||Issue No. 190||08 August 2003|
Interview: The New Deal
Unions: In the Line of Hire
Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
International: The Domino Effect
Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Poetry: Just Move On.
Review: Reality Bites
The Locker Room
The Fifth Column
SRA Chief Off The Rails
The unions have foreshadowed a ‘summer of discontent’ for rail passengers if Costa does not pull his chief bureaucrat Vince Graham into line and direct him to work with unions as he prepares a restructure that threatens 600 jobs.
They are furious that Graham has released details of the proposed merger of State Rail Authority with the Rail Infrastructure Corporation direct to the media prior to presenting them to unions, in direct breach of undertakings Costa made when taking over as Transport Minister.
Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Nick Lewocki says unions are witnessing a 'softening-up period' where he is floating the need for major job cuts through the media.
"This is very destablising," Lewocki says. "This industry has been pulled apart that many times it's a joke. Workers don't know what the future is and they ring the union and we can't tell them because we are not being told what's going on. We demand that the Minister pull this guy into line."
Professional staff are also concerned, APESMA's Phil Marchionni saying his members feel the rail industry has become a 'political football'.
"The men and women employed in the NSW Rail family labour stoically to provide a high level of service," Marchionni says. "Too often they are let down by inadequate funding, frequent restructuring and ill-informed commentary.
Australian Services Union president Sally McManus, responsible for station staff says her members are yet to be convinced that Vince Graham is prepared to work with the unions in a truly consultative manner.
"His actions to date have demonstrated a lack of preparedness to consult Unions with vital information on restructure working parties," McManus says. "Six hundred jobs are at stake.":
"The Minister needs to understand that if there is not proper consultation, the unions may be left with no option other than to pursue our collective interests.
"If this occurs, NSW rail users might find themselves facing a long hot summer of discontent if their train services are disrupted by our industrial action/"
NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson has called for an urgent meeting with the Minister. "All I know is that if the Minister was in his former position he would expect nothing less than a Minister of a Labor Government committing to consult with the unions."
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