||Issue No. 260||22 April 2005|
Interview: [email protected]
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
True Lies at RailCorp
Media statements by the CEO Vince Graham blamed drivers taking "sickies" for late running trains, but figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request reveal that there was no campaign, only a shortage of drivers.
Driver sick leave numbers obtained by the RTBU from Sunday, 1 August 2004 to Tuesday, 30 November 2004 showed that there was an average of 34 drivers sick with 1350 planned to be rostered per day.
During this period there were only two occasions when more than 60 drivers were sick and never at any time during this period where there were more than 60 drivers sick on a continuous basis, as claimed by RailCorp.
The real reason for delays was exposed when figures showed that RailCorp was between 53-118 drivers short per day of the planned number of drivers over this period.
Nick Lewocki Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary says the Railcorp and the government's strategy was to pit one group of workers against another,"
"They wanted to eliminate the goodwill in the community for rail workers and divert attention away from senior management's inability to manage the rail system," Lewocki says.
Information provided by RailCorp prompted Sydney newspaper Columnist Miranda Divine to write, "train drivers taking sick days grind the system to a standstill"; and that "A group is also suspected of using sickies to sabotage a vulnerable rail system."
The RTBU says that the RailCorp strategy was employed during Enterprise Agreement negotiations to make the agreement about one group of workers and not the whole workforce.
RailCorp's strategy backfired when angry train users, led by Rebecca "Captain Commuter" Turner, got behind rail workers, undermining the state government's strategy of trying to blame rail workers for the system's chronic unreliability.
"Accusations made by senior RailCorp management and politicians were achieved by distorting figures to mislead the public," says Lewocki. "The RailCorp Board should insist that senior RailCorp management adhere to the Code of Workplace Standards that require all Railcorp employees to behave honestly, ethically and truthfully,"
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