The South Australian Government ‘s bungled privatisation of passenger rail services has gone from bad to worse, with revelations the hand-over of the Gawler line will be delayed until at least April.
Rail, Tram and Bus Union (SA/NT) Secretary Darren Phillips said Transport Minister Corey Wingard’s feeble attempts to blame the delayed hand-over on the former Labor State Government didn’t pass the pub test.
“The RTBU understands that less than half the rail workforce has opted to move across to the private operator,” Mr Phillips said.
“This would make it extremely challenging for Keolis Downer to fully operate the network when it takes control on 31 January.
“Delaying the hand-over of the Gawler line gives Keolis Downer more time to fill positions and train up new employees into training intensive positions such as Train Controllers and Train Drivers.”
Cutting jobs during an economic crisis
Mr Phillips said rail workers were confused about what the delay meant for their immediate future.
“The privatisation process has been extremely stressful for workers, who feel that they are being treated with contempt by the State Government.
“Despite the Government’s promises, privatisation will come at the cost of 132 jobs – at a time when every single job in the state is priceless.
“There is never a good time to privatise essential services, but doing it in the middle of a jobs crisis is economic vandalism."
“The transition to the new operator has become a dog’s breakfast, and Premier Steven Marshall must step in and end this fiasco before it gets any worse.”