Rail strikes to end as NSW govt makes deal

Rail strikes to end as NSW govt makes deal

The NSW government has finally carved out a deal with the rail union to modify a fleet of trains after months of bitter negotiation and industrial action.

“Today we have put the people of Sydney first,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a joint statement issued late on Friday with Finance Minister Damien Tudehope and Transport Minister David Elliott.

The parties had been at odds over whether or not to make safety modifications to a multi-billion dollar Korean-built fleet of intercity trains, which have been in storage since 2019.

The government reached the deal with the union on Friday, after months of stymied talks and accusations of bad faith from both parties.

Modifications to the trains will allow guards to monitor platforms on approach and departure, enhancing safety. The government had argued they were unnecessary and would cost up to $1 billion.

Secretary of the RTBU Alex Claassens confirmed the deal had been struck to AAP on Friday night.

“Millions of Sydney and NSW rail commuters will now be able to catch a train without being unfairly hit by union disruption, following an agreement between the NSW Government and the Combined Rail Unions,” the premier and ministers said.

“For too long school kids, people going to work and small businesses have had their lives and businesses turned upside down by industrial action by the rail unions.

“We have now agreed to a Fair Work Commission process which will result in a vote by Combined Rail Unions and an ongoing arbitration process on a small number of outstanding items.

“While these Fair Work Commission processes are underway, the Combined Rail Unions have agreed not to undertake any industrial action.”

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