||Issue No. 253||25 February 2005|
And The Battle Begins
Economics: Super Seduction
Interview: Bono and Me
Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Technology: From Widgets to Digits
Education: Dumb and Dumber
Health: No Place for the Young
History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
Review: Dare to Win
Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
The Locker Room
Just One Thing
No Dosh For Rupert
Executions Not Fines
Howard Needs To Know
For Sale - Goulburn
The secret was uncovered when a manager at the workshop let the cat out of the bag to an AMWU member, according to state secretary, Paul Bastian.
The decision to sell Goulburn comes as the State Government finalises plans to privatise maintenance across the rail network.
Bastian said privatisation and contracting had been behind many of the problems besieging the NSW rail network in recent months.
He said public safety could not be guaranteed when everything from brakes and other components, right up to entire rail cars are imported from overseas.
"When you're hurtling down the tracks on a crowded peak hour train, its not much comfort to know that you're riding on the cheapest possible tender price" Bastian said.
"This plan will also cost jobs - particularly in regional NSW.
"We already have a major skills crisis. We can't start to compete on exports if we've exported all ours skills!"
Mr Bastian said that the problems in rail were compounded by the state Government's lack of action to keep ship building contracts in NSW.
The AMWU and AWU have both accused the Carr government of "welshing" on longstanding rail infrastructure assurances.
The state's Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC) was today considering two private expressions of interest, one from a US consortium, to buy the 30-year-old Goulburn Rail workshop.
Sixty highly-skilled staff, responsible for building wagons, general engineering, and building and maintaining the network's bridges, have been delivered an ultimatum - move to whoever buys the concern or quit.
Meanwhile, state pollies are tight-lipped about plans to knock-off the design, construction and maintenance of 500 electrical passenger carriages, under the guise of Public Private Partnership (PPP).
Only 20 percent of the $1.8 billion contract has been earmarked for NSW with the rest open to international tender.
AMWU attempts to get an explanation for the repudiation of Ministerial assurances work would remain in the state have drawn a blank.
The union estimates 2400 skilled jobs could be lost if the tender goes offshore - 800 existing rail employees, 800 more at private engineering firms in Sydney and the Hunter Valley, and as many again in downstream services.
NSW's content commitment is being compared unfavourably with the 80 percent demanded by federal government on a multi-billion dollar contract for new naval vessels.
"The significance of these tenders to the future of the rolling stock industry cannot by overestimated," Bastian says. "The loss of more skilled workers has long-term implications, for job security, regional economies and the future of our skills base.
Organiser Mark Hoban fingered RIC CEO, Bob Pentecost, as the architect of the Goulburn sell-off plan.
"Pentecost has got form but we are onto him," Hoban said. "He was responsible for selling large chunks of Telstra and has brought the same mentality to rail."
Unions NSW will co-ordinate a campaign amongst sector workers to oppose the sell-off of rail infrastructure.
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