The Rail, Tram and Bus Union has made the extraordinary claim that the NSW Government is “inciting violence” against frontline workers.
The dispute between the Union (RTBU) and the State Government has descended to new lows as the city’s train services remain in chaos.
More industrial action is planned tomorrow with commuters urged to avoid train travel if they can.
“More than two-thirds of our trains won’t be operating tomorrow,” Sydney Trains CEO Matt Langland told 2GB.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet labelled the ongoing industrial action as politically motivated.
“Every time that we have made concessions to fix that issue, the union has come out and said ‘we’ll move onto something else’,” he said.
“Our people are being inconvenienced and penalised because of this ridiculous action.”
The Union and Government remain at loggerheads over a new enterprise agreement and the Union’s safety concerns.
RTBU NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens, said inflammatory and reckless language by Ministers exposes the lack of care that the government has for any frontline workers in this state.
He said train workers are experiencing death threats, blaming language used by the NSW Government for inciting it.
“The profound lack of care or compassion shown by the NSW Government is astounding. They are complicit in this vile behaviour by aggressive customers,” he said.
“The reason for the delays across the network has been attributed to all railway employees despite the actual reason being the lack of maintenance and cleanliness of their fleet.
“The standards being imposed aren’t “union standards”, they are standards already set by the NSW Government for their own trains. By labelling frontline workers as ‘thugs’ and ‘holding the state to ransom’ is just lying.
“Regardless of who is at fault for the delays, this type of violence is unacceptable, and the fact that Ministers from the NSW Government are using this inflammatory language is actively encouraging the dregs of society and it speaks volumes to the quality of this government.
“The RTBU is calling on the NSW Government to come out and apologise to its frontline workers and correct the blatant lying to the public that is directly causing this type of unacceptable aggression and threats against frontline workers, who are doing the job they love.”
The Government and Opposition appear to be on a unity ticket over the strike action, with Labor leader Chris Minns calling for industrial action tomorrow to be called off.
“We’ve said repeatedly that we don’t want the industrial action to go ahead tomorrow,” he said.
“The industrial disruption has meant that it’s causing chaos for thousands of commuters as they attempt to get to and from work, I think as a gesture of goodwill calling off the strike tomorrow would allow people to get to and from work, cooler heads to prevail, get both sides around the negotiating table and focus on a resolution to what has been an ongoing dispute.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.