JAIME HENDRIE | NEWS
On Monday, the 21st of February, NSW Trains were thrown into disarray due to a disagreement surrounding safe operating standards between NSW Trains and Trainlink and the NSW Government. This led to mass inconvenience for anyone in NSW relying on the train network to get to work, school, or just to travel, as there were no trains in any direction for the entire delay. Consequently, roads banked up, and in some parts of the city, up to 22km’s long lines of traffic were recorded, making it nearly impossible for anyone to get anywhere in and around Sydney for the day.
This coincided with a return to University for many Universities in and around Sydney, along with a back to work order from the NSW Government due to an easing of Covid limitations. It was also the first day that international tourist arrivals were entering the country. Effectively, this set the entire city into disarray and the disagreement between the Rail Union and the NSW Government only continued throughout the day as each gave different stories to the media about who was at fault in the train strike and left commuters and citizens wondering which story was the truth of the matter.
Both State and Federal Coalition Ministers told the media varying stories, suggesting that Unions were “hijacking the city” and “colluding to cause chaos”, whereas Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the media that Unions were at fault, and pinned the issues with Unions on the Federal Labor Party, rather than highlighting that faults occurred during negotiations between the Union and the State government.
On the other hand, the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union (RTBU) told the media that they had negotiated with the government for some days on fair work and safety standards. They reported that the NSW Government backed down at the last minute, resulting in their decision to stop rail services for the day, despite rail workers showing up for their shifts.
Luckily the RTBU and NSW Government were able to come to an agreement on Monday night, allowing rail services to resume on Tuesday 22nd of February as if nothing had happened. However, NSW citizens and commuters will not be forgetting this behaviour quickly, especially so close to an election.