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Issue #1905      March 2, 2020


RTBU: The dispute with Yarra Trams has come to the bargaining table. On Tuesday 25th February, RTBU Tram & Bus Division released a statement that said that the Andrews Government has come to an agreement with RTBU and Yarra Trams. A few days earlier, on the 20th February the Andrews Government was planning to put in an application with Fair Work Commission to either terminate or suspend RTBU’s protected industrial action so that the extra tram services for the Grand Prix event could go ahead as promised without disruptions. The agreement is for RTBU to withdraw its industrial action, for the Government and Yarra Trams to withdraw its application to the Fair Work Commission, and for the Government to mediate the dispute, with attendance from Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, when necessary.

On the 20th February, Minister Melissa Horne also made disgusting anti-working class statements by characterising the dispute as “a handful of middle aged blokes hell bent on protecting their interests by not allowing part time women into the workforce.” The attempts of Yarra Tram to divide RTBU and make false appeals to women workers (Guardian #1902) is disappointing to see from supposedly pro-union Labor member, Melissa Horne, in her echoing of Yarra Trams’ position. In an open letter to Melissa Horne, Victorian Branch Secretary, Luba Grigorovitch, mentioned how these comments were “just parrot[ing] the lines of a French multinational” and how the part-time shifts proposed are during times of school drops-offs and pick-ups, making the part-time shifts “impossible for workers with childcare and caring responsibilities.”

RTBU Victoria’s week was made even tougher by the deaths of two rail workers on 21st February in which the XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne derailed in Wallan, Victoria. Luba Grigorovitch stated that the incident might have been avoided if Victorian rules were followed, in which a speed is limited to 25km/h over dangerous track lines, rather than the national rules under the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

HOSPO VOICE: Workers at Grill’d were approaching a fourth and final meeting with management (Guardian #1903). Grill’d management has continued to refuse to accept Hospo Voice’s claim in the new EA. It has rejected to pay overtime, to increase base wage, to ensure a minimum thirteen-hour work week, and to change to the “exploitative traineeship scam” as Grill’d workers describe it. The only changes to what was reported on is that management have agreed to ensure a ten hour minimum break between shifts in the new EA. Workers at Grill’d will vote on the proposed EA in the middle of March. Hospo Voice delegates for Grill’d will be encouraging workers to vote NO to the proposed EA.

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