The industrial action against Metro Trains, the private firm that is contracted to run the city’s rail network, comes as the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) launches a battle for better pay.
Negotiations with the rail company have been going for almost six months with concerns about job security, rostering and overtime emerging as key issues along with pay. Basically, RTBU are requesting a 6% wage increase for these workers, but Metro Trains will only offer 2%. On Monday, August 12 and Monday, August 19, Melbourne rail travellers in Australia will effectively receive two days free travel, as the Rail Tram and Bus Union launches protected industrial action against Metro Trains.
Train drivers will also refuse to skip stations or alter train services for a week from August 12. They will not operate trains that don’t have fully operational Passenger Emergency Intercoms. Other industrial action will see an indefinite ban on wearing uniforms for all customer-facing staff, and a refusal to participate in any training for the new High Capacity Metro Trains. Union members will instead wear a football jersey and donate a gold coin to charity. This isn’t the first time transport workers have had to protest for a pay increase, with a similar strike taking place in 2015 that resulted in a 4.4% pay increase.