Sydney commuters, watch your backs: people who don’t tap on at the train station during the rail worker strike still risk being fined, despite this undermining the whole point of industrial action.
ICYMI, Sydney public transport workers are on strike right now because of a worker safety issue, and they will be until September. Part of the strike includes leaving ticket gates open at train stations, and commuters have been encouraged not to tap on. Rail, Train and Bus unions banned their officers from issuing fines to anyone who evades fares until September 6 since, you know, that’s how strikes work — by refusing to play by the rules until your demands have been met.
Except, some scabby officers have decided not joining the union or supporting the strike isn’t enough — they’re now punishing commuters for benefitting from it too.
Authorities have warned commuters that if they don’t tap on, it’s at their own risk. In direct contempt of the strike, some officers are still combing through trains and fining people for fare evasion. Which is bullshit considering the union, amplified by the media, have been actively encouraging people not to tap on.
You can’t fine people for doing something they were literally told to do by other staff!
And that’s without considering that in some places, people might not even be able to tap on due to gates not working.
Commuters on Reddit noticed that non-union public transport officers seem to be taking this opportunity to fine as many people as possible.
“They always increase their presence during strikes,” one user claimed.
“I take the train at the same time every day, strike and no strike. The only times I’ve had my Opal card checked is when a strike is going on.
“These guys also usually avoid peak hour. But on strike days, they’re pushing through a crowded train checking Opals.”
Another user observed non-union public transport officers “have been around more in the last week.”
It’s also worth noting that police officers can and do issue fines to commuters — and because they aren’t part of the strike, you can expect to see them on your trains in place of union workers.
“Police may issue infringements if they detect passengers travelling without a valid ticket,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.
“It is the responsibility of the passenger to tap on and off.”
Yeah, this whole thing is cooked anti-union behaviour and we should be critical AF about it.
The maximum fine for fare evasion in NSW is $550.