NSW government launches legal action to stave off more industrial action on Sydney trains
The New South Wales government has taken legal action in an attempt to prevent any further industrial action by rail workers that would disrupt Sydney’s train network once again.
Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed his government lodged papers with the Fair Work Commission on Monday morning seeking orders to stop more industrial action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).
The union has planned to refuse to run foreign-built trains on Wednesday and Friday. Those vehicles make up about 70 per cent of the state’s rail fleet.
Similar moves last week left commuters facing long delays and reduced services on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and Perrottet on Monday morning accused the union of acting in bad faith.
“The response of the RTBU, in my view, was purely political,” he said.
“To continue industrial action shows a lack of good faith.”
The government agreed on Wednesday to spend $260 million and agree to safety modifications to a new train fleet demanded by the union in an attempt to stave off Thursday and Friday’s action.
However, the RTBU said it would continue industrial action until it had received a written commitment from the government to guarantee those modifications, and negotiations between the two parties have broken down.
The union has since warned it would continue with industrial action
“We’ve done everything we can to a point where we agreed last week, based on the numerous discussions that have taken place, to have modifications made to the best trains you can have in the world,” Perrottet said.
However, the union’s NSW secretary, Alex Claassens, said a written commitment was necessary, claiming the government would backtrack on its promise.
“We’re hopeful that the Fair Work Commission will be able to get the NSW government to confirm in writing what its real intentions are so we can finally get the safety issues on the New Intercity Fleet sorted and get back to negotiating a fair enterprise agreement,” he said.
Perrottet denied anything in writing was necessary, saying he has given his word that the modification will be made.
“I’m the premier of the state. We’ve made a commitment to modify the trains,” he said.
“We’ve said that publicly, we’re making that commitment. It should be part of the enterprise agreement, that’s where the discussions should be.”