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The New South Wales transport minister has called the ongoing rail strike action a “politically motivated industrial campaign” as commuters are plagued by yet another day of extensive delays.

Up to 70 per cent of train services have been slashed and a weekend timetable is running after negotiations between the transport union and the government deteriorated overnight.

Crowds gather at Central Station in Sydney, as trains run on a reduced timetable as part of train drivers industrial action. 1st July 2022.
Crowds gather at Central Station in Sydney, as trains run on a reduced timetable as part of train drivers industrial action. 1st July 2022. (Janie Barrett)

Elliott said the government has met the union’s demands, including the funding to fix the NIF, a one-off $3185 payment to rail workers, and two separate pay rises in the next 12 months but the union hasn’t agreed.

“Today the rail union wants to set itself up so that it can have multiple disputes, it doesn’t want industrial harmony on our railways, it wants the NIF perfectly safe and operable, it wants the NIF modified at the cost to taxpayers of $264 million, then it wants more,” Elliott said.

“Enough is enough, we’re drawing a line the sand.”

Elliott said the ongoing strike action which is causing major delays for commuters will set public opinion against the union.

“I’ve got news for them, there’s no doubt in my mind that public opinion is well and truly against the union movement when it comes to this dispute,” he said.

NSW Transport Minister David Elliott
NSW Transport Minister David Elliott (9News)

He also threatened to go to the Fair Work Commission and have the enterprise agreement ripped up if the union doesn’t concede.

“I will reserve the right to march down if I need to if they want to continue to behave like children,” Elliott added.

NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Secretary Alex Claassens earlier said an agreement was not reached with the government because there were no clauses rectifying their concerns about the NIF.

“The deal on the table is not a deal on the table until it is in writing,” he told Today.

Sydney trains sit idle during industrial action, Friday July 1 2022. (Nine)

“The intercity fleet is something that we have been fighting for for six years.”

Elliott contended this saying a deed with modifications to the NIF was given to the union on Wednesday but they continue to change their demands.

“They want me to sign off the deed now then they want to come back and negotiate the enterprise agreement, that’s not fair on the taxpayers,” he said.

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens on Today.
RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens on Today. (Today)

Claassens doubled down on the union’s strike action and said safety concerns are one of the main factors fuelling the industrial dispute.

“People need to understand that we are doing this for them,” he said.

“We want a safe train. We want to address safety first and then our working conditions and then wages.

“This train is a sub- standard train bought from South Korea that is just not safe. It was designed to be driver-only, no guards on the train. We now have got a commitment the guards are there to stay, but we have got to modify the train so they can do the job to keep people safe.

“Until we see it in writing and somebody actually signs the document, we have got nothing.”

The rail union refuses to operate overseas-built trains, forcing transport authorities to use buses to replace rail services on scores of lines and put in place a significantly reduced rail timetable. (Nine)

The government has given the union until Tuesday next week to come to an agreement on their offer.

However, the union has already threatened further strike action next week.

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