At least five days of delays and disruptions are expected across the Sydney train network from tomorrow (January 24), with the worst to hit Monday, due to strike action.
After rejecting a second pay offer from the NSW Government, Sydney Train workers will go ahead with a 24-hour stoppage on Monday (January 29) – barring a last-minute deal – that is expected to cause chaos for commuters.
Services will also be drastically reduced from Thursday to Sunday, running on the equivalent to a Saturday timetable, with workers planning to enact an indefinite overtime ban.
As many as 1300 trains could be cut per day, creating widespread delays and cancellations.
Less than six per cent of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s (RTBU) 6000 members in NSW voted to call off the strike via a text message poll, the ABC reports.
The rejected pay deal included an annual pay increase of 2.75 per cent and $1000 bonus for employees, as well as free travel pass extensions, but the union is pushing for a six per cent pay rise over the next four years.
"Unfortunately my members have overwhelmingly decided that the offer on the table is nowhere near good enough,” union secretary Alex Claassens told the media this afternoon.
He called on the NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance to “put some real positions down”.
Bad weather, staff shortages and the unpopular new timetable have all been blamed for several recent rail meltdowns, which the minister put down to an “act of god”.
If the current stand off isn’t resolved soon, though, it’s unlikely even god will be able to save him from angry commuters.
For the time being NSW’s buses, trams and ferries will run as normal, so choose an alternate routes where possible, and keep an eye on the Sydney Trains website for timetable updates.
As an alternative, ride-sharing service Ofo will be offering free rides for December, and the start of January.
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