Dramatic development: Strike to go ahead

Penrith Station. Photo: Melinda Jane

A 24-hour train strike will go ahead in Sydney on Monday unless a last ditch legal attempt by the State Government averts it.

It appeared as though the strike was off last night when the Rail, Tram and Bus Union agreed to put a pay offer to its members.

But the Union has confirmed the strike will go ahead with members voting not to halt industrial action.

“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to put a package together that the members would accept,” said Union Secretary, Alex Claassens, during an at-times fiery press conference this afternoon.

“We’ve been saying all along that we needed the Minister to come to the table and put some real positions down.”

Mr Claassens said the introduction of the new timetable last November was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

He has asked Transport Minister Andrew Constance to meet with the Union again tomorrow in an attempt to avert the strike.

Mr Claassens said there was an issue with the text messaging system used to contact Union members last night. He said 6,000 text messages were sent but only 360 people responded, saying that industrial action should be suspended. The Union considered no response to the text message as a vote to continue action.

“I am willing to listen to anyone who reckons they’ve got a better way of polling their members,” he said.

“My personal credibility was on the line here. I did everything I could to try and get an answer from my members.”

Chaos on the rail network will start tomorrow with the network to run to a Saturday timetable as industrial action gets underway.

There will also be delays and service changes across the weekend, before the entire network shuts down on Monday.

Mr Constance said the strike needed to be called off.

“Call off your strike and allow the workforce to be consulted, and we can go from here,” he said.