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Heading Into the Office This Week? Your Train Could Be Delayed

If you’re planning on catching a train for work or to quell an insatiable pastry craving, then you might experience some longer travel times than usual. Transport NSW has announced that more strikes will go ahead on Wednesday, August 10, as talks with the Rail Tram and Bus Union continue to stall.

Industrial action will cause “major disruptions” throughout the day, with the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra and South Coast rail lines completely shut. The former typically carries around 70,000 people on a Wednesday.

This is one of just nine different strikes planned through August, although not all of which will affect passengers.

The news comes as the RBTU is in a protracted clash with the NSW Government over worker pay, working conditions, and passenger safety. Strikes have hit much of the metropolitan areas of the state for months now, with industrial action taking place because of the use of foreign-made trains on the lines.

According to Transport NSW, planned work stoppages will officially start at 10am on Wednesday, August 10 and run until 4pm. However, there are warnings that the effects will be felt from around 6am that day and the timetable is not expected to be fully operational until 8pm. 

Because of the action, passengers are being told to expect fewer services throughout the day, long delays at peak times, and longer journey times overall. If you are planning to travel by train on Wednesday, now might be a good time to reconsider that, says Transport NSW.

The RBTU have said that the fault for the disruption lies entirely with Transport for New South Wales, who they say are “refusing” to run trains on the Illawarra line on Wednesday.

“There is absolutely no reason for the Illawarra line to be shut down on Wednesday. If it is shut down, it will be because transport bureaucrats have simply decided they don’t want to run the trains, not because they can’t,” RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said.

“The protected industrial action being taken by rail workers will, by design, impact very few workers at any one time.

“Only 10 per cent of drivers and guards will be affected by our industrial action.

“There is clearly more than enough workers and trains available to run some services for the people on the Illawarra line.

“The protected industrial action being taken is certainly an inconvenience for management — that was the plan.

“But by no means is it reason to shut a whole rail line down.”

Sydney train services have been severely impacted since July 1 after the RTBU banned the use of all foreign-made trains. This is because of concerns about the safety of Sydney’s new InterCity Fleet (ICF), which the union has been worried about for yonks.

Back on May 13, Claassens said, “These trains are a disaster waiting to happen and there is an independent safety assessment, among other things, that confirms that. Rail workers will not drive a train that we know will put the safety of the travelling public at risk. It’s as simple as that.”

Claassens also noted, “Rail workers have long said they will refuse to drive the New InterCity Fleet until the significant safety issues are adequately addressed – a decision that has been backed by a Federal Court ruling. As soon as those safety concerns are addressed, we’ll happily operate them.”

These train workers aren’t the only individuals that are currently unhappy with the NSW government. The NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia have also said that ongoing industrial action is likely to continue as disagreements over pay and working conditions have not been resolved. Similar action is also being taken in some sectors of the medical profession as nurses and doctors voice similar concerns

Passengers who do decide to travel are being urged to check travel alerts for the latest updates and use TransportNSW’s Plan Your Trip service to find alternative transport options.

Related: Your Train Trips Are About to Get Less Packed, According to the NSW Government

Related: Working From Home Might Be Your Best Bet This Week as More Train Strikes Hit NSW

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