NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the planned strike on Wednesday was politically motivated and its impact on the community would be “devastating”.
“Every time that we have made concessions to fix that issue [with the new trains], the union has come out and said ‘we’ll move onto something else’,” he said.
Perrottet said he believed he was on a “unity ticket” with the NSW Labor opposition over the strikes, which both sides have called to end.
“Our people are being inconvenienced and penalised because of this ridiculous action,” he said.
Even if the government agrees to the union’s latest demands, it will come too late to avoid severe disruptions to services on Wednesday caused by rail workers refusing to operate foreign-built trains.
The industrial action will result in delays, cancellations and overcrowded carriages because foreign-built trains make up about three-quarters of the state’s rail fleet.
Claassens conceded that even if the unions immediately called off the industrial action on Wednesday it would be “very, very hard” for the railway to run anything but a weekend timetable, which has significantly fewer services than on weekdays.
“We get the commuters are angry and frustrated as a lot of us are. But unfortunately, we’ve got no other way of getting this government to listen,” he said.
“They’ve got an opportunity to come to the table this week. We’ve put a position to them. [Tudehope] has got 24 hours in which to respond to that.”
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