Sydney train chaos is OVER: Relief for commuters as government and unions call a truce a day after a sudden shutdown of the entire network that stranded workers and caused 22km traffic jams
- NSW Government has backed down and called a truce with Rail, Tram Bus Union
- Transport Minister David Elliot said he would not challenge the industrial action
Trains will run freely across Sydney’s rail network as early as tomorrow after all services were cancelled in crippling outage on Monday.
A day after blaming the Rail, Tram and Bus Union for the rail chaos, the NSW Government has backed down and called a truce.
Sydney Trains bosses suddenly shut down the network with a 1.38am ‘dummy spit’ email in a dramatic escalation to a dispute with the union.
Millions of commuters woke up on Monday morning to find they had no way to get to work, choking roads with traffic jams up to 22km long.
Transport Minister David Elliott (pictured) said the NSW Government would be withdrawing its Fair Work case against the rail union during a press conference on Tuesday
Trains will run freely across Sydney’s rail network as early as tomorrow after all services were cancelled in crippling outage on Monday (pictured, commuters on Tuesday)
Services restarted on Tuesday morning but were only every 15-30 minutes, leading them to be crammed with essential workers.
But life will soon be much easier for Sydneysiders as a truce between the two sides was declared on Wednesday morning.
Transport Minister David Elliot said the NSW Government had agreed not to challenge the union’s limited industrial action over the next two weeks.
Trains will from as early as Wednesday run at the same frequency they did last week, and are hoped to ramp up towards full capacity in coming days.
The union will continue with its ban on ‘altered working’ and other flexible rostering that Sydney Trains uses to respond to changes on the network.
The union has also agreed to commence rewriting of the enterprise agreement which expired in May of last year.
Transport for NSW secretary Rod Sharp claimed the industrial action would compromise safety and decided at 1.38am on Monday to cancel all trains.
Sydney Trains bosses suddenly shut down the network with a 1.38am ‘dummy spit’ email in a dramatic escalation to a dispute with the union (pictured, Sydney Trains workers on Monday)
Millions of commuters woke up on Monday morning to find they had no way to get to work, choking roads with traffic jams up to 22km long
Mr Elliot said Mr Sharp made the decision unilaterally and neither he nor Premier Dominic Perrottet knew until they woke up and checked their emails at 4am.
RTBU secretary Alex Claassens on Monday called Mr Sharp’s safety claims a ‘bulls**t excuse’ and insisted trains could run smoothly during the industrial action.
‘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,’ he said on Wednesday.
‘The union said their aim has always been to reach an agreement that will allow the 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”.
Mr Elliot signalled another backdown by the government as he revealed the enterprise agreement for rail workers would finally be changed to meet union demands.
Mr Elliot said Mr Sharp made the decision to shutdown the network unilaterally and neither he nor Premier Dominic Perrottet knew until they woke up (pictured, commuters on Tuesday)
‘I have agreed with the union today that we will start to commence rewriting the enterprise agreement which expired in May last year,’ he said
‘That will see us working with the union to ensure that we provide them with the certainty that they require.’
The union, transport authorities, and the state government have been at each others throats for months over a new agreement, with 30 meetings in the past six months alone, after the old one expired last May.
Workers want better safety and hygiene standards, improved pay and conditions, and no job losses from privatisation and successive negotiations have failed.
A new agreement would end the possibility of more train strikes for at least the next three years.
More to come.
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