Commuter chaos predicted as rail workers walk off job

Sydney’s public transport network will be thrown into disarray on Wednesday with rail workers refusing to staff close to 70 per cent of the city’s trains amid an ongoing industrial dispute with the state government.

NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union members will not staff any privately built trains on the state’s rail network on Wednesday, meaning more than two-thirds of the rolling stock will be taken out of service.

Close to 70 per cent of Sydney’s trains will not run on Wednesday amid ongoing industrial dispute.

Close to 70 per cent of Sydney’s trains will not run on Wednesday amid ongoing industrial dispute. Credit:Louise Kennerley

Transport for NSW chief operations officer Howard Collins warned the strike would result in serious delays and disruption across the train network, and would likely have a knock-on effect for bus services.

“There’s probably only going to be about 30 per cent of the train service running,” Mr Collins said, urging commuters to avoid the peak hour.

“There will be delays. We’ve got a few extra buses on board, but we need thousands of buses to replace a train service.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Alex Claassens said the government had refused to rule out further privatisation of transport services, prompting the latest industrial action.

“We don’t want to have to take any action, but rail workers have absolutely no choice but to try to make management listen to them, and industrial action is the only tool they have,” Mr Claassens said.

“This state government has a shocking record of dismantling, privatising and selling off our public transport, a policy they have enthusiastically continued under cover of the COVID pandemic.

The union is also calling for a 3.5 per cent pay increase, while the government is offering 0.3 per cent in the first year of the new deal, and 2.5 per cent thereafter.

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