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NSW Government finally backs down on rail shutdown

Feb 21, 2022Media releases News

Media release, 21 February 2022: The NSW Government has finally backed down on its outrageous rail shut down today, agreeing to allow rail workers to continue to drive trains tomorrow (Tuesday).

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens, welcomed the NSW Government’s decision stop its rail shutdown and allow trains to run tomorrow.

The RTBU and the NSW Government have been talks today, attempting to reach an agreement that would allow trains to run while also allowing workers to exercise their right to take action over the government’s refusal to agree to their basic safety, privatisation and hygiene asks.

“Today’s rail shut down was a huge dummy spit by the NSW Government, supported by their federal counterparts. It’s good to see they’ve now agreed to let the trains run again,” Mr Claassens said.

“We have said all along that the NSW Government could run services with our bans in place, and we are pleased that they have finally listened. Services may be disjointed, but at least there will be trains moving again.

“The NSW Government’s treatment of Sydney and NSW Trains workers and commuters has been appalling for a long time, but then bringing in expensive lawyers in a bid to silence workers and then shutting down the whole rail network and inconveniencing commuters was a whole new low.

“To deliberately shut down the rail network on such a big day for many people, seemingly so they can run a fear campaign about unions, is quite extraordinary.

“Workers will now go back to taking the protected industrial action we’d planned – action that really only transport management will notice, not commuters.

“We’re always willing to work with the NSW Government if it means reaching an agreement to keep our railways safe and moving.”

The parties are set to meet in the Fair Work Commission again on Wednesday.

Among the key sticking points in current enterprise agreement negotiations are:

  • Privatisation – workers want a commitment that no train services or lines will be lost in the event of privatisation;
  • Safety claims – workers want a guarantee that any changes to our services will leave them as safe or safer;
  • Hygiene – workers want a commitment to maintaining the existing level of hygiene using good, full time jobs.

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