NSW and Sydney Train Strike: An Explainer

Why is there a Sydney Train strike? How will the strike affect you?

NSW and Sydney Train Strike

Workers at Sydney Trains and NSW Trains are taking industrial action which is affecting train services. The workers are asking the NSW Government for improvements to health and safety, domestic violence leave, job security, and a guarantee that no train services will be privatised.

However, the big sticking point is the safety of new intercity trains. The trains auto-lock guard doors on arrival into train stations. This prevents train guards viewing the station platform or stepping out to assist commuters.

How will you be affected by the train strike?

Workers are technically not on strike. Instead, workers have put periodic bans on:

– working with overseas made trains

– performing overtime

– performing non-essential electrical work

– working with contractors

– performing some non-essential maintenance jobs

As a result, Management at Sydney Trains and NSW Trains have begun reducing services. In addition, workers are refusing to operate overseas-made trains which account for about 70% of all train services. This has affected service levels on:

– North Shore and Western Line
– Inner West and Leppington Line
– Bankstown Line
– Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line
– Cumberland Line
– Airport and South Line
– Northern Line
– NSW TrainLink

More information is made available daily about which particular train services will continue to operate and if replacement buses will operate.

This is not the first disruption to regular operations on the train network. Over the past 6 months workers have taken actions which you may have noticed and not realised where part of a dispute with management.

This includes a one-day ban on cleaning graffiti on 10 September, a one-day overtime ban on 22 September and strike on 20 October last year.

So why is this happening?

Why is the NSW and Sydney train strike happening?

Management and workers at Sydney Trains have been in workplace negotiations for over 12 months.

The issue at stake is a 3-year agreement which sets out conditions, safety and pay for train workers. Originally, management at Sydney Trains proposed:

– Ending consultation with workers on safety changes and work practices;
– Reducing redundancy conditions to make it easier to eliminate jobs; and
– Less full-time secure jobs in favour of more contract workers.

This is why rail workers began industrial action last year with one-day bans, such as overtime bans. Industrial action by workers was very successful with most of these unfair proposals taken off the table.

However, management has refused to budge on their proposal to reduce conditions and safety.

So the workers are left with this choice: strike or accept less safe workplaces. Less safe workplaces also means less safe trains for commuters.

What can be done to stop the Sydney Train strike continuing?

The management of Sydney Trains ultimately answers to the NSW Government and the Transport Minister. This means they are sensitive to public pressure.

If the NSW Government or Train Management thinks the public is against their proposal to reduce job security and safety, they will go back to negotiations with the workers and offer a better agreement to stop the strikes.

You can send a message that you support the workers, and think the management proposal is unreasonable, using the quick form below.