Regional train drivers and Melbourne tram workers are planning a series of strikes in the lead up to Christmas, with transport stoppages lasting between six minutes and 24 hours.

V/Line staff will walk off the job from Wednesday December 11, shutting down different sections of the regional rail network for a day at a time. Meanwhile, Yarra Trams staff will stop work for the second time in a fortnight between 10am and 2pm on Thursday December 5. Both groups of workers are in the midst of pay disputes with their respective operators.

There will be no services all day on the Bendigo and Swan Hill lines on December 11; the Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough lines on December 12; the Traralgon and Bairnsdale lines on December 17; the Albury, Shepparton and Seymour lines on December 18; and the Geelong and Warrnambool lines on December 19. Every V/Line train leaving Southern Cross Station on December 16 will be delayed by a six-minute stoppage.

The public transport union is seeking a six per cent pay increase for V/Line staff year on year, but the Victorian government has only offered a two per cent pay rise. Yarra Trams staff – who are also represented by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) – are now seeking a five per cent year on year pay increase, but have only been able to secure a four per cent annual pay rise so far.

None of the city’s trams ran between 10am and 2pm on November 28, and despite replacement buses, significant delays are expected again on December 5 when the action is repeated.

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