Sydney Train Services To Be Severely Disrupted Australia Day Weekend

Image: iStock

With a ban on overtime for Sydney Trains staff beginning from January 25, the flailing network will be under a lot pressure to provide services to the Sydney metropolitan area this Australia Day long weekend. But an announcement has confirmed that train services will see major disruptions and run to a reduced timetable from tomorrow.

Rail services will be severely limited from January 25 onward while bus, ferry and light rail will continue service as normal.

The reason for the disruption is planned industrial action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) as they continue their negotiations for better working conditions with Sydney Trains bosses and the Government. The Union had struck a deal with Sydney Trains bosses as of late January 23, which would see staff receive a 2.75 per cent pay rise, a one-off $1000 payment to each employee and free travel using Opal cards. The Union took the offer to its members overnight and it is to be voted on by midday, January 24, potentially cancelling any of the planned industrial action.

However, one driver told Lifehacker that the result for this offer "will be a resounding no" and what has been put to them is "a slap in the face".

Even if the offer is accepted and the overtime ban called off, the network is likely to see severe challenges on Thursday.

"It will be a complete nightmare for commuters. Every train I see in the morning peak is absolutely packed, but half that capacity and it will just be impossible. Maybe worse than last Tuesday," explains the driver. Up to 1300 services will be cancelled tomorrow, essentially running a weekend timetable on a busy week day. It is expected that the peak periods will see disruptions.

On Australia Day itself, both T5 and T6 lines will be cancelled, with shuttle buses replacing trains. After 4pm, some additional services will be available from Sydney Olympic Park. Regional trains will run to the usual Friday schedule.

On January 28, no regional train services will run.

Transportnsw.info suggests that "roads are expected to be busier than normal and congestion will occur throughout the day, so you should avoid driving or allow plenty of extra travel time."

It also recommends employers speak to staff about alternative working arrangements, suggesting working from home, taking annual leave or changing start and finish times.

All the information regarding the service interruptions, as well as information on planning your trip ahead of time, can be found here.

We'll keep you updated as more information comes to hand.


Comments

    But....but what does this have to do with gaming!!?!?! ????

      well you might need to catch the train to get to the mall to go to EB games...

      yea idk LOL

      given the extreme disruption to people's lives in Sydney (for which I am sure more than a few handfuls will be gamers possibly even be thousands) it doesnt matter it isnt directly to do with gaming but will involve gamers.

        Ok relax mate was just a joke as people got upset at a UFC article on Kotaku having nothing to do with gaming.

      You won't get your usual train time to play games, obviously.

      On the topic:

      which would see staff receive a 2.75 per cent pay rise, a one-off $1000 payment to each employee and free travel using Opal cards.

      However, one driver told Lifehacker that the result for this offer "will be a resounding no" and what has been put to them is "a slap in the face".

      I'd really like to know what they are demanding if they aren't happy with this.

        6% pay rise PER YEAR for four years.

        When average wage growth has been stagnant, and even govt employee wage growth is capped at 2.5%.

        C*nting unions...

          If they get 6% a year then I'm quitting my software development job and going to fulfil my childhood dream of being a train driver.

          Should be pretty lucrative for 10 years or so before they make all of the trains driverless. Although if they're getting 6% a year then they may well hasten their own demise - could end up being 5 years :P

            I know, I was just telling Twitter yesterday that Sydney should get driverless trains ASAP. I'm all for supporting jobs, but the results of this greed will no doubt be passed on to either the consumer or the taxpayer (or both).

              If you did some actual research you'd know the RTBU had asked for 6% as a starting point for negotiations to at least bring pay a little closer to what rail employees get in other states. Also, the negotiations are for all Sydney Trains/NSW Trains employees, not just drivers.

            The reality is that NSW rail workers are paid less than any other state. Hence the 6% per year.

              and they've been forced into unsafe work practices by a state government who would rather run the network into the ground than pay the busiest drivers in the country the same wage as every other driver.

                What about the market though? If finding train employees in Sydney is easier than in other states then lower wages make sense. It's not like they are paid below minimum wage or anything.

                  You forget the other force - the ability of workers to collectivise to ensure value to their work. Nothing wrong with ensuring you are paid equally.

                  Also, Sydney is running people on OT everyday to make train timetables because they don't have enough staff.

              Source?

                Have you spoken to any front line staff, e.g. Drivers, Guards, Station Staff?

                  No. I don't want to be confrontational. I'd just like to know where this information comes from. If it is anecdotal, it is a lot less persuasive than if it is from a published report by an independent body.

          do you use those words every day when you "in theory" are only forced to work 8hrs, do you say the same every weekend when you are kicking back playing games, or when you are chilling on paid holidays. Some of the many things unions gave us are taken for granted. Imagine some people back then screaming 'bloody unions' at such ideas.

          I dont support what the unions are doing in this case, but I say that as an ill-informed commoner with no facts beyond the case being reported.

            I support the idea of unions, but I think they have jumped the shark this time!

              yeah who wouldnt want a 6% annual payrise. I get the idea of starting high and going lower, but that is just ridiculous.

          Not only is that inaccurate but you're missing a big point that they're asking for that pay rise to put them in line with what similar work is being paid in other states. They are asking for a 0.6% pay rise on the 2.4% offered which over 6-years would end up being 6% by the end of it. Be fair to the conversation being had and don't disparage unions as so many liberties and things people enjoy as part of their employment only exist because of unions.

            That's not what i heard, but would be glad to be proven wrong if you have a source? I thought they wanted 6% increases PER YEAR for 4 years. And what happens after that? Will they go on strike again to get 8% increase per year coz it sure as hell won't be going backwards. I would also appreciate a source for the non-similar pay with other states.

            I mean i genuinely would want a source! All I've managed to find so far are interviews from "Fred the Train driver" or something but I would really just like some hard numbers to get on board with this...because as of now I'm sorry, but my impression is that they are just asking for too much.

            The argument of "but who wouldn't want better work conditions" is a valid one but as per the law of equal exchange, you cannot gain something without first giving something in return. And in this case, the better your work conditions, the more money needs to be spent, resulting in either less staff, more expensive fares, or less frequent trains.

          It's almost like you have no idea what the union is trying to achieve and why it's important that they do.

          Sure, historically unions have done so ridiculously fucking much for workers in this country and they persist to this day to get solutions to shit like stagnant wage growth, but nah, they must be greedy, hey? Soooo bloody greedy to demand safe work environments.

          If you want to talk greed let's have a chat about a rail system that becomes hobbled if rail workers refuse to work overtime, how's that for you productivity and wage disparity? Maybe we can cover how greedy it is to implement an additional 15,000 trips into an under resourced system and then bring on trains from the 1970s with no air conditioning into the less affluent suburbs during the peak of Summer to handle the overflow.

          There's a shitload of greed in this scenario, but it sure as hell isn't coming from the union.

    I think Gizmodo ate my comment but as I read it in the news, the entire new timetable relies on everyone to work overtime everyday.

    that is beyond messed up so as much as I hate the disruption, i can also understand why they are essentially rioting against management

      Yup. If your system doesn't work without overtime, it's broken. That's as plain and simple as it gets.

      Overtime is meant to allow enough flexibility to account for the unexpected, to respond to unusual changes... not as a way to stretch your workforce to its limits and beyond.

      They introduced the new timetable before recruitment could cover the gap. So they rely on overtime for a short(ish) period.

      The union used the timetable as a stalking horse to get to their real issue, greedy fucking pay grabs.

        Greedily seeking to be paid the same as every other state's employees in the same roles, trying not to be the worst-paid state in the country? Yeah, that's totally avaricious. How dare they? It's not at all like Sydney has a higher cost of living than other states, they should totally be paid worse. Ohwait.

          Greedily holding all commuters hostage while they do it. It's a dog move by dog unions.

            It's the last option they have & it was approved through the Fair Work Commission. The public has been given as much notice as possible.

            Unfortunately it's taken the threat of a strike to get the Transport Minister Constance to come to the table to negotiate.

            Sure would be nice for their employer if the only action they could take was of no consequence and easily-ignored, huh.

              I think the overtime ban was more than sufficient! It forced the bosses to run the trains on a weekend timetable. Inconvenient, yes, but it won't paralise the city...

      the best part is that the previous timetable was working fine. there weren't any major issues with it. sure you have to wait a little but longer between off peak trains but its a damn sight better than the mess we have now.

    i love how a week ago everyone was in favour of the drivers and now the closer we actually get to industrial action the more people start using words like "Greedy"...

      Well, when they are offered a deal for 2.5% pay increase per year amongst other benefits like free travel and a one-off $100 payment, and they say "nah we want 6%" which is far above what the standard is then yeah, people will start bringing words like "greed" into the argument.

        6% per year would bring wages in line with other state rail employees. Nothing greedy about pay equality.

    The comments section here shows exactly why it's so hard for agreements to be reached in these matters.

    Driving trains is (i imagine) a pretty crummy job a lot of time, with a potentially bleak future. A lot of people rely on the rail network (we REALLY need to respect in the way the Japanese do). Add those two things together and I say fair enough that they want more money. I've been in the middle of a few of these in my time and on (at least) two occasions the executives of the company were offered bonuses if they could achieve certain targeted results in enterprise bargaining. The younger staff all voted no but were outvoted by the older staff who were (justifiably) nervous about being shut out.

    Last edited 24/01/18 2:12 pm

    The way I understood it they wanted the 6% over 5 years or something to that effect. So that compared to what they’re being offered doesn’t actually sound great. People tend to look at that offer for their own circumstances and think “that’s awesome.” But a train driver won’t have the same circumstances. Especially if they’re doing overtime 7 days a week. Which can happen.

      Let's just be clear, it's not unpaid overtime we are talking about. They either get paid or time off in lieu.

    I do find it interesting the amount of people complaining about workers being greedy, when wages in real terms have been falling since 2012.

    If you don't like workers getting roughly back to parity with inflation payrise, how about you join your union and protect not just your rights, but your wages buying power.

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