NSW Rail Maintenance Workers Walk Off Job

14th August 2018

Tilt Train

Late last month New South Wales track maintenance workers stopped operations for 24 hours after wage negotiations came to a halt.

The 170-person-strong stop work commenced at 3.00am on July 23 following stalled negotiations that have been ongoing since October 2016.

Alex Claassens, state secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus union, expressed the workers intense frustration.

"It's now got to the point where the members have said enough is enough," he said.

"Three times the company's gone out with an agreement the members have voted down and we've been locked in talks all that time."

Rallies were held simultaneously as workers protested for higher wages and improved conditions.

One man spoke to the ABC, telling them that the ARTC made him feel undervalued and frustrated.

"We've got a company that earns hundreds of millions of dollars each year and all we want is just to be recognised, basically," he said.

"We think that we're worth more than what they have offered us and we basically just want to be recognised.

"All of our work is definitely safety critical and without us you could not run the tracks.

"Everything we do is to certify that the trains are safe to run on those tracks."

Mr Claassens agrees, stressing the importance of the work the workers complete.

"These guys and girls do really crucial work maintaining our track infrastructure, our signals and our tracks to make sure we can run on them properly and safely," he said.

The ARTC confirms that they are committed to seeking a solution.

"We don't anticipate train services will be impacted today and where employees wish to participate in protected industrial action, we respect their right to do so," the ARTC said.

"We are committed to finding a resolution on this matter, and enterprise agreement discussions with staff and union representatives continue."