South Australian passenger rail workers to commence stop work actions this week

Adelaide Metro passenger rail workers will commence stop work actions tomorrow following an escalation in their dispute with private operator Keolis Downer Adelaide (KDA) over pay and conditions.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) SA/NT Secretary Darren Phillips said last week the RTBU notified KDA of a number of low-level protected industrial actions, however several actions were withdrawn in response to a legal challenge from KDA.

Mr Phillips said low-level actions were to include:

  • Talking to members of the public about why rail workers are seeking a fair pay rise;
  • Placing RTBU stickers on rail assets;
  • Wearing RTBU clothing; and
  • Placing a ban on overtime.

The proposed industrial actions that were withdrawn included:

  • A ban on Passenger Service Assistants helping out with Platform Controller duties;
  • A ban on Passenger Service Assistants checking tickets; and
  • A ban on reporting graffiti.

Mr Phillips said the threats from KDA over these low-level industrial actions meant that workers were left with no remaining industrial option other than work stoppages.

As such, work stoppages will commence tomorrow.

Work stoppages are planned for:

  • Thursday 11 April – 10 am to 2 pm (4 hours)
  • Tuesday 16 April – 6 am to 8 am (2 hours)
  • Wednesday 17 April – 4 pm to 6 pm (2 hours).

Mr Phillips said it was extraordinary that KDA had opted to escalate the Enterprise Agreement dispute in this manner.

“While we did meet earlier this week, we are yet to see satisfactory improvements in the wage offer.

“The low-level and what we say are legitimate industrial actions, planned would not have had any impact on the travelling public, but KDA has taken a heavy-handed approach by threatening to dock the pay of workers and has taken the workers’ union to court.

“This means the options to advance member’s claims are limited, and therefore stop work actions will take place.

“The upcoming work stoppages in the peak times will be held during school holidays, which will minimise disruptions to families.

“It is clear, however, that KDA does not care about the service it provides to the people of South Australia.

“All it cares about is sucking as much profit out of South Australians as it possibly can before operations are handed back to the State Government next year.

“This is appalling behaviour by a ruthless profit-driven multi-national, and it just demonstrates once again why the privatisation of South Australia’s public transport operations was such an unmitigated disaster.”

Mr Phillips said rail workers would not be intimidated by the bullying tactics of KDA.

“South Australian rail workers have received below-inflation pay rises for a number of years, and as such they have borne the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis,” Mr Phillips said.

“It’s time to even up the score.  Rail workers are seeking a fair and reasonable deal that restores some of their lost real wages, and protects their existing conditions of employment.”