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Rail workers forced to take further industrial action

Dec 13, 2021Media releases

Foreign-made trains won’t run on Tuesday

Media release, 13 December 2021: Rail workers have been forced to take further protected industrial action this week following the NSW Government’s continued refusal to come to deliver on key safety, hygiene and privatisation asks as part of the current Sydney and NSW Trains enterprise agreement negotiations.

Rail workers will again refuse to man foreign-made trains on Tuesday 14 December – a move which will impact approx. 75% of trains.

The action follows a call from the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW for the NSW Government to put a halt to all overseas transport manufacturing. The NSW Government has apparently signed a contract a new regional fleet of trains to be purchased from the same Spanish manufacturer responsible for the inner-west light rail, which is currently out of action as a result of fundamental cracking issues.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens says rail workers are hopeful the NSW Government will come to the table soon so the protected industrial action can be stopped.

“It’s disappointing that another week has passed, and there’s still no indication that the NSW Government stepping in and doing the right thing,” Mr Claassens said.  

“The NSW Government has been refusing to commit to providing workers and commuters with basic guarantees around hygiene, safety and privatisation for many months now. Then they turn around and say it’s disappointing that workers are taking industrial action – they haven’t left us with any other option. 

“No one likes industrial action. But we can’t allow our basic safety, hygiene and privatisation asks to go ignored.

“We’re very aware of the impact this will have on commuters, but we also know that not taking action will leave workers and commuters at risk.

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

  • privatisation – workers want a commitment to services and jobs 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, publicly owned jobs.
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