Staff cuts show rail privatisation was about profits not passengers

Rail, Tram and Bus Union

The number of Passenger Service Assistants (PSAs) working on Adelaide’s rail system have been slashed by the new private operators, according to the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).

RTBU SA/NT Secretary Darren Phillips said communication from Keolis Downer confirms that the number of Passenger Services Assistants (PSAs) have been cut from 86 to 63.

“The reduced number of frontline workers would always inevitably lead to an increase in customer dissatisfaction, especially once the Gawler line is reopened,” Mr Phillips said.

“It’s essential to have enough Passenger Service Assistants to cover as many trains as possible to ensure customer confidence in using the Train System at any time of day or night.

“But under the reduced staffing arrangements, safety, customer service and revenue protection capacity is reduced.

“Sadly, this situation is a reflection on how the new private operator is managing the Adelaide rail system – minimising effort in order to maximise profits.”

Mr Phillips said the Marshall Liberal Government handed the keys of the Metro train network to Keolis Downer twelve months ago on the promise that the South Australian public will benefit from privatisation.

“With the passing of the one-year milestone we have not heard a peep from the Marshall Government – no shouting from the roof top. Now privatisation is turning into a millstone around the necks of South Australian taxpayers.

“When Keolis Downer commenced the contract, they did so with employee numbers fixed within the contract to effectively run the services.

“Since then they have been reducing the number of employee and pocketing the difference, while the Marshall Government watches on.

“For example, other safety critical roles have been reduced such as Train Controllers.

“This is estimated to be a staggering $2.6 million per year fleeced from South Australian coffers with no return for the public of South Australia.”

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