All Sydney train services have been cancelled in a late night decision leading to commuter chaos across the city and leaving hundreds and thousands of people stranded. On a day millions of residents were supposed to return to office, a snap decision to cancel all train services has led to roads blocked with traffic and major disruptions throughout the city. The train strike includes services to the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Central Coast along with inner-city and suburban lines.
A breakdown in negotiations between the NSW government and the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) led to all train services including the intercity RailLink line being cancelled.
RTBU NSW Secretary, Alex Claassens said the train cancellations were not the result of a worker strike and dubbed it a “dummy spit” by the NSW government.
Speaking at a press conference at Central Station he said, “This is not a strike, we are not on strike — we are ready to work at a minutes notice. But at the end of the day our members have a right to negotiate a fair enterprise agreement.”
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union further accused the government of “locking workers out” saying they agreed to turn up for work today.
On the other hand, NSW Transport Minister David Elliott accused the union of “hijacking the city” describing the industrial action as ‘unAustralian’ and insisting that the government was not to blame following the events of today.
“I’m so furious at their spin and their lies. I think we’re gonna have a large standoff right now because they can’t use the city’s transport system for some sort of terrorist like activity,” he said.
The train strike is the latest development in an age-old dispute between the government and the Rail Tram and Bus Union over wages, hygiene, safety guarantees and talks over privatisation.
It was announced last week that train services would return to a regular weekday timetable from February 28 to tackle the expected rise in people returning to office.
Today also marks the day Australia opens its borders fully to the rest of the world causing further commotion in the city.
As of now the trains are halted until ‘further notice’.