Are Sydney trains running tomorrow? David Elliott says government drops case against union at Fair Work Commission


Sydney commuters can expect delays to the city’s train network for at least another day, the transport minister says, after a meeting between the government and rail unions ended without a resolution.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union met with Transport Minister David Elliott on Tuesday to try and hammer out an agreement to the workplace fight that has caused limited train services to run on Tuesday after a system-wide shutdown on Monday.

Watch the video above for more on the train network shutdown

The meeting between union officials and the minister lasted about an hour and concluded around 10am – but nothing of substance was agreed.

The meeting reportedly included full and frank exchanges between the parties.

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens said there was an initial “bloodletting” at the meeting, followed by a discussion about the way forward out of the crisis.

“We want an outcome, we need an agreement,” Mr Claassens told Sydney radio 2GB.

A Transport NSW employee walks along an empty platform at Central Station, in Sydney, Tuesday, December 21, 2021. Sydney commuters have been encouraged to avoid travelling by train on Tuesday morning because of an overnight strike by rail workers. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING Credit: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAPIMAGE

Sydney Trains and NSW Trainlink were due to appear before the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday, along with the union, to resolve issues surrounding negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.

Transport Minister David Elliott confirmed on Tuesday the application has since been withdrawn and the hearing has been vacated.

“Going forward, it is on the advice of senior counsel that the government will withdraw the matter before the Fair Work Commission,” he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

“Senior counsel have given that recommendation, which the government accepts in the interests of transparency and good will.

“As a result of that, I have agreed with the union today that we will start to commence rewriting the enterprise agreement which expired in May last year.”

Will trains return to normal tomorrow?

Mr Elliott said he was happy with how services ran on Tuesday and said commuters should expect some delays on Wednesday.

“We did have 160 buses replacing services on the train line and that did go according to plan,” he said.

“At this stage, commuters should expect that same service in (Tuesday) afternoon’s commute home and potentially (on Wednesday).”

Trains are running at 25 per cent capacity on Tuesday, with most trains timed every 30 minutes, while services on Sydney’s inner-city rail network are reduced to every 15 minutes, and buses are supplementing some services.

Sydney Trains says commuters can expect a limited service for days, before frequency increases later in the week, and train passengers are being urged to find alternative transport.

Commuters arrive at the closed Central Station during the shutdown of Sydney's train network in Sydney, Monday, February 21, 2022. All trains across Sydney and NSW have been cancelled. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING
Commuters arrive at the closed Central Station during the shutdown of Sydney’s train network in Sydney, Monday, February 21, 2022. All trains across Sydney and NSW have been cancelled. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING Credit: DEAN LEWINS/AAPIMAGE

The snap cancellations, ordered by transport authorities, left commuters stranded across the city and surrounds during the morning peak on Monday.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday blamed the union for the shutdown, saying it was part of a “coordinated, concerted attack” on the government by the union and Labor.

Mr Perrottet was angry that trains were out of action on a day when borders were opening to international arrivals, children were trying to get to school and university students were returning to campus.

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