Melbourne might have to brace itself for another day of absolute anarchy across the city’s train network, after union officials lodged the paperwork necessary to call a strike for Metro frontline workers over disputed pay rates.

Rail, Tram, and Bus Union officials have lodged an application with the Fair Work Commission that would allow staff to stop work for up to 48 hours after negotiations with Metro Trains bosses reportedly broke down.

The potential strike would affect frontline Metro workers – meaning workers would not be present in customer service booths at stations, ticket inspectors would refuse to check Myki cards, and announcements at major city stations would not be made. That would mean chaos for the train network and for commuters in particular.

The workplace agreement for frontline staff expires on June 30, and while negotiations between the RTBU and Metro Trains have been ongoing for some time, union officials assert the two parties are still a long way off on reaching a new agreement.

Union members were alerted to the potential industrial action last night, and a vote on whether to go ahead with the strike is now set to take place. If approved, industrial action will occur will take place within the next few months.

Melbourne’s public transport system was ground to a screeching halt in 2015 due to a similar RTBU strike that saw train drivers and signallers walk off the job, halting the train network altogether and leading to one of the largest collective sickies in city history.

The impasse centres around demands from the RTBU for a fair wage increase for its members while retaining familiar working conditions.

We’ll see how this one goes, mates. Could be a bumpy ride.

Source: The Age
Image: Getty Images / Paul Jeffers