National Secretary Mark Diamond has written an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeking a retraction and apology for his false statements about workers at Sydney Trains.
OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER SCOTT MORRISON
23 February 2022
Dear Prime Minister
I write to you about your recent public statements regarding the Sydney Trains network ceasing operations on Monday 21 February 2022.
In a radio interview on 2GB, and again at a media conference several hours later in Tasmania, you falsely stated that the rail shutdown was caused by a “strike” by rail workers. Moreover, you provided commentary stating that the behaviour of workers was
“just not how you behave and this is not how you treat your fellow citizens.”
Your comments were widely reported, and gave the NSW community reason to believe that the rail shutdown was a deliberate and socially damaging act perpetrated by rail workers. As a result of your behaviour and that of your state colleagues, rail workers have since endured being spat on, sworn at, and even assaulted by misinformed members of the public.
To give you a flavour of the many reports of abuse we have received, a group of workers having coffee across from Lidcombe Station at 5am on Tuesday morning were approached by a member of the public who hurled verbal abuse at them - including racial slurs – and accused them of being ”terrorists”. The man then approached our members, picked up a barrier from outside the coffee shop and used it to physically assault one of the workers.
Our offices have also received abusive and threatening phone calls and emails, such as “FUCK YOU AND FUCK YOUR PROTEST. IM COMING FOR YOU.”
As such, I write to respectfully request that you correct the record by publicly apologising to rail workers for falsely claiming they were on strike, and acknowledge, without qualification, that the decision to cancel services was made by Sydney Trains, not by workers.
I am deeply concerned that without every effort being made to correct the record, rail employees and their representatives will remain at risk.
Should you wish to go a step further, then I would welcome you for a tour of the Sydney rail network so that you can apologise to rail workers in person and talk to them directly about their experiences during the rail shutdown.