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Sydney train strike blasted on eve of long weekend

January 25, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A Sydney train strike set for this Monday has been slammed for its potential to “severely damage the city’s tourism reputation and throw the entire transport network into chaos”. It will certainly make it harder for many agents and travel industry employees to get to work.

Trains today (Thursday) are running to a Saturday timetable.

The strike on Monday (29 January) will shut down the railway system, bringing far more cars onto the state’s roads. Sydney train commuters face a choice: battle heavy traffic on congested roads on Monday, work from home instead, or just take the day off and turn the three-day Australia Day weekend into four-day holiday. Sickies are tipped to rocket.

As well as the action on Monday, which is mainly about pay, the union is placing an indefinite ban on overtime, which will cut services from the usual weekday total of 2900 to 1600 today (Thursday). Australia Day tomorrow is a public holiday.

The warning about “throwing the entire transport network into chaos” was delivered by the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF), whose chief executive, Margy Osmond, condemned the decision by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union to proceed with the 24-hour strike at the peak of Sydney’s holiday season.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging commuters to check timetables and to avoid travelling during peak hour.

Sydney’s railway system is already creaking at the seams, overcrowded at peak hours as it struggles to keep pace with rising patronage and population growth.

Osmond said the union decision to call a strike would “leave tourists and residents across Sydney stranded for up to 24 hours, but the negative impact on the city’s reputation will last much longer.

“During the peak of our summer holiday season, there will potentially be hundreds of thousands of domestic and international visitors who will have difficulty accessing our attractions or getting to and from the airport.  In addition, our terrific tourism employees will struggle to get to work to provide the service and support that our visitors expect.

“It is bad enough that commuters and visitors will have to endure services operating on a weekend schedule during a working day tomorrow.

“The Government and the Transport Minister have worked overtime to find a solution and it is outrageous for the RTBU to make tourists and the travelling public suffer.

“There is no question that this strike will damage our reputation as a welcoming destination for holidaymakers and business travellers.”

Written by Peter Needham

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