Taxpayers would be forced to pay a special personal ‘car wash allowance’ to rail staff working at the Adelaide Operation Control Centre in Dry Creek, with union bosses claiming their members’ private cars collect dust while parked in the ‘industrial environment’.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has described the claim – one of a long list of demands lodged with the Fair Work Commission by Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) bosses as part of its 4 per cent a year for 4 years wage claim – as ‘total lunacy’.
Union bosses are also demanding a taxpayer-funded ‘travelling time allowance’ to support members ‘disadvantaged’ by having to travel to Dry Creek – which is only 13km from the CBD – since the operations relocated from North Terrace nearly two years ago.
“It’s now abundantly clear that the union bosses are trying to take us all for a ride with their ludicrous log of claims,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“It’s bitterly disappointing that in the middle of a global pandemic – the greatest economic challenge of our time – union bosses seem to be more concerned about the cleanliness of their members’ private vehicles than negotiating a sensible enterprise agreement.
“Anyone who has been to Dry Creek knows it’s hardly the Simpson Desert.
“It’s time rail union bosses appreciated the significant financial challenges facing South Australian taxpayers due to COVID-19 and negotiate in good faith.”
Among their other claims:
- Train drivers who fail category 1 or 2 medical clearances, for example through poor diet and exercise, to be redeployed to other duties but maintain their full wage;
- An increase in the base wage for Platform Coordinators working in and around Adelaide Oval during special events, such as football and cricket matches, because their workload is higher due to higher volumes of passengers requiring assistance; and
- Double time and a half paid for a train drivers’ entire shift – not just the overtime period – when a portion of a members’ shift is extended outside normal operating hours
The union’s wage claim would cost taxpayers approximately $190 million for 368 employees over the lifetime of the enterprise agreement (to 2024), not including the additional cost of the union bosses’ claims for the ‘car wash allowance’ and other special entitlements.
It would also see the top paid train driver’s base salary increase to around $161,000 (plus overtime pay) after four years.