Sydney is pursuing industrial action to continue; Opal readers must be turned off

“The recent round of actions by Alex Claassens and the RTBU to deliberately delay work on working Opal machines to cause them to become inoperable is akin to economic sabotage.”

The railway agency is urgently asking for legal advice on the lawsuit.

The government and rail unions have been at loggerheads for over a year, unable to negotiate a new wage agreement for workers in a row that has at times led to strikes, delays and disruptions across Sydney’s rail network.

In documents filed with the Fair Works Commission last week, the NSW government estimated the ongoing industrial dispute had cost the state 44,000 lost hours.

Unions took legal action at the Fair Works Commission earlier this month to force the government back to the negotiating table after Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet threatened to cancel an existing company agreement if railway workers did not vote on a new wage agreement .

Wednesday’s hearing will be crucial to the reliability of Sydney’s rail network.


Unions have warned in their submissions to Fair Work that unless the Commission intervenes, “there is limited prospect of a short-term settlement of the dispute without significant industrial action”.

Unions last week claimed the two sides appeared close to an agreement before Elliott told them at a meeting earlier this month that the government was withdrawing from negotiations.

The government has offered rail workers pay rises of 3 percent in the first year and 3.5 percent in the second year, in line with its wage policy for public sector workers. It has also agreed to make changes to the mothballed intercity fleet, which rail workers refuse to staff for safety reasons. Sydney is pursuing industrial action to continue; Opal readers must be turned off

Joel McCord

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