NSW Government concedes on NIF safety

The NSW Government has again agreed to fix the safety issues with the New Intercity Fleet, however all planned protected industrial action is still going ahead until further notice.


RTBU Union NSW Branch Secretary, Alex Claassens, said while it is fantastic that the NSW Government has finally, again, agreed to rectify the safety issues on the new fleet, the union needs to see the complete package and commitment in writing and discuss it with members before any action can be called off.

“It’s great that the NSW Government has again admitted that the safety issues with the New Intercity Fleet need to be rectified before we can allow commuters to travel on it,” Mr Claassens said.

“However, we’ve been in this position before. This isn’t the first time the NSW Government has promised it will fix the safety issues. Rail workers and commuters have been burnt too many times to believe what one Minister in one meeting says. We need to see the whole package in writing to make sure this isn’t just another case of the NSW Government playing political games.

Mr Claassens said the union will wait until it sees the complete package and commitment to fix the safety issues with the NIF in a legally enforceable document. Members and delegates will then need to have their say before any changes to the planned protected industrial action are implemented.


Upcoming actions include:

• Thursday 30 June: Ban on train drivers travelling as a passenger while on duty (24hrs); and a ban on work associated with Sydney Metro (indefinite)

• Friday 1 July: A ban on operating foreign-made trains

Mr Claassens said the NSW Government called the last minute meeting today following a meeting of union delegates this morning which moved to overwhelmingly rejected the government’s ‘bribe’ of thousands of dollars for workers to operate the unsafe fleet.

“This has always been about the safety of commuters and workers on our rail network,” Mr Claassens said.

“The attempt to get workers to accept money in exchange for knowingly putting people at risk by operating an unsafe train showed that the NSW Government had its priorities all wrong. We’re hopeful that this change of heart is genuine and that the government is committed to reaching an agreement that provides safe trains and the enterprise agreement everyone deserves."


Mr Claassens said it is also crucial that the changes to the New Intercity Fleet don’t come at the expense of members wages and conditions.

“We need to see the government’s full proposal. We can’t have a situation where they say they’ll fix the NIF, but try to recoup the costs by cutting into rail workers’ wages and conditions.

“We are all very hopeful that the NSW Government’s offer is genuine and that we can all get back to what we do best – moving the people of NSW around the state safely.”