Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Fatigue Management: Time off at home depot

In the lead up to Christmas I was advised by members that BMA were going to bring drivers home on Christmas Day instead of going into camp BUT drivers may only get 8 hours off in their home depot. Initially, I gave advice on the Rail Safety Procedure dated April 2013.

That advice is copied below:

Rail Safety Procedure - Fatigue Management - Hours of Work

I was further advised, by members, that upon giving this advice to supervisors, they were advised that BMA had changed the above policy around February 2014 and the above was an obsolete version and that Traincrew can be brought back to duty after 8 hours in the home depot.

On the 24 December 2015 I sent an urgent email to BMA management expressing my concern about fatigue and requested more information on the changes and sought for Your Union to be supplied with a copy of the amended policy. To date there has been no response from BMA management to this request. INSTEAD, I am advised that management is stating, in the workplace, that they consulted with us about this change at a meeting in February, 2014.

I did attend a meeting around this time with 2 BMA Management representatives with only two items on the agenda:

The first item was the potential sale of BMA Rail Operations
The second item was one the RTBU would never agree to anywhere in Australia, that is 12 hour DOO, which they claimed was allowed in the national rail regulations

Not only was there no agreement on an 8 hour policy change, there wasn’t even any discussion and the RTBU has still not been provided with a copy of this changed policy by BMA.
This shows why it is necessary to enshrine hours of work and lay-off as part of an enterprise agreement so management cannot simply change the goal posts mid-game.

I have today spoken with BMA management and during this discussion it was raised that in fact BMA’s own policy dictates a minimum of 10 hours off and that this is a “not negotiable” for BMA. Whilst the RTBU’s position will always be a minimum of 12 hours off in home depots, having the 8 hours myth extinguished is a step in the right direction.

I remind all members regardless of how much time on or off you have, if you are feeling fatigued at work STOP and seek relief; no job is worth dying for.

This is a perfect example why you should be very wary of rumours or unsubstantiated statements from Management. Talk to your delegate or contact me if such stories reach your ears in the future.

Unity is Strength

Bruce Mackie
Queensland State President