Rail workers fight for jobs
By Steve Painter
SYDNEY — Industrial action is to continue in NSW over State Rail Authority (SRA) plans to shed about 5000 jobs, says railways union (ARU) state vice-president Andrew Baker. Several days of action ended temporarily in early July to comply with an Industrial Relations Commission ruling, but the campaign will be rolling again in a few days, Baker told Green Left Weekly.
The union says the commission's instruction to end its industrial action cannot stand unless the SRA sets aside its closure and privatisation plans. It says it will not accept IRC interference with the democratic right to protest against government plans which are not in the public interest.
About 300 jobs are immediately threatened by SRA plans to close nine of its Trackfast parcels and freight depots and to privatise another 19. Actions so far have included bans and limitations affecting some coal and freight trains and some commuter services to the Gosford region.
Many more jobs will go if the SRA presses ahead with plans to privatise other parts of its operations, including carriage cleaning and maintenance. The changes to Trackfast will particularly hit country centres. About 120 of the threatened Trackfast jobs are outside Sydney.