Another day, another industrial action by Melbourne’s Public Transport workers. Once again tens of thousands of people have been left stranded, inconvenienced, made hostages of the Unions.
Yesterday, for the fifth time in two weeks Melbournians fallen victims of self-absorbed and disgruntled renegades with permanent chips on their shoulders, otherwise known as Rail, Tram and Bus Union leadership.
Workers fighting for their rights and conditions is an important and necessary part of a democratic society. Unless, of course, this fight becomes a nasty squabble and stops being a vehicle of progress.
So what do the Unions want?
They want 6% pay raise each year for three years (18% pay increase) for Yarra Tram and Metro employees. That’s on top of already generous pay increase they’ve negotiated in the last two Enterprise Agreements:
According to a report from 3AW tram and train drivers have received pay rises of 28 per cent in the past six years after negotiating two new EBAs since 2009.
What does the Metro Train management offer?
- 13% pay raise over three years
- Increased maternity leave from 12 to 14 weeks
- Increased Carers leave from 1 week to 2 weeks
- Up to 5 days of Bereavement leave
- Trauma and Family violence leave
- An option of when to take their five weeks annual leave
According to Yarra Trams, tram drivers, on average, currently take home $91,000, including penalties, bonuses and overtime. So we are not exactly talking about poverty-stricken segment of our society here.
It reminds me of when Telstra employees engaged in the rolling industrial strikes few years ago, after the Company and the Union failed to reach an agreement.
I’m sure you all remember it – tens of thousands of people lost their access to the internet, nobody could call their families overseas, people couldn’t withdraw cash from the ATMs and the entire police force went on leave, because no-one could call 000, remember? No? Because that’s not how it works when people taking industrial actions actually care about what they do and about their customers.
The problem is, the way I see it, that the Union bosses get joy from making life hard for businesses. They genuinely thrive on it, and are completely indifferent to the hardships their militant actions cause to country as a whole.
What’s even worse, they end up becoming a Labor Politicians and legislate to make it easier for their Union cronies to continue this vicious cycle!