Melbourne's Tram Network Is Gearing Up for Another Two Days of Strikes
The two four-hour, network-wide strikes follow failed negotiations between Yarra Trams and the Rail Tram and Bus Union.
UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 — With the first strike set to kick off at 10am today, Yarra Trams has recommended passengers avoid non-essential travel and expect trains and buses to be busier today. There will be a replacement bus service running that will cover some of the tram network, but not all of it. A shuttle will run between Melbourne Central and Melbourne Showgrounds for the Royal Melbourne Show.
It's been a tumultuous couple of months for Melbourne's public transport system — and it's far from over. Today, it was announced that the entire tram network will shut down for four hours on Thursday, September 26 and again two weeks later on Thursday, October 10.
The strikes follow a successful four-hour stoppage on Friday, August 30, and are in response to ongoing failed negotiations with Yarra Trams. While the strikes will happen in off-peak times and, thankfully, not on Fridays, they're still expected to cause some public transport havoc — so, best dust off that ol' bike and get set for some two-wheeled travel.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union has been negotiating a new wage deal and improved working conditions with Yarra Trams for months, with the existing agreement expiring on June 30. According to the RTBU, Yarra Trams' new agreement includes increased part-time workers and rosters that are "completely unsuitable for workers with child care and caring responsibilities".
The off-peak strikes are designed to "minimise the impact on commuters", but industrial action could continue to escalate if negotiations are not unresolved.
With negotiations still under way, it's possible neither strike will go ahead. We'll let you know either way.
Image: Josie Withers for Visit Victoria
Published on September 17, 2019 by Libby Curran