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Media Release – Sydney light rail company putting passenger safety at risk, drivers forced to take action

The safety of Sydney’s light rail commuters is being put at serious risk by dangerously crowded carriages, increased driver shift limits, and unrealistic passenger turnaround times, light rail drivers have warned.

Sydney light rail drivers say they have been forced to take protected industrial action to address the situation, with Transdev – the company which runs Sydney’s light rail services – refusing to address drivers’ safety concerns as part of current enterprise agreement negotiations with drivers.

Light rail drivers recently unanimously voted to take protected industrial action. The first action is set to take place on Friday when drivers will refuse to wear their uniform to work.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Tram and Bus Divisional Secretary, Chris Preston, said that one of the major concerns for drivers is the company’s current attempt to increase driver shift limits as part of the current negotiations.

“Patronage on Sydney’s light rail has increased by 85 per cent in the past 12 months and yet drivers have managed to cut running times on the Dulwich Hill line by six minutes,” Mr Preston said.

“Drivers are doing everything they can to keep the system running smoothly and are already stretched to the limit, yet the company is still trying to squeeze more out of them.

“The safety of commuters is already being put at risk – any further cuts would have serious safety consequences for workers and passengers.

“In order to meet Transdev’s unrealistic demands, drivers are forced to get overcrowded carriages of people on and off within 45 seconds, navigate around people walking onto the tracks because of inadequate safety signage, and now they face having to work longer shifts on top of it all which is a serious fatigue risk. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

“Our drivers love what they do, but they’ve got to the point where they can’t continue to sit back and watch while Transdev puts their safety and the safety of their passengers at risk.

“We didn’t want to have to get to this point, but Transdev has left us with no other option.

“We’re hopeful that after Friday’s action, Transdev will finally agree to listen to drivers’ concerns and come back to the negotiating table. Drivers really don’t want to have to escalate things any further, but they also know that their safety and the safety of their passengers is too important to ignore.”

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