Australian rail union tries to suppress continuing hostility to NSW train sellout


Australian rail union tries to suppress continuing hostility to NSW train sellout

Oscar Grenfell

30 April 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is desperately trying to silence widespread opposition to its imposition of a sellout enterprise agreement (EA) last month covering around 9,000 rail staff across the Australian state of New South Wales.

In a membership bulletin, publicly released earlier this month, the union’s NSW division issued menacing warnings against “disunity” and the spread of “incorrect information” through “word of mouth” and “social media.”

The RTBU’s actions are a continuation of its attempts to intimidate and muzzle workers during the nine-month EA dispute with the state Liberal-National government and rail authorities.

In January, the union declared it would “always abide” by the rulings of the Fair Work Commission, after the pro-business industrial tribunal banned a 24-hour strike that had been overwhelmingly endorsed by rail workers. Immediately after the judgment, the RTBU disabled comments on its official Facebook page in a bid to prevent workers from expressing their opposition to the sordid manoeuvres of the union, including closed-room discussions with the government and rail executives.

Once the RTBU reopened comments on its Facebook page, after having pushed through the agreement in a postal vote, it was inundated with dozens of angry comments from workers. Some questioned the legitimacy of the vote. Others denounced the union for colluding with the government in imposing a sell-out.

A number indicated they planned to resign from the RTBU and suggested that workers needed new organisations. One wrote: “Can you update your RTBU magazine with how to resign from the Union on the back pages not just how to…

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