Planned NSW rail strike suspended by the Fair Work Commission

Andrew Cummings
January 25, 2018

Well, change of plans - it's no longer happening, after the Fair Work Commission ruled that its financial impact on the state would be too severe.

At least five days of delays and disruptions are expected across the Sydney train network from tomorrow (January 24), with the worst to hit Monday, due to strike action.

"Our customers are not cannon fodder for industrial action", he said.

"I have decided that it would be appropriate to suspend the industrial action for a period of six weeks from 6:00pm today, ending at 6:00pm on Thursday 8 March 2018".

Yesterday's deal - which included a 2.75 percent pay increase per annum, over three years, a $1000 one-off bonus per worker, and free travel across the bus and Metro network - was resoundingly rejected by union members, according to Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary Alex Claassens - however the method used to put the vote to members has come under fire.

"We have to respect the process, we are a law-abiding union, Mr Classens said. The community - employers and employees alike - should not be exposed to the enormous disruption and economic loss simply because two warring parties can not agree".

"They had to stop people getting to the platform so they could exit people off the train".

Further negotiations are reported to continue today at 11am so that a decision can be made prior to the total shut down of the services.

A demarcation dispute is typically a dispute between two trade unions over which union's members should perform a particular job.

"What the unions negotiated with Sydney Trains was a fair and reasonable agreement", she said.

The firm told the Fair Work Commission that if the strike is found to be unprotected by the Fair Work Act, the RBTU could be at risk of a class action.

While Monday's industrial action is cancelled, the heavily restricted services from now through to Sunday night will remain as such.

"The damages, from the overtime bans alone, will already be significant and will mount up on Thursday".

Harmers also said its history of acting for various parties in the rail industry did not prompt it to launch legal proceedings.

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