NSW train commuters are again advised to seek alternatives as a final day of industrial action disrupts services one more time.
Most timetables will be reduced to a 30-minute frequency on Wednesday, while services are suspended on the T5 Cumberland and T7 Olympic Park line.
Compounding the disruption, bus drivers will be off the job in Sydney’s inner west as part of a separate dispute with Transit Systems, the private company contracted to run services in the area.
It will affect services in Region 6, which includes the inner west, some of the CBD, Olympic Park, Strathfield and Rockdale.
Meanwhile, rail workers are refusing to operate foreign-built trains, which make up about 70 per cent of the fleet, as part of a month of industrial action that has also included area-based strikes.
Multiple unions are attempting to secure a new enterprise agreement to replace one that expired in May 2021, while the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has been demanding changes to a fleet of Korean-built intercity trains it says are not safe to operate in NSW yet.
None of the various government ministers involved in the disputes, nor Premier Dominic Perrottet, think the trains need modifying.
The trains have been sitting in storage since the first sets began arriving in 2019 and the government has conceded it will have to make the modifications if they are to ever carry passengers.
“The opportunity cost of not making these modifications was potentially going to be more than the cost of the modifications themselves,” Transport Minister David Elliott told budget estimates on Friday.
He is scheduled to meet with the unions again on Wednesday.
The government attempted to avert Wednesday’s action with an offer on Sunday to drop its requirement making a deed for alterations to the trains dependent on a new enterprise agreement being agreed to.
The union responded on Monday to say it had not received the deed in question, and could not make decisions for the other unions involved in the enterprise agreement negotiations.
It offered to suspend industrial action until the end of September or an enterprise agreement is reached, if the government executes a deed for the train changes and agrees to other demands including increased progression and wages for workers.