NSW and Sydney Train Lock-Out

Why are the trains not running? Why has the government locked out rail workers?

NSW and Sydney Train Strike

Update – June/July 2022

Since the NSW Government’s dramatic lock out of train workers in early 2022 members of the Combined Rail Unions have been left with no other option but to continue industrial action.

Below are some of the industrial actions planned and underway in June and July. For members seeking further information, visit the Our Rights Our Fight page.

The NSW Train Worker Lock-Out

The NSW Government and rail workers have been in negotiations for 9 months. But in a dramatic escalation on Monday 21/02/22, the NSW Government cancelled all train services and locked out its own workers from doing their jobs.

Rail workers turned up ready to work today. But the NSW Government is using an aggressive and unnecessary negotiation tactic – cancelling all train services and blaming the workers. Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison falsely claimed in a radio interview that rail workers shut down the train system.

You can write the NSW Premier and Prime Minister an email here, calling on them to apologise to rail workers and commuters.

This doesn’t just hurt rail workers; it hurts every commuter and causes gridlock and chaos.

Rail workers are negotiating to stop the privatisation of services, and to ensure a safe and clean rail network. The government could address these simple requests. Instead they decided to use this dangerous tactic to try turn the public against rail workers.

What has lead up to the lock-out?

Tuesday 15th Feb – NSW Transport meets with unions and promises to provide an offer on union’s priority claims by Thursday and provide a new facilitator for negotiations that both sides respect.

Thursday 17th Feb – Unions write to NSW Transport requesting an update on their offer. At 10:30PM that night, unions receive a letter from the Crown Solicitors Office demanding unions cease all industrial actions currently underway.

Friday 18th Feb – Crown Solicitors Office files application in Fair Work Commission to terminate workers right to take industrial action.

Saturday 19th Feb – Fair Work hearing takes place and a deal is reached where unions agree to withdraw some industrial actions and management agree to withdraw their termination application.

Sunday 20th Feb – NSW Government reneges on deal and re-files to terminate workers right to take industrial action. The independent Fair Work Commissioner expresses the dissatisfaction that Transport reneged on the deal and schedules a hearing on Monday morning.

Monday 21St Feb – At ~1AM Transport Management cancels all train services. All workers arrive at work that morning ready to perform duties.

At best, Train Management are incompetent. At worst they are intentionally causing chaos manipulate the public and media against the rail workers.

Why are Sydney Trains Management and Rail Workers in Negotiations?

Management and workers at Sydney Trains have been in workplace negotiations for nearly 9 months.

The issue at stake is a 3-year agreement which sets out conditions, safety and pay for train workers. Rail workers are asking for:

– no more privatisation and outsourcing;
– maintaining COVID-safe cleaning standards;
– guaranteeing any changes to safety standards are “as safe or safer” than current standards;
– paid family and domestic violence leave provisions;
– keeping qualified train and station staff (such as train guards) for passenger & staff safety.

However, management has refused to budge on their proposal for conditions and safety. Workers are left with little choice but to pursue industrial action.

What happens next? How do we let rail workers know we support them?

We can send the NSW Government a message: their attempt to manipulate public opinion by cancelling train services has failed.

Send an email to Premier and Prime Minister, calling on them to apologise to rail workers and commuters.