Melbourne’s 1500 tram workers went on strike for four hours on August 30 as part of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement. Members of the tram and bus division of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) voted 99.4% in favour of taking industrial action.
At a packed meeting in Trades Hall that day, workers heard a report on the union’s campaign to stop Yarra Trams from shifting the workforce onto part-time. The union is also fighting for safer conditions and a 6% annual pay rise over the next three years.
Keolis Downer-owned Yarra Trams wants to raise the number of part-time workers from 4% to 15% of the workforce, after initially proposing the cap be set at 35%.
Tram workers have twice rejected the company’s offer.
The union has pointed out that raising the cap on part-time workers would lead to an army of workers doing short shifts and allow the company to save big on penalties and allowances. Yarra Trams doubled its profits to $18 million last year, according to the RTBU.
The union said it will continue its campaign of bans on voluntary overtime and raised the prospect of further strike action if Yarra Trams is not willing to negotiate.
The RTBU rail division is also in negotiations with Metro Trains over a new enterprise agreement for rail workers.