Melbourne's Tram Network Will be Disrupted by a Four-Hour Strike Later This Month
The network-wide strike follows failed negotiations between Yarra Trams and the Rail Tram and Bus Union.
It's been a tumultuous month 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 Friday, August 30.
The strike will run from 10 am until 2pm as the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) makes good on its threat of industrial action in response to failed negotiations with Yarra Trams. Last week, it was revealed that 98 percent of RTBU members had voted in support of the strike, though there were questions surrounding what sort of action might take place. Now we know: a total tram stoppage, for four whole hours. Best dust off that ol' bike and get set for some two-wheeled travel.
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.
While the off-peak strike is designed to "minimise any inconvenience to commuters", this month's stoppage could just be the start, with industrial action expected to escalate if negotiations continue unresolved.
Meanwhile, Melbourne's train network is working through some industrial disputes of its own, with a four-hour city-wide rail likely on Tuesday, August 27. Similarly to the tram strike, the RTBU's train strike is a response to failed negotiations with Metro Trains over contract agreements.
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 August 16, 2019 by Libby Curran