Commuters were warned to avoid non-essential travel on Wednesday due to the industrial action resulting in a 75 per cent cut in train services. Rail workers refused to operate foreign-built trains, which make up three quarters of the state’s rail fleet.
Train services were reduced to about 30-minute intervals across most rail lines.
The rail union has told the government it will cease industrial action for at least a month in return for a pay rise 0.5 per cent above the public sector wages cap, as well as a binding commitment for modifications to the Korean-built intercity train fleet.
Perrottet on Wednesday morning ruled out any increase to the wages cap.
The government has been reluctant to increase the wages cap for rail workers as it juggles claims from across the public sector, including nurses and midwives who will strike for 24 hours on Thursday.
The government has offered rail workers pay rises of 3 per cent in year one and 3.5 per cent in year two, which is in line with its wage policy for public sector workers.
Rail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Alex Claassens said it was working in “good faith” with the transport agency to finally end the dispute but accused the government of using inflammatory language which had resulted in threats against rail workers.
″The NSW government has a duty of care towards those workers, regardless of today’s protected industrial action,” he said.
Claassens called on “boof-head politicians” and radio hosts to stop using inflammatory language because it was resulting in rail workers receiving threats from members of the public.
“Over the last couple of days, the comments made by certain politicians and their mates the shock jocks have perpetuated a bunch of actions against our members,” he said. “It has to stop, and it has to stop today. I’m calling on everyone to respect the workforce and stop attacking people.”
He also criticised Labor leader Chris Minns who was “out there yesterday calling on us to go back to the table” despite the fact “we have been at the bloody table” negotiating for months.
Asked if he felt betrayed by Minns, Claassens said he was disappointed with “all politicians who are treating us like mugs” and, if the opposition leader wanted to express a view, he needed to reach out to unions and rail workers to hear their concerns.
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