said, "The time has come for the 
workers to receive not give. And if that requires industrial action going 
into the next EBA negotiations, the CPA will stand with them shoulder to 
shoulder in their just fight."

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