Businesses across NSW and further afield are set for days of chaos after the union voted to push ahead with crippling industrial action.
Around 1 million Sydneysiders are expected to be impacted by a total strike for 24 hours from midnight Monday, 29 January. The full-day strike will come after workers introduce a ban on doing overtime from Thursday, 25 January – which will result in a severe reduction in the number of services.
However, it isn’t just city train services that will be affected, but all heavy rail services across the state.
It also means the prospect of severe congestion on roads, including around Sydney Airport, which could in turn affect the on-time running of flights.
Both Sydney Airport Corporation and NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance were contacted for comment.
Businesses across Sydney are being urged to implement alternate working arrangements for their employees, such as staggered arrival and departure times, remote working options and even appeal to workers to take annual leave and create an extra-long weekend, given the Australia Day public holiday on Friday, 26 January.
It remains unclear, however, whether the ongoing dispute about train driver pay and conditions will continue to disadvantage the city’s commuters.
“At this stage no further action is planned beyond the indefinite overtime ban and the 24-hour stoppage on Monday, but that will be dependent on the outcome of further negotiations with the NSW government,” a spokesperson for the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW branch said.
The NSW government and Sydney Trains have faced criticism for implementing a new timetable in late 2017 that critics argue relies heavily on drivers working overtime shifts. Such a reliance leaves the network vulnerable to strike action and, as was experienced earlier in January, disruption from higher than planned for numbers of staff taking leave.
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