Sydney train delays continue despite union concessions

The disruption to Sydney’s rail network will last at least another day, despite unions agreeing to further relaxation of industrial action that threatened to skyrocket the cost of a new metro line into hundreds of millions of dollars. dollars.

The Fair Work Commission is set to make a crucial decision on Friday on the New South Wales government’s bid to end ongoing industrial action by railway workers after weeks of disruption to the transport network.

As unions have eased their bans on operating foreign-built trains, only 60% of services are expected to operate on Friday, as the government remains locked in a protracted standoff with railway workers over wages and safety of a new intercity fleet.

Rail commuters face further disruption on Friday.Credit:Louise Kennerley

More union concessions were made shortly before a Fair Work Commission hearing on Thursday, where the government is trying to end industrial action by railroad workers, arguing that the cost to the state’s economy will be would amount to tens of millions of dollars.

The government had also warned that action by union members was preventing work on part of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest line during school holidays and would increase the cost of the project by up to $250 million.

The unions have agreed to relax these bans until at least July 15 to allow the crucial works to continue. However, lawyers acting for the unions questioned senior officials at the hearing about the assumptions made in the government’s modeling of the hit to the economy.

Treasury modeling had estimated that last Friday’s industrial action, when unions refused to staff overseas-built trains, cost the New South Wales economy $20 million.

It was based on the assumption that workers who catch trains lose an average of 12 minutes of productive time on industrial action days.

Questioned by lawyer Lucy Saunders, NSW Deputy Treasury Secretary Joann Wilkie said the agency had not included in its assumptions the possibility of increased productivity due to the increased number of people working from home.

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