Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Where are the trams?

"Due to a long running industrial dispute, together with a stop work meeting today between 10 am and 2 pm there will  not be any trams services along Victoria Street during that time, delays are anticipated before the stop work action and when services are restored."

'Passengers are to expect some issues with services.'

As in the past and as now in the present, industrial disputes between staff and management occurs when  there is a difference of opinion on how the business operates, most disputes are usually about remuneration and workplace conditions.

In today's workplace environment, certain parties believe that for workers to receive extra income they must trade away long fought for entitlements and conditions, thus improving the 'efficiency' of the business.  The flip side of the argument, is that the worker can only do so much with the equipment that is available at a certain rate that does not endanger themselves or others, while expecting renumeration that enables them to sustain/improve their current standard of living.

The days of spontaneous wild cat industrial action, together with secondary boycotts are long gone, the process now involves mediation through an independent industrial umpire; however, this process can only work if both parties agree on a suitable outcome, now known as an enterprise bargaining  agreement. When this fails, the workers representative can apply for a protected industrial action ballot amongst its members, to gage the feeling of the intent to engage in further industrial action, the result of the ballot can enlighten management to the ill feeling of their workforce, therefore make a more suitable offer in an attempt to prevent possible damaging industrial action.

When the result of the dispute, which willl affect the travelling public, this action gains the interest of the media, who in turn may publish certain details about the workers current wages and conditions that is supplied/inflated by the management in an effort to push the public against the worker. This is not negotiating in good faith.  The workers now have to give significant notice about their intention to withdraw their labour, so the travelling public can make alternative arrangements, this in turn places the ball in the court of the business to come up with a solution that is palatable for the workers before the deadline.

The withdrawal of labour is usually the last thing that the workers want to do as it results in loss of income for that period, as some workers may not have the resources to sustain that short term loss, however, the alternative that is the combination of an uncompetitive wage together with reduced conditions which may include reduced job security means that the workers have no other alternative but to engage in industrial action.

Hence the cameo at the front gate of the depot.

Unity from under the wires.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Glenn,
    thanks for putting it out there of how the process works. Its good to see a level headed explanation without all the hype we find in the media presented from both sides of the argument,
    solidarity comrade