‘Once and for all’: NSW government gives in to train union demands

Owen LeonardNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

The NSW government has given in to rail union demands on changes to a new set of trains, agreeing to modify the state-of-the-art intercity fleet amid threats of industrial action.

The $2.88bn New Intercity Fleet (NIF) has been sitting idle in maintenance facilities during a standoff between the government and the union, with the latter arguing the trains were unsafe to operate.

The union claims cameras on the new fleet are low quality and obstructed by opening doors while also arguing the trains don’t allow guards to check if departure is safe by sticking their heads out.

But Transport Minister David Elliott on Wednesday announced the government would commit an extra $264m to make the demanded modifications.

Camera IconThe government has given in to union demands on the new trains. NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Elliott said he expected the union to relent on industrial action in response, although it’s likely slowdowns and strikes would go on as planned despite the government’s move.

Union action is set to reduce train services to just 30 per cent capacity on Thursday.

“The ball is in the union’s court … there is no need for industrial action,” Mr Elliott said.

Camera IconTransport Minister David Elliott expects the union to change its industrial action plans. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

“The government is making a once-and-for-all offer in relation to industrial action. (We) will be providing $264m to make modifications to the NIF to ensure the NIF is on track as soon as possible.

“My expectation from the union, of course, is they commence to wind back their industrial action.

“The NSW government expects the union to terminate industrial action straight away in the best interest of the community.”

The NSW government had previously criticised the union, with Treasurer Matt Kean slamming the ultimatum only.

“This demand to butcher a new modern fleet is beyond ridiculous,” he said last month.

Camera IconUnion action could reduce train services to just 30 per cent. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

“The union demand that we rip out the latest technology is unreasonable.

“The unions need to allow passengers to use this modern, advanced and safe fleet, not tear them apart for their industrial warfare.”

Originally published as ‘Once and for all’: NSW government gives in to train union demands

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