|Issue No 39||12 November 1999|
Y2K Bug Bites Rail Bookings
Reservations for country rail services have been plunged into chaos by the botched roll-out of a new Y2K compliant computer booking system.
Rail unions say bookings for CountryLink rail services are taking up to 90 minutes to process, with workers reporting abuse from members of the public because of the frustration and delays.
Both the Rail Tram and Bus Union and the Australian Services Union imposed bans on working on the reservations system, claiming the new system has been a disaster. Workers Online understands a senior manager has been sacked over the stuff-up.
"Bookings are taking up to one and a half hours to complete, multiple bookings are difficult to coordinate, CityRail stations have had booking terminals withdrawn resulting in passenger frustration, abuse against our membership and loss of customers that will in the future be used against our members to justify job cuts," they say.
The ASU's George Panigirs says a number of members have been placed on stress leave following the roll-out.
The unions are currently involved in a working party with CityRail to rectify the problems, but the RTBU's Nick Lewocki says he's not confident they can be solved, He says the Minister of Transport and State Rail may need to commit money to replace or upgrade the new system.
National Rail Spits Dummy
Meanwhile, the National Rail Corporation has threatened to shut down its freight service if workers maintain bans over long-running enterprise negotiations
The Rail Tram and Bus Union says the talks are deadlocked because of the Corporation's - jointly run by the federal, NSW and Victorian governments - refusal to discuss the unions' log of claims.
Tensions have increased in recent weeks after management took punitive action against the union and its members, including removal of payroll deduction for union fees and forcing all workers who call in sick to be picked up by a company taxi and taken to a company doctor for examination.
National Rail Corporation managing director Vince Graham this week threatened to shut down the interstate national rail network if the union did not lift all bans and restrictions, which are in the form of strict work to rule and a refusal to work on trains over 900 metres in length.
Proceedings in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission this week have failed to resolve the issue, although members have offered to temporary suspend their action while conciliation took place.
The Corporation rejected this proposal, applying for the issue to be conciliated with the bans still in place. This occurred and the parties are waiting for the Commission's recommendation.
The RTBU says its mystified by the Corporation's approach and has called on management to lift their threat to close the operations.
Interview: Let Sleeping Dogs
Republican campaigner Jason Yat-Sen Li dusts off after Saturday’s vote. We ask him: where to now?
Republic: Readers Speak - Kerry the Face to Deface
We asked and you have spoken; Sydney heiress Kerry Jones is the Workers Online choice for desktop doodling, as the official winner of our Defacement of a Nation competition.
Economics: Understanding the Economy
Who was voted thinker of the millenium in a recent BBC Online poll? Karl Marx shooed it in. And another socialist, Albert Einsten, came second.
Unions: Come Fly Away!
With just four weeks to go, Labor Council's Organiser of the year Award is up for grabs. We've only had the one entry ...
Work/Time/Life: Better Times for Casuals in the Sunshine State
The Queensland Council of Unions has mounted a case in the Queensland IRC to increase wages for casual workers by up to $2.00 extra per hour.
International: All Black Fate Looms for New Zealand Right
The New Zealand economic experiment – for many years the cherished role model of the Australian Liberal Party – is just about to face an angry jury.
History: Who Remembers Egon Erwin Kisch?
Egon Erwin Kisch was a well known progressive journalist living in Germany when he was invited by the Australian branch of the world committee against war and fascism to speak at a conference in Melbourne in 1934.
Review: Bizarrism - Strange Lives, Cults, Celebrated Lunacy
The strange story of Donald Crowhurst or how to cheat and become a God.
Satire: Support Surges for Armenian Republic Model
The assassination by gun crazed extremists of the Armenian Prime Minister has been cautiously backed by Ted Mack and the Direct Electionist lobby as a possible new Republican model.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005