A huge call has been made on Sydney’s train disruption, as commuters face more public transport chaos on Tuesday.
Limited train services will be in operation across Greater Sydney on Tuesday — with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) saying the NSW government has “backed down”.
The union said it welcomed the NSW Government’s decision stop its rail shutdown and allow trains to run tomorrow.
The RTBU and the NSW Government were in talks on Monday, attempting to reach an agreement.
“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,” RTBU NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens said late on Monday night.
“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.
“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.”
The decision to cancel the trains was made just before 2am on Monday, leaving thousands of commuters who rely on train services left scrambling to find alternative transport.
The NSW government and RTBU are set to meet before the Fair Work Commission again on Wednesday morning.
The union said their aim was 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 Claassens said workers will move ahead with planned industrial action today, which he said will only impact management, not commuters.
What services will look like on Tuesday
Reduced services will return across all lines on the Sydney Trains network from 5am and will run at a minimum 30 minute frequency throughout the day.
Some commuters may experience a service every 15 minutes but journey times will be longer as trains are required to stop at more stations.
Sydney Trains encourage commuters who typically rely on the rail network to find alternative travel options, if possible.
These limited services are there to support essential workers and commuters who have no other options to get to where they need to go.
To supplement the limited train timetable, 150 rail replacement bus services will also operate along major rail corridors.
Two pop-up commuter car parks will be established at Moore Park and Rosehill Gardens, providing park and walk options for transport customers using other modes to get into the major centres.
Transport Minister David Elliott confirmed the reduced train service in a late night media release.
Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink are still seeking to extend the suspension of protected industrial action on the rail network.
“I urge the combined rail unions to put their political agenda aside so Sydneysiders don’t face more interruptions,” Mr Elliott said.
He said the government would continue enterprise agreement negotiations with the unions.
Train boss’ urgent message to commuters
Despite the train cancellation being overturned, Sydney’s transport chief urged rail commuters to use alternative transport on Tuesday, with doubts remaining over how well the service will run.
Thousands across Sydney relying on public transport are still without answers after Monday’s snap worker lock out, throwing the city’s peak hour commute into chaos. Not one train was running across the network on Monday.
Sydney Trains boss Matthew Longland defended his decision to shut the network down after a breakdown in talks with the unions.
“Our advice is to avoid travel on the rail network where possible, even if we are able to resolve this issue we will still see impacts across the network tomorrow,” he said in a press conference on Monday.
“Advise customers to use other modes of public transport and check the latest information on the transport website or social channels.”
Where has this come from?
Transport for NSW has said yesterday’s decision to shut down the network was the result of industrial action from the union, citing safety concerns about allowing the trains to run.
However, the RTBU said the planned industrial action wouldn’t impact commuters and the trains were been cancelled by the government as part of a “dummy spit”.
Mr Claassens made it clear yesterday’s train shutdown was not the result of a worker strike but a decision by the government.
When staff turned up for work on Monday morning they were told by management that the trains had been cancelled.
Mr Claassens said he then received a call on Sunday night saying the government was once again trying to terminate the enterprise agreement.
He revealed they came to an agreement with the NSW government on Saturday night surrounding the enterprise agreement, with the union agreeing to drop some of the industrial actions that they had planned for Monday
“You can imagine the shock this morning waking up and knowing that the government had just done the most low and dastardly thing you can imagine the government doing. They have locked out their workforce and they have inconvenienced the people of NSW just because it was going to be a little bit difficult,” Mr Claassens told reporters.
Meanwhile, Mr Elliott placed the blame back on the union, declaring their actions as “nothing short of industrial bastardry”.
“The people of NSW are rightfully upset today because the union movement has decided they are going to play silly games at short notice and put our services at risk,” Mr Elliott said.
“This is not anything but a part of the Labor Party’s campaign to bully the electorate into supporting their election. I don’t think the people of New South Wales are going to buy it.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet addressed the media at Sydney’s International Airport during the chaos, which coincidentally occurred on the same day the country allowed international travellers back into the country.
He branded the situation a “co-ordinated attack” by the Labor Party and RTBU.
“This is no accident. This is a concerted campaign by the unions and the Labor Party to cause mass disruption across our city. They are not even hiding it,” Mr Perrottet told reporters.
“Today is the first day we have international arrivals coming in, a day where mums and dads are trying to get their kids to school, a day when many university students are going back to class for the first time and many people as a result of our announcement last week returning to work.
“The unions were intent on causing chaos.”
Mr Perrottet confirmed that the decision to cancel the trains had been made by Transport for NSW, but claimed they were “left with no alternative in terms of safety”.
He said he was incredibly disappointed with what has occurred this morning, saying the union’s wrong interpretation of the decision made by the Industrial Relations Commission is to blame for the action taken by Sydney Trains.
“This is a concerted, predetermined campaign by the union movement,” he said.
“You cannot treat the people of our great state in this way and it is very, very clear that this is the Labor Party in bed with the union movement to cause mass disruption.”