The Victorian Rail and Bus Union is seeking to set up a new company, to avoid losing out on profits as it fights off an industrial revolution that will see the railways and buses become the backbone of Victorian life.
The Rail Workers’ Union is urging the Victorian Government to approve the creation of the Railway Rail Union to allow its members to maintain a strong foothold in the economy and keep up with the changes in the industry.
The union has long been at loggerheads with the Victorian Rail, Bus and Transport Union (VRBTU) which represents some of the industry’s largest operators.
“It is very important for us to have a strong union,” Victorian Railway and Bus Secretary Chris Brown said.
“We have been very fortunate to have an independent rail company for many years and the union’s position has always been the same.”
The VRBTU said it would “continue to work to ensure that the future of rail is not lost”.
“While there is no definitive timeline for the union to establish a new entity, we believe we can begin discussions with the Government by early 2019,” VRBTUs chief executive Tony Stewart said.
The new company would create an “independent rail industry” that would have the same rights and duties as the VRBTUS, including a board and membership.
It would also have a “national network”, which would be managed by a new independent body that would provide a “clear and concise framework” for the industry, he said.
A decision is expected to be made within six months.
The unions dispute with the VRTBU, which is owned by the state-owned Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), is the biggest obstacle in its path.
It has been trying to negotiate a deal to end a decades-long dispute, which has been in the works for decades.
But a landmark Supreme Court ruling in February has led to a rift between the unions and the ABCC.
The decision saw the ABCT and VRTBUs merge into the Victorian Railway Union, and Mr Brown said the unions’ strategy was to try and negotiate a new arrangement to allow for a “smooth and orderly transition”.
“It’s really difficult for any union to go through a long negotiation process and get the best deal for the members,” he said, but the VRTU has always supported a negotiated solution.
Mr Brown said he hoped the union would “take a very strong and courageous stance” on the new company.
“The reason we want the Government to consider a deal is because this is a very important and difficult issue,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“This is going to be an exciting period for the railway industry in the next decade.”
The Victorian Government has confirmed it will approve the VRRTU application for a new corporation on the grounds of the railways’ need for a union.
“In our view it’s a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure our industry can continue to operate in a fair and sustainable way,” Transport Minister David Littleproud said.
Topics:business-economics-and-finance,corporate-governance,industry,union-federation-androids,workers,agriculture,business-group,state-parliament,government-and‑politics,vancouver-3060,vic,virginiaFirst posted September 30, 2019 05:19:14Contact Chris Brown