Nearly 50 Melbourne train drivers have been stood down for refusing to drive on a new section of track that opened yesterday morning.
- The Rail, Tram and Bus Union says drivers have not received adequate training on the new tracks
- Tram drivers are taking strike action over pay and conditions today
- Industrial action by V/Line drivers will disrupt services on the Geelong and Warrnambool lines tomorrow
The drivers say they have not been properly trained to drive on the new tracks on the Frankston, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines, which were constructed as part of the Metro Tunnel project.
Metro Trains has taken the drivers to the Fair Work Commission and a hearing this morning was told 10 services were cancelled this morning because of driver unavailability.
Nearly 400 services still ran across the newly upgraded track between South Yarra and Hawksburn this morning, and more than 200 drivers drove on the line.
The matter is still before the Fair Work Commission and is expected to take several days to resolve.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union spokesman Marc Marotta said he expected more drivers to join 48 of their colleagues who had already been stood down.
“We’ve had well over 100 requests for legal representation from members involved,” he said.
“The Government has provided the funding for training but Metro Trains isn’t willing to spend that money.
“It’s pretty disgusting. The Public Transport Minister could just intervene and … provide the training.”
Victoria’s Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said the union was not prioritising passengers.
“We have seen construction companies work around the clock to return services earlier. Unfortunately with the action that is occurring today, this is absolutely the union putting passengers last,” she said.
A Metro Trains spokesperson said: “While we can’t comment on current proceedings, we never compromise on the safety of our passengers and employees.”
Tram drivers striking over pay and conditions
The dispute came as Yarra Trams drivers went on strike for four hours as part of a bid for better pay and conditions.
Yarra Trams warned travellers to “expect significant disruptions” due to the industrial action between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
Ms Horne said the strike action was “completely unnecessary”.
“Yarra Trams and the union have a number of options available to them. I urge them to go into the Fair Work Commission and resolve their differences,” she said.
Tomorrow trains will not run on the Geelong and Warrnambool lines as a result of industrial action by V/Line train drivers.
On February 7, trains will not run on the Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill lines due to further industrial action.