Sydney Trains will operate limited services across its network today after a total shutdown over industrial action forced tens of thousands of commuters to find alternate transport on Monday due to ongoing union action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said it was clear at midnight on Sunday following a weekend of intensive negotiations with NSW TrainLink and the RBTU, that Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink would not be able to safely operate train services.
While the rail entities believed concessions agreed to in the Fair Work Commission on Saturday would result in only limited disruption this week, the RBTU contested one of the concessions and withdrew from negotiations on Sunday afternoon, leaving Sydney Trains and NSW Trains with no alternative.
Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink returned to the Fair Work Commission at 8pm on Sunday seeking to resolve the impasse but the RBTU indicated it was not in a position to negotiate.
TfNSW Secretary Rob Sharp said while additional buses were available, the industrial action left tens of thousands of people stranded with no opportunity to plan for alternative transport.
“This was a difficult decision to make but we cannot and will not compromise on safety,” he said.
NSW TrainLink regional services, excepting intercity trains, and the Sydney Light Rail network, were expected to operate with minimal disruption.
The parties appeared again before the Fair Work Commission at 9am today to try to lessen the impact of protected industrial action.
Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink have held more than 30 meetings with the RTBU over the past six months in a bid to reach an agreement on a wide range of claims and remain committed to reach a fair outcome.