6 August 2019

As Melbourne’s train workers prepare to take low-level industrial action next week — they will be wearing casual clothes, won’t be checking tickets, and won’t make unscheduled changes to train services — the Financial Review profiles the secretary of their union, Luba Grigorovitch [$], and recalls their last major industrial campaign: “Four years ago, for the first time since Jeff Kennett ruled Victoria, the militant transport workers’ union brought chaos to Melbourne through weeks of rolling strikes, with Grigorovitch, then 30, as its public face. The action was not popular: Premier Daniel Andrews slammed the union’s ‘unjustifiable strong-arm tactics’;  then lord mayor Robert Doyle deemed it ‘selfish’, and said it was costing the city $10 million a day. The Herald Sun‘s James Campbell dismissed Grigorovitch’s ‘essentially pointless grandstanding’. Thing is: the strike worked. At a time when average Victorian wages were growing at 2.5 per cent, the RTBU netted pay rises of 4.4 per cent a year with a sign-on bonus and the retention of generous conditions.”