“This will shut down the city”: Constance fumes at Union

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Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s headache just became a migraine.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union confirmed today that its members will strike for 24 hours on Monday, January 29 in the strongest blow yet to the already struggling train network.

“We’re disappointed it’s had to come to this, but management and the NSW Government haven’t left us with any other options,” said Union Secretary Alex Claassens.

“Workers have been trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable enterprise agreement for well over six months now, but the NSW Government and Sydney and NSW Trains management have refuse to bargain fairly – not just around pay, but around basic conditions that impact their safety and the safety of commuters.”

The issue is now a full blown crisis for an already under pressure Transport Minister, who implemented a new timetable last November that the Union says the network can’t support, particularly if an incident occurs.

Train drivers want an annual pay increase of six per cent but the Government is offering 2.5 per cent, and refusing to budge.

Mr Constance urged the Union to call off the strike and “put commuters first”.

“I just find it an extraordinary act and I think customers will judge them accordingly,” Mr Constance said.

He said the strike would “shut down the city”.

“We want to put customers first. That’s what I’m doing. I’m the champion of the customer,” he said.

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