Sydney trains free for five days after union threatened new strike

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Sydney trains free for five days after union threatened new strike

Sydneysiders will enjoy five days of free train travel next week as the unions call of planned industrial action that would have shut down the network.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the plans for free travel as the state government plans to enter into negotiations with the Rail Trams and Bus Union after a months long stand-off that has seen the rail network ground to a halt several times.

Travel will be free from Monday to Friday, with commuters still asked to tap on despite not being charged.

“People need to get to work, go to school and go about their normal day without being disrupted by union strike action, Mr Perrottet said.

“I’ve taken this action to put Sydney commuters ahead of union disruption and make sure businesses across our city don’t take a financial hit.

“On Thursday I had a very constructive meeting with Alex Claassens and the RTBU, but it’s now time to remove barriers and take it all before an independent umpire for a resolution.

The NSW Government will seek to agree terms to start a Fair Work managed arbitration on Tuesday of next week.

The union says it “forced” the government to offer this concession to commuters, with RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens saying it was important that they acted in good faith “to find a resolution to the dispute”.

“It’s fantastic that the NSW Government has listened and provided commuters with a week of free travel. Now, we need to see that good faith continue into negotiations next week so we can hopefully reach a resolution to this ongoing dispute,” Mr Claassens said.

“All we want is safe trains and fair wages and conditions. It’s incredibly disappointing that it has taken so long to achieve that, but hopefully commonsense will soon prevail and we’ll get the outcome commuters and workers deserve.”

Mr Claassens said the union “never wanted to impact commuters” and that the free travel was a “good outcome for everyone”.

“We still don’t have a commitment to safe trains and fair wages and conditions though so it’s critical that is delivered soon,” he said.

The NSW Government estimates that the RTBU industrial disruption and strike action costs the economy between $10 million to $20 million a day.

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