NSW rail workers ramp up strike over safety

NSW rail workers ramp up strike over safety

NSW rail workers are ramping up industrial action for a month from Sunday, refusing to issue fines, leaving gates at train stations open and taking part in rolling targeted strikes.

The action is part of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union's RTBU campaign to get safety changes to the new intercity fleet in the face of what they say is the NSW government's stubborn refusal to do so.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said workers were hopeful that the government would sign a document committing to the changes.

He said that the government is refusing to listen and we've done everything by the book in order to get these vital safety changes.

We've had a lot of verbal promises before, which is why we need to see it committed to a binding document. The union and state government have been at odds over the safety of the $2 billion intercity fleet, which has remained idle in maintenance sheds despite a planned roll out in 2019.

One of the main concerns of the union is that guards won't be able to see children during crucial moments. Rolling strikes will begin on August 10 from 10 am to 4 pm, with the union saying strikes will occur in one area at a time, meaning trains will be able to run in most areas of the state.

The Commuters will have rolling strikes on Wednesday, August 17, Tuesday, August 23 and Thursday, August 25.

Other industrial actions include a ban on foreign-made trains, transport officers not issuing fines and a ban on cleaners using vacuum cleaners or scrubbing machines.

Claassens said he accepted that there would be some impact on commuters, but he said the union would try to minimise it.

He said that we've done a lot of work to make sure that our actions will impact management and the government, not the travelling public.

There is no reason why trains can't run smoothly while our actions are happening, with some planning and common sense.

We understand that commuters are frustrated because they're frustrated too. NSW Transport has been contacted for comment.