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Sydney In Chaos As All Train Services Suspended

Vivienne Kelly

Published 

Sydney In Chaos As All Train Services Suspended

Commuters attempting to go back to work this morning have hit a snag and the roads have been thrown into chaos after the NSW Government decided to cancel all train services at short notice.

Transport for NSW, NSW TrainLink and the RBTU (Rail, Tram and Bus Union) had been negotiating late last night in a bid to resolve ongoing issues around workers' enterprise agreements.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hit out at the disruption, saying it had cast a shadow over what should have been an exciting day for Sydney.

"There are people this morning who are going to have an overpriced Uber, or they're not going to be able to get to work," he told radio's 2GB this morning.

"That's just not how you behave and this is not how you treat your fellow citizens."

The RBTU NSW secretary, however, noted it was the State Government which had pulled the pin on the entire network, not the workers or the union.

"The ball is in their court. Our members are ready to work," Alex Classens told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"As soon as the Government decides they want to run the trains, we can run them.

"It's Transport for NSW and the Government's call to shut down the network."

He said the Government's decision was a 'dummy spit', and the alternative would have seen Sydney's train network continue to function as negotiations went on.

"Workers were prepared to take industrial action, but only transport management would have noticed the impact, not commuters," he said of the union's proposed course of action.

"We've been taking industrial action since September, and we've always tried to deliver a service to the people of NSW," he added on 2GB radio this morning.

On Facebook, the RBTU again stressed it was the Government who had cancelled the trains in 'retaliation' to the union's proposed 'partial work ban'.

"This is not a strike," the union said.

"Our members are at work, ready to work, and have been all night."

The state's employee relations minister, Damien Tudehope, said the Government had made the call when it was left with 'no alternative for the safety of the system'.

He also hit out at the union saying they were engaging in 'industrial bastardry of the worst form'.

Transport minister David Elliott also insisted today's outcome was not at the hand of the Government.

"I'm so furious at their spin and their lies," he said.

"I think we're gonna have a large standoff right now because they can't use the city's transport system for some sort of terrorist-like activity."

He said the rail union was 'hijacking the city'.

"Them blaming me for this is just absolute crap. Why would I want the city inconvenienced?"

The union and the Government are currently locked in negotiations about train workers' enterprise agreements.

Workers want a commitment that no train lines or services will be lost in the event of privatisation.

They also want a guarantee that any changes to services will leave them 'as safe or safer', and a commitment to maintain the existing level of hygiene with full-time jobs.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Transport, News, Australia

Vivienne Kelly
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