||Issue No. 265||27 May 2005|
Hit and Myth
Interview: Fortress NSW
Unions: Fashions Afield
Industrial: Pay Dirt
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Big Day Out
International: Making History
Economics: The Fear Factor
Review: The Robots Revolt
Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The Locker Room
One Hell Of A Job
US Fan Mail
Guard Attached, Then Sacked
"RailCorp are not protecting their own workers or the public," says Phillip Kessey from the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU). "Here we have undesirable characters who have more rights than rail workers."
The guard had requested a passenger extinguish a cigarette. Instead the passenger got off the train and began hurling abuse at the guard, threatening to kill him.
Two weeks after this incident the same passenger noticed the guard on another train at Fairfield and ran down the stairs hurling abuse and threats.
The guard got off his train in a bid to deal with the matter in a way that would not endanger passengers on his train.
The passenger ran at the guard, who took evasive action, however, a very short struggle ensued.
Despite no complaint from the passenger the guard was sacked for entering into a physical struggle.
The guard appealed to the Transport Appeal Board, RailCorp's 'independent umpire', but his appeal was dismissed. Evidence was given at the Board that the passenger was undesirable and that he was "well known" to station staff and police.
"RailCorp is fostering a 'blame the worker culture' and using dismissal as a first step in any disciplinary action rather than conducting proper internal investigations," says RTBU secretary, Nick Lewocki. "The guards have expressed concern that this style of management is being endorsed by the Transport Appeals Board who is supposed to be the independent umpire."
"This situation makes the work of honest rail workers almost impossible and severely restricts their ability to provide a quality service to the travelling public of NSW."
In another case a guard with 9 years service was dismissed after RailCorp received a complaint claiming the guard had something in his hand and was attempting to take a photo or "something like that".
The guard appealed to the Transport Appeals Board where the allegation he faced was dismissed - despite this the Board confirmed the decision of RailCorp to dismiss the guard.
"The guy walked in the door defending one allegation, " says Kessey. "But they found him guilty of something else and he walked out without a job."
Train guards called for stop work meetings if the current culture within RailCorp management is not addressed.
The RTBU wants to see a review of the process of how complaints against RailCorp staff dealing directly with the public are investigated, rules of evidence and procedural fairness introduced into internal investigation processes, and a review of the Transport Appeals Board's role as an independent umpire.
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