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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Melbourne's Tram Network Could Soon be Affected by a 48-Hour Strike

The news comes as Melbourne's train workers gear up for their own strike next week.
By Libby Curran and Samantha Teague
August 09, 2019
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Melbourne's Tram Network Could Soon be Affected by a 48-Hour Strike

The news comes as Melbourne's train workers gear up for their own strike next week.
By Libby Curran and Samantha Teague
August 09, 2019
  shares

Catching public transport can be frustrating at the best of times, but there could be even more painful commutes ahead as Victoria's public transport union gears up for two big ol' strikes. The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has voted to proceed with industrial action, with 98 percent of members in favour of the strike, in response to ongoing, failed negotiations with Yarra Trams.

A strike could see frontline and back-of-house tram staff taking industrial action for up to 48 hours, refusing to wear uniforms, make last-minute changes to timetables (including short shunting), accept roster changes or do voluntary overtime — which could lead to some serious tram chaos.

#UnitedWeStand

Posted by RTBU Victoria on Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The RTBU has been negotiating a new wage deal and improved working conditions with Yarra Trams for months, with the existing agreement expiring on June 30. "Yarra Trams have pushed drivers to breaking point to meet impossible targets, it's no wonder they are mad at their further attempts to strip away conditions," said RTBU Secretary Luba Grigorovitch in a statement.

There's no word yet on when this would happen, though it'd likely take place in the next 30 days. And, if you're a public transport regular, you'll know for sure it won't be pretty — especially since it could coincide with another public transport strike.

Melbourne's train network is about to be affected by its own strike, with the RTBU set to kick off industrial action on Monday, August 12. On the Monday — and the following Monday, August 19 — all train travel will be free for commuters as RTBU members keep ticket barriers open and refuse to sell, upload or check Myki cards, all day long.

Commuter-facing train employees will also scrap their uniforms indefinitely from August 12, too, and workers will refuse to participate in any training for Melbourne's soon-to-launch high-capacity trains between August 12–18. Between these dates, drivers will also refuse to operate any train that doesn't have fully operational public address systems and passenger emergency intercoms. And there'll be no skipping stations, alternate services running, or announcements by drivers to alert when their trains are running late.

The industrial action could carry over to V/Lines, too, with an RBTU Victoria member commenting on the above Facebook post: "V/Line has only just come to the table to start bargaining. Their day will come if they don't take the talks seriously." We'll keep you updated with that.

For the moment, no date has been set for the tram strike, but we'll let you know as soon as there is.

Image: Josie Withers for Visit Victoria

Published on August 09, 2019 by Libby Curran

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