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Hunter Workers supports striking NSW rail workers

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Hunter Workers is unequivocally supporting striking NSW rail employees, as their crusade hits the region on Tuesday.

The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) will suspend train services on 23 August between 10am and 4pm on the Newcastle line.

It’s part of ongoing industrial action in a fight to improve passenger safety across the network and a fair enterprise agreement.

The RTBU is also planning further strikes and other endeavours throughout August and, even, longer.

“People are in my office talking about a calendar for September,” NSW secretary Alex Claassens said.

“Everyone is very frustrated and angry.

“And, something’s got to give here.”

The industrial action comes after workers refused to operate 37 trains, they claim, that did not meet minimum maintenance standards, leading to delays on the T1, T2, and T8 lines on Monday.

Mr Claassens blamed outsourcing and extended time between inspections for the failure to meet the criteria.

“The issue with these (Waratah) trains is that they’re not serviced on a monthly basis as all of our old ones were,” he said.

Even though local commuters will be affected, again, Hunter Workers remains steadfast in its backing of the RTBU.

“By refusing to negotiate in good faith, the NSW Government has left the general public exposed, leaving rail workers with no choice but to continue the action,” secretary Leigh Shears said.

“Since the previous enterprise agreement expired last May, they’ve undertaken an aggressive campaign to reduce the conditions of workers as well as blaming the union for disruptions intentionally caused by the government.

“The NSW Government could easily put an end to these disruptions by coming to the table and listening to the legitimate concerns of rail workers.

“But, they’re more concerned with smearing the RTBU’s reputation than the safety of commuters and the wellbeing of public sector workers.

“Transport workers put their lives on the line working through the pandemic and play a vital role in the functioning of our society every single day.

“Public safety should be the NSW Government’s top priority while adequately consulting workers on safety and suitable renumeration and conditions.”

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