There’s gonna be mucho chaos for Sydney trains this week including major delays and cancellations as industrial action from the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU) heats up. And now there’s talk that services may be completely cancelled next week. Guess it’s WFH then?
Strikes are happening because negotiations between the RBTU and the NSW government have been rocky as the union has expressed safety concerns about new Korean-built Sydney trains dubbed the Mariyung fleet.
As of Tuesday, industrial action has been in “go slow” mode with Sydney trains restricted to speeds of 60km/h. This will see peak-hour train services reduced by 50 per cent.
By the end of the week, drivers will be refusing to drive any foreign-made trains which account for three-quarters of Sydney trains. According to News Corp, this will see up to 75 per cent of train services cancelled on Thursday and Friday.
And according to the Daily Telegraph, RBTU secretary Alex Claassens said that industrial may action may continue beyond Friday. The publication quoted Claassens as saying that services would be cut down to just 30 per cent next week.
The Daily Telegraph also quoted Claassens as saying that this reduction could lead to another total shutdown, as we saw happen back in February.
Per the ABC, Claassens said: “The government is essentially trying to bribe workers into operating a train that we know is not safe for commuters or workers.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that some of these safety concerns involve a “blind spot” that means drivers are unable to see whether a passenger has slipped between the train and the platform.
“All we want is for the government to deliver on the basic safety and workforce issues that we’ve been talking about for many months,” Claassens was quoted as saying by the SMH. “This has always been about safety for us.”
“The protected industrial action is expected to cause delays and the increasing cancellation of services across the week, with Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink working to assess the full impacts and provide alternative travel arrangements for customers where possible,” a Transport for NSW statement published by News Corp read.
With the Sydney trains industrial action expected to affect inner-city as well as regional services, Transport for NSW is advising passengers to only travel by rail if absolutely necessary.