The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) has declined to terminate the bargaining period between RailCorp and the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU). This means that the planned industrial action is still on. However, this dispute is not over as the President of the AIRC has ordered the parties to return on Thursday for a full hearing.
Despite the government's insistence that it has a 4% offer on the table it is worth noting that the offer is 2.5% and a further 1.5% is offered provided that a further 400 jobs are shed from the sector. This appears to be a sticking point as the RTBU seems to want a 5% flat and no job cutting measures. The classic debate wage increases based on productivity increases.
I guess we will see what happens on Thursday.
It seems we might not have to wait until Thursday as it seems the RTBU leadership has reached a tentative agreement with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, John Watkins. The agreement still needs to be approved by the union membership but if the leadership accepts the deal then they are likely to be pushing for the rank and file members to accept it.
If the rank and file accept the deal then the strike is averted.
It seems that Kevin Rudd before making the big dash to the G-8 meeting in Japan has decided to weigh in on the RTBU planned strike action (seemingly already averted see above postscript). The PM's take on the planned industrial action was that any strike would be disrespecting the Holy Father!
Hold on a minute. I thought we lived in a land where there was separation between Church and State. I also did not realize that we had to show special reverence to a fella who had no qualms about telling Protestants that their Churches were not really Churches in the sense of the practicing of faith. Maybe respect is a two-way street.
In any event, is the NSW government completely blameless in this whole affair? It is easy to blame the unions but the reality is that there are two sides in this negotiation and as such both are to blame for drawing this thing out for as long as they have!
No matter what, it is possible to respect people, including the Pope, and still feel that you have a legitimate right to strike. Now, if that strike action causes a great deal of inconvenience then perhaps that is the point, particularly if you want people to understand what your cause is and the reasons behind the action...
Just my thoughts.