Commuters have been warned to expect major disruption as a strike by train drivers crippled the NSW rail network.
Commuters have been warned to expect significant delays and plan for alternative transport as a strike by train drivers disrupts services across New South Wales.
The Union of Railways, Trams and Buses has scheduled staff to stop work on all regional and urban public rail networks between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The industrial action stems from a dispute with the state government over wages and workplace safety.
No train will run on the network from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they will have to be brought back to their storage depot before the start of the action, with services not returning to normal until 3 p.m.
Transport for NSW director of operations Howard Collins said essential workers should find another way to travel.
âIf you have to travel, please use regular buses or ferries, considering driving or walking and cycling for shorter trips,â he said.
RTBU general secretary Alex Claassens said the union had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with transport bureaucrats over working conditions since May, when their last company deal expired.
âIt’s disappointing that we’re at this point. I’ve been doing this union work for a long time and I’ve never seen a situation where they just don’t want to talk, âhe said.
âAt the very least, we hope that senior management will come to the table the day after tomorrow to have a good conversation. “
The union calls for a range of issues to be addressed, including a 3.5 percent wage hike, while the NSW government is offering 0.3 percent for the first year of a new deal business.
âThis is a legal industrial action that they have spent a lot of money on. If nothing changes after tomorrow, there will be more guaranteed action, âsaid Claassens.
NSW Trains chief executive Dale Merrick said it was disappointing the union chose to organize industrial action during the pandemic when essential workers relied on trains.
Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland echoed the concerns, saying “now is not the time” for industrial action.
âOur customers rely on the Sydney train network to make essential trips, including to and from vaccination centers, places where intensive care is provided and essential workplaces,â he said.
“Sydney Trains is focused on securing a modern company agreement tailored to our business and looks forward to continuing negotiations with the unions.”
Rail lines affected by industrial action include the Blue Mountains Line, Bathurst Services, Central Coast and Newcastle Lines, South Coast Line, Southern Highland Line, Hunter Line, and all regional and metro rail services.