Drivers to ban overtime as train crisis continues

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More pain is on the way for commuters with drivers set to enforce an indefinite ban on overtime from January 25 as their pay dispute with the State Government continues.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union confirmed today it would commence industrial action starting with workers wearing union and industrial campaign material from Friday.

But the decision that will impact commuters most is an indefinite ban on overtime from 12.01am on Thursday, January 25 at a time when the rail network is under immense pressure thanks to a new timetable introduced last November.

Without drivers undertaking overtime and with the system still stretched, the network could collapse under the pressure.

“We’re incredibly disappointed we’ve had to get to this point,” Union Secretary Alex Claassens said.

“No one wants to take industrial action, but we haven’t been left with any other options at this stage.”

Drivers want a six per cent pay rise, but the State Government is sticking to its guns and wants to cap increases at 2.5 per cent per year.

“We’re still hopeful that management and the government will come to the table and deliver an enterprise agreement that provides workers with the wages and conditions they deserve, so we don’t have to take any more action,” Mr Claassens said.

“The way the NSW Government is willing to treat its employees has been laid bare for all to see over the past week or so. We’re being forced to do more with far less, and now they’re refusing to provide us with fair and reasonable wages and conditions.”

Earlier today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her Transport Minister Andrew Constance did an “admirable” job in handling last week’s crisis, which saw commuters face hours of delays on Monday and Tuesday.

“I want to wholeheartedly apologise to all of our customers. The system most days is world class and some days, unfortunately, we let commuters down,” she said.

However, Ms Berejiklian confirmed there would be no refunds for affected commuters.

Despite fears of major delays today, services have run close to timetable throughout the day with the test of the afternoon peak still to come.

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