NSW train workers vote to go on strike as pay dispute continues


A NSW railway strike will go ahead after a majority of union members voted to push ahead with the action.

A NSW railway strike will go ahead after a majority of union members supported pushing ahead with the action.

A mobile phone survey to Rail, Tram and Bus Union workers returned only a 5.93 per cent 'yes' response out of the 6101 text messages delivered.

The result means more than 9000 workers will stop work for 24 hours in a move that NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has warned could "shut down" Sydney.

Workers were required to reply 'yes' to call off the strike, with a non-reply counted as a 'no' vote by the midday Wednesday deadline.

This means the overtime ban will continue as planned on Thursday and the 24-hour stoppage will continue on Monday.

"Unfortunately my members have overwhelmingly decided that the offer on the table is nowhere near good enough and our industrial action will continue," RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens told reporters.

"I'm not going to make a decision about money. It's never been about money as far as I'm concerned.

"I know there's some doubting Thomases over here, but I have honestly always said it's about our conditions first and foremost."

With the overtime ban in place, services will be cut from 2900 during weekdays to 1600.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging commuters to check timetables and to avoid travelling during peak hour.

Trains will operate on a Saturday schedule, cutting services across the state on Thursday and Australia Day on Friday.

The union initially wanted a six per cent pay rise and improved conditions, with members now considering a 2.75 per cent increase as part of a package including free bus travel and a one-off $1000 payment.

But many workers posted on the RTBU Facebook page on Wednesday morning saying they were still yet to receive the text just hours before the midday deadline.

"I would like to know why this has been sent out as an SMS. There are many of us on leave at the moment that do not have our work phones with us. Also how are we going to be able to vote if we are on leave," one said.

"I didn't get one either. What number do we call to make sure our phone numbers are right," another asked.

With more than 9000 workers due to stop work on Monday, the RBTU confirmed to AAP about 6500 members had received the text.

Mr Constance said the vote on Sydney Trains' latest offer to workers seemed designed to fail.

"There is so much riding on this strike action, I would find it unbelievable that they have potentially used a process around this that is designed to fail," he told 2GB.

- with additional reporting from Louise Cheer

Source AAP - SBS

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