Saturday, January 20, 2018

Up the Workers

NSW train drivers are asking through their union for a 6% pay rise over four years. I saw some figures online. A Sydney train can carry 1000 passengers, and probably do, often. A Sydney train driver earns about $110,000 per year. I am sure this would be inclusive of overtime, working on days off and before or after the end of their shift.

Constance Andrews, the Transport Minister is very cross with the outrageous claim. She is also cross with the train drivers because they at times won't work overtime, leading to services being cancelled. Perhaps they are tired after working umpteen days in a row. Perhaps they are tired after a high concentration shift. I would prefer that train drivers were not 'actively encouraged' to work overtime when they don't want to. A weary train driver with 1000 passengers on board? Not great.

That there is such a hostile and toxic relationship between Sydney Trains management and the minister, and it workers bodes no good for anyone's safety.

Whatever, the train driver's union has power and a suitable arrangement will be reached.

Now, can we talk about the pay of nurses, teachers and child care workers, to name a few who do an honest days work, and compare them to financial advisors, bankers (yes, with a b not a w), consultants, public relation spin doctors, train managers and the many other overpaid leeches in our society.

25 comments:

  1. And can we add care workers more generally to that list. Those working in nursing homes, retirement homes are not well paid either. And are very necessary. Conservatively speaking I am in agreement with you about 10000 per cent on this post.

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  2. Glad you addded nurses on your list

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    1. John, many deserve to be added, but I thought nurses was kind of an all encompassing term.

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  3. We are of one mind, Andrew. The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors August report revealed the average pay for the top CEOs in Australia is $5.7 million, including bonuses and shares. If just one of these wankers received only $500,000 a year, every teacher in the nation could receive a proper salary.

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    1. Goodness Hels. That much. Really. Even the richest earner in Australia should be under $500,000. Who should the richest earner be? Our Prime Minister, who presides over Australia, and just behind the Governor General. Personal incomes in the millions make me feel sick.

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  4. Is Constance Andrews and the reference to 'she' a deliberate gender bender? You are well informed Andrew, so I presume you have written deliberately.

    For those readers who don't know, the NSW Minister for Transport is Andrew Constance, a male.

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    1. Oh Victor, maybe I at times play on words or names or perhaps at times I just get confused. So Constance's first name is Andrew. No matter, whatever she likes to be called.

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    2. It is the retired public servant in me. I can't stop editing!

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  5. Unfair treatment reigns. I sure wouldn't want an over-tired train driver. Train services (and those operating them) everywhere, particularly in south-east Queensland need fixing...and fixing quickly!

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    1. Lee, Melbourne's trains aren't doing too badly at the moment. An introduction of a new timetables in Sydney has been a disaster. But Brisbane trains have been a disaster for about two years now.

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  6. Get rid of those damn "health boards" and go back to the old local volunteer committees to run the local hospitals where they may have been able to claim the price of a stamp in their NON-paid role.
    As for transport workers - silly minister should negotiate shorter shifts with some wage increase and increase the number of drivers. Public and worker safety is paramount, prevention is always better than cure.

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    1. Jayne, it pains me to say so, but the old committees were abolished under a Labour government. Some weren't so good. The father of our ill friend was a volunteer committee member of a Knox local hospital. Our friend long ranted about what a mistake had been made. I don't have an opinion on the matter. As you would know, trains are about performance statistics, no about what is good for the passenger.

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  7. As a retired nurse and long time leftie, it's safe to say I love you, Andrew!

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    1. Rozzie, you have made me smile.

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  8. Expect there are too many top heavy jobs in most professions. One can't expect train drivers to work overtime or anyone for that matter, but the bosses do ask, it's just not safe when human lives are involved.
    Hope the dispute is solved soon for the sake of the passengers.

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    1. Margaret, you ought to see my workplace to see so many chiefs and not enough Indians. I just can't believe how top heavy work places can be. It would be the same in hospitals, I expect.

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  9. Andrew,

    Train drivers are just the highest paid rail workers (remember their skills are transferable and valuable) but judging from the numbers said to be going out on strike the claim for a pay increase is not made just by them but also on behalf of the many lower paid workers in the system.

    I had to work this out for myself because press reports are pretty cursory and mostly swallow Constance's line about the >$100K train drivers.

    Interview with union man here: http://2ser.com/train-worker-strike-called-january-29/

    I particularly like the bit where he has a dig at Constance being the member for Bega (not exactly a public transport hot spot).

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    1. Marcellous, transferable to what? The mining industry? What else? Yes, there probably would be a flow on effect to the underlings, but I don't think directly. The link did not seem to work, but I have heard similar if not interview on the radio.

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    2. That's odd, the link still works for me. You have to scroll down and press "play."

      Other railways, private train operators (most freight operators) and yes, private railways in the mining industry,

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    3. Nope, I've checked again and there is no relevant link. Assuming Sydney train drivers live in mid to outer Sydney suburbs, and are well established in the area where they live and would not want to move as they have family nearby, how transferable are their skills?

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    4. Curiouser and curiouser.

      There's a picture and a bit of text (it's a radio station site) and underneath that there's a blue bar with text "Train worker strike called for January 29" and you can click on that and download it as an mp3 or press the "play" wedge-shaped button on the right.

      I think we're thinking of the "transferable" bit from different ends. I'm not saying that the average train driver is likely to want to up sticks and go to north Queensland, but rather that the wages are partly determined by what they have to pay to get new drivers.

      Increasingly, only single people or single income households are transferable these days.

      fwiw, Sydney Trains advertises jobs at a base salary of $75K (plus overtime etc). Some regional freight jobs I saw advertised salaries >$100K - admittedly for more senior roles - though who knows if they included average overtime in this.

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    5. The link works for me (on a MacBook).

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    6. Weird, I checked this morning and there it was, as plain as the proverbial nose. I am sure it wasn't there yesterday. Good interview.

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  10. Let's not get started on the overpaid leeches, not today anyway.
    I really dislike the way the common people have to fight so hard for any increase in pay and then eventually lose a good part of that to higher taxes, prices or other levies, fees etc.

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    1. River, by all means have a go at overpaid leeches. I pay between $300 and $500 a week in tax. I don't mind paying it to make a good Australia with a caring and cohesive society, where people are looked after, even the drug scum on the street. But I am subsidising all those tax cheats and big corporations that don't pay tax.

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