NSW trains fight back against industrial referee

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The railway union and NSW government are returning to the industrial arbiter in a bid to break their long-running stalemate over the safety of a new intercity train fleet and workers’ wages and conditions.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) will meet with the government at the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on Monday for a second day of mediation talks.

The talks come after the union over the weekend dropped plans to shut down Opal Card readers this week, following a government threat to take legal action against them.

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“Nothing is coming this week,” a union spokesperson told AAP.

The RTBU planned to leave the station gates open like last month, but also to deactivate Opal Card readers so that commuters would not be able to pay for travel.

The measure reportedly cost the government more than $1 million a day.

As part of its campaign, the union recently brought Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink to the FWC in an effort to continue negotiating a new company agreement and changes to Korean-built trains that have been sitting idle for years, with the union saying they are not safe. are operating.

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Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the negotiations had concluded by the end of August and threatened to terminate the company agreement if further industrial action was taken after weeks of union disruption in train services.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens has said the union is doing everything it can to find a quick solution but says the government is “blocking the process at every opportunity”.

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Transport Secretary David Elliott has been approached for comment.

– MONKEY

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