|Issue No 27||20 August 1999|
Rail Security: Scully Cuts Staff as Assaults Rise
Transport Minister Carl Scully's push to slash rail station staff has run off the rails with more statistics highlighting the rise is platform assaults.
Scully was this week forced to release statistics showing a 400 per cent increase on the City Circle line in the first six months of the year, after the Opposition obtained the figures under Freedom of Information laws.
Rail Bus and Tram Union secretary Nick Lewocki says the figures vindicate union opposition to the governments push to cut station staff, with another proposal this week to take static security guards off 19 city and outer urban railway stations.
"The RBTU currently has a proposal before CityRail to establish a CityRail ByLaws employee position which will undertake security on stations, customer service and revenue protection during peak hours," Lewocki says.
He says these positions would allow the private security guards on trains to be withdrawn, saving the government $35 million per annum and refocussing personnel to violence hot spots - the stations rather than the trains.
CityRail and the RBTU are due to report back to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on September 13 on the process of negotiations over this proposal.
Country Rail faces Stoppages
Meanwhile, rail workers have authorised the RBTU to call stop work meetings across the state over the Carr Government's plans to cut pay rates for CoutryLink staff.
Lewocki says CountryLink has hired private consultants to benchmark award rates against the private sector, with threats to tender the work out if wages aren't reduced.
RBTU members authorised the action while condemning the Carr government and passing a vote of no confidence in CountryLink management.
"If public sector awards are to be abolished in the railways, then this process will flow through to all public employees and will require a coordinated public sector campaign of opposition," Lewocki says.
Music to our ears
And finally, the RBTU has decided to pun-ish Scully with this response to his plans to improve rail security via Beethoven.... in this letter to the Labor Council.
Transport Minister Carl Scully's off beat proposal to provide music to deter station crime, is out of tune with commuters, who perceive him to be merely blowing his own trumpet with this poorly orchestrated stunt.
What commuters really require, are real solutions, which would be music to their ears not just fiddling about beating his own drum.
He has also hit a sour note with rail staff and unions who in harmony, would offer a chorus of support if he hit the right note on this issue.
The Minister could castanet of security by retaining rail staff on stations rather than private security guards with limited strings to their bows whose powers are merely cymbalic.
He should stop beating his own drum, singing his own praises and get in tune with commuters and rail staff before crime levels reach a crescendo.
We bet him a tenor that this will not reach a finale until the fat lady sings.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005