A breakaway group of about 100 local train drivers and other rail staff have publicly attacked Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) bosses for their ‘ridiculous’ wage claim of 4 per cent per year for the next four years, saying they do not support strike action.
The group’s industrial representative, Gary Collis of Australian Employment Alliance, told morning radio today that he had been inundated with calls from concerned train drivers who were prepared to accept a more reasonable 2 per cent per annum pay rise.
“Currently we represent about 100, but I’ve received so many calls this morning from train drivers and employees who work on the platforms… saying we want to come on your group, this is ridiculous,” Mr Collis told radio station FIVEaa.
“We said, and prior to the COVID thing, we put to the Government the 2 per cent wage increase each year for the next three years with no changes to the (enterprise) agreement.
“So, when I read the paper this morning and saw The Advertiser was suggesting that train drivers are seeking 4 per cent (per annum) for the next four years… and I should add that claim was only put on the table a couple of weeks ago… then I became quite concerned.”
Mr Collis said train drivers he represents had told him, contrary to the views of the union bosses: “we’re not greedy, we aren’t seeking the 4 per cent, we’ve agreed with what you’ve put forward… there are thousands of people out of work, there are small businesses who may never recover from what they have been going through”.
“The tram drivers have just had their agreement approved and what we’ve said is, let’s just follow that.”
In May, this year, tram drivers agreed to a 2 per cent per annum pay increase.
“There is no question, none of the hundred or so people that we represent have indicated their support for any sort of industrial action and will maintain that,” Mr Collis said.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said it was refreshing to see that Mr Collis’ group, which he says represents 100 of about 350 members, has come to the negotiating table in good faith and are making more sensible proposals to achieve a new agreement.
“The Government looks forward to common sense prevailing and we would strongly encourage union bosses to listen to the views of a significant proportion of their workforce to achieve a sensible resolution.”