The NSW Government and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) are in negotiations today at the Fair Work Commission (FWC), trying to come to an agreement to end rail worker’s industrial actions.
Yesterday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that the state government would move forward with blocking further industrial action. The NSW government lodged the case to the FWC, stating that further industrial action from rail workers would have massive impacts to Sydney’s rail network.
The states crown solicitor said that this weeks planned action could cost new Sydney Metro plans up to $246 million, due to disruptions to work planned during the school holidays.
The RTBU posted a Facebook update about negotiations this morning, saying that “we have failed to reach a resolution in conciliation”. The union says that the case will go to a hearing in the next coming hours.
RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said in a media statement yesterday that the NSW government’s decision to go to the FWC is “politically motivated”. He said that the union hopes discussions over striking will “confirm in writing that the safety issues on the New Intercity Fleet will be fixed and that the cost won’t come at the expense of workers’ take-home pay and conditions”.
NSW government backs out of promise
Negotiations today come after the NSW government declined to sign a previous agreement that they would agree to spend $264 million on fixing issues with the New Intercity Fleet (NIF) of trains that the union have stated are unsafe.
Perrottet said that the response from the RTBU following Friday’s negotiations was “purely political”, and “to continue industrial action shows a lack of good faith”.
Currently, the Rail Tram and Bus union and the NSW government have not come to an agreement regarding the NIF and fair wages, which have been large part of the strike negotiations so far.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union protesters at an April protest for bus drivers. Photo: Facebook.
On Monday the union announced they would be blowing whistles every time a train departed a station, as a part of the “ongoing protected industrial action”. The union said in a statement that this was not expected to have any disruptions on services, and that workers would be taking “additional steps to ensure that trains can run as smoothly as possible during the adverse weather conditions we’re facing”.
Actions by train workers are expected to continue this week, as the union has said that further industrial measures will take place on Wednesday and Friday.