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Equal Pay for Work of Equal Skill

26th June 2006

Rail Workers Industrial Action for Equal Pay for Work of Equal Skill

Approximately 600 Rail & Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) members employed by Ontrack gave 14 days notice of industrial action on 14th June. The action will be a total ban on overtime and callouts.

The notice of industrial action was given after Ontrack refused to make an offer on increases to wage rates of more than the rate of inflation (3.4%).

“The RMTU has claimed wage increases to bring Ontrack workers up to the average hourly rate paid for a worker of similar skill in the rail industry,” said Scott Wilson, advocate for the RMTU.

“The Union has benchmarked the skill level and rates of pay of Ontrack workers against similarly skilled workers employed by the other employers in the industry and found significant gaps.”

The wage rates claimed will bring a track worker - those currently out laying and maintaining track in the rail and snow - up to $16.22 an hour.

“The Union claim is essentially one of “equal pay for work of equal skill. Ontrack has disputed the benchmarking and told the RMTU that they should be benchmarking against workers outside the rail industry.”

“The Union is sorry for the disruption to the travelling public, but the insistence of Ontrack has left is members no choice if they wish to achieve similar wages on average with the rest of the rail industry,” said Scott Wilson.

The Union has undertaken to ensure that emergency work, where there is a risk of injury to the travelling public or other rail workers will be done during the dispute. The overtime and callout ban has the potential to cause significant disruption, with rail infrastructure, including the signalling equipment, requiring constant maintenance to keep it operating.

ENDS

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