Rail unions call off industrial action

On August 11, the NSW Combined Unions Campaign Committee (CUCC) — which consists of 80 rank-and-file delegates of the combined rail unions, called off a planned strike on election eve, August 20. Delegates were divided over the decision.

The CUCC was discussing how to respond to Railcorp’s latest offer, which, the August 25 rail union bulletin reported, had three elements:

“• A four year agreement ,to protect our jobs and entitlements should we be faced with a new State Government following next year’s State election, with guarantees for no forced redundancies;
• A 4% pay rise in the first year, back paid to April 1, 2010, followed by pay rises of 3.5% a year for the following three years; and
• A process for managing future workplace changes that will give workers a say, and provides for an independent umpire to resolve disputes.”

Some delegates argued for a 5% pay rise. A petition signed by rank-and-file union members for a 24-hour strike was dubbed “industrial terrorism” by one leading right-wing trade union official.

The union bulletin recommended supporting the offer, arguing: “The proposed agreement meets our key objectives — it gives us vital protections that we will need when Barry O’Farrell and the Liberal government take over next year.”

However, under the Labor state government there have been large-scale staff cuts and station closures.