It looks like the strike action set to sweep across Melbourne’s train network is going to be far more extensive than anyone first thought, with a full-on driver strike now planned for late August that will completely shut down the city’s train network for the better part of a whole day.

The Rail, Tram, and Bus Union today informed Metro Trains that drivers will walk off the job for four hours between 10am and 2pm on Tuesday, August 27th, as part of on-going industrial action by the Union over pay and conditions.

This will follow two planned days of additional strike action undertaken by frontline Metro staff, set for Monday August 12 and Monday August 19, that will see staff throw ticketing gates open, refuse to check Myki cards, refuse to wear uniforms, and refuse to enact last-minute scheduling changes, in action that will see commuters get free rides on those days, but will also likely cause large delays to scheduled services.

However, Metro officials have gone on the front foot in a bid to dissuade the action and any potential “encouraged” fare evasion from punters.

Metro officials took the RTBU to Federal Court today, seeking an injunction against any proposed strike action. Their argument being that it would mean the loss of large amounts of revenue on what they state is their “highest day” of the week, Monday.

They also stated that, contrary to what the RTBU has stated, police and protective services officers will still be present and checking some tickets, meaning people could still be fined for fare evasion despite all train station gates being wide open.

RTBU state secretary Luba Grigorovich stated that Metro’s attempts to halt strike action were little more than bullying attempts aimed at frontline workers.

Our members are entitled to be treated fairly and have reached a point where they have been forced to take industrial action. For Metro to run to the Federal Court at the 11th-hour to try to strip our members of their rights is indicative of how they have handled themselves in negotiations.

Commuters need to know that their public transport workers are only doing what they feel they need to do to make their point.

RTBU officials are pushing for a 6% rise in annual pay for its workers, however Metro officials have thus far offered only a 2% rise.

Image: Getty Images / Michael Dodge