The New South Wales Government claims it will offer free train fares every Friday for a year if the state’s transport workers promise not to go on strike.
The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said earlier on Tuesday it would use industrial action to get the state government to offer free fares every Friday until June. It argued that the government should make rides free as an apology for the intense train delays it caused commuters and transport workers on February 21st, per The Guardian.
NSW Transport Minister David Elliot then claimed on Tuesday night via the ABC that the State Government would extend the proposed offer for a whole year as long as workers promised not to unionise and go on strike.
But Elliot then said he couldn’t guarantee the state’s train systems wouldn’t be shut down again on Monday if the union threatened legal action. He then blamed it on the union.
“People are desperate to get back to work on the back of a pandemic and the natural disaster and the union movement today wants to play games that will bring this city to a standstill,” he said.
All Sydney trains were suspended on February 21st after Transport For NSW locked out workers. It claimed that a breakdown in negotiations the weekend leading up to the shutdown made it “impossible” to run the network safely.
But RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens made it clear on ABC News at the time that the workers were “not on strike”. He called the move to lock workers out a “dummy spit”. He said staff arrived to take part in low-level industrial action which would not have impacted commuters but were told by management that trains would not be running.
NSW Employee Relations Minister Damien Tudehope disputed this on the program that same morning. He said the schedule workers were planning to follow would not allow Sydney trains to run safely.
It gave very “He Said, She Said” by Ashley Tisdale. Especially after leaked texts showed David Elliot knew about the train delays the night before but decided to go back to bed.
TL;DR: we could be getting free train trips on Fridays. But don’t be surprised if we get another train shutdown on Monday instead.
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