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The NSW government is trying to block union action that would make train travel free


The NSW government is going to court to block it as part of the ongoing industrial boom.
A Section 418 application has been made to the Fair Work Commission to have the “disruptive acts” of switching off or short-circuiting machines from Wednesday declared unprotected, Transport Minister David Elliott said.

The move followed legal advice received by the government that the proposed action was prima facie illegal, he said in a statement on Saturday.

“Sydney Trains and NSW Train Link believe the notified action is also unsafe and could have financial consequences for passengers,” Mr Elliott said.
“The filing comes after (the Rail, Tram and Bus Union and others) rejected a series of formal requests from transport officials to call off the action.”
Mr Elliott said the case should be heard within 48 hours.
At the same time, the government remains committed to good faith negotiations but will take all measures to ensure that taxpayers’ assets are not misappropriated, he said.

The union plans to keep station gates open as they did last month, but this time Opal readers will also be switched off, preventing passengers from tapping, rather than giving them the option not to.

Not all stations have barriers, but the campaign also disables autonomous toll booths at suburban stations.
The Opal system is run by a private company and Mr Elliott said on Thursday he planned to seek advice on whether the union’s action would result in the Government having to pay penalties under the contract.

The RTBU is among the unions that recently referred Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink to the Fair Work Commission in a bid to continue negotiations over a new enterprise agreement and modifications to a fleet of new intercity trains that it believes are still unsafe to operate.

Prime Minister Dominique Perrottet announced that the talks had ended in late August after a month of protests that disrupted services for several days.
He threatened to cancel the business contract in case of further protests.

RTBU NSW secretary Alex Classens said the government and senior officials were “responsible for this mess, they can live with it now”.


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