The Railway, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) announced last month that a new contract for Metro Trains employees in Melbourne had been approved by 51 per cent of union members, just before the 49 per cent who voted „no.” The driver added: „Metro can now add work, which increases productivity. For drivers, the agreement means more work and longer shuttle times. You might have a driver in Newport [in Melbourne`s western suburbs] who has to register at Craigieburn, which is 25 kilometres away, but if you look at the roads and rush hours, it could mean half an hour or more of travel time. In this EBA, they have accepted some launch sites, but now that this has been agreed, in good faith, we cannot prevent them from extending it in future EBAs. The ratified agreement will open up important working conditions for Metro Trains workers, especially train drivers. Many outraged railway workers have left the RTBU to protest the imposition of large concessions from the bureaucracy on behalf of Metro Trains, which operates Melbourne`s privatised train network and is majority owned by Hong Kong-based giant MTR Corporation. A mechanic discussed with the Global Socialist Website the effects of the new agreement. „The main concession I refuse is the number of races on a line,” he said. „Years ago, before I started, we discovered that we could do a race to the maximum on a line, with the exception of our starting line, where we were able to do two races because it stops the complacency of the riders. Now there are up to three races on the same line, which, apart from the great risk that is introduced, only removed any job satisfaction. We have runners at Sandringham who do three sandringhams, every day, or three Frankston. Under the EBA, I could do it four days in a row.
The greatest possible unity must be created with other parts of workers who face similar threats to their safety and working conditions, first of all tram workers who were also out of stock by the RTBU in a recently concluded employment contract. It is necessarily a political struggle that requires measures against the undemocratic industrial regime of fair work, imposed by trade unions and the Labor government of the state, and a fight for the abolition of private ownership of Melbourne`s train and tram networks, which instead makes them public and run by democratically controlled public service companies. , in the interest of social distress and not the profit of businesses. The RTBU narrowly struck the regressive agreement by playing train drivers against other metro train employees, including station staff, ticket controllers and administrative staff.