Rail fail as V/Line staffers walk out again

March 7, 2024 8:57 am in by

Geelong commuters who rely on the train to get to work will need to find alternative transport – or take the day off – when V/Line staff walk off the job for 13 hours ahead of the looming Labour Day long weekend.

The stoppage is the latest in a drawn out campaign by rail workers as they battle the Allen government for a a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).

Friday’s stoppage will bring Victoria’s entire regional rail network to a halt, with services unlikely to resturn to normal until after the evening peak.

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The walkout will be the seventh to impact the Geelong line since December 14, and the sixth this year.

The row over a new EBA began in mid-2023 but escalated in February when the Rail, Tram and Bus Union rejected an offer of almost 4 per cent.

The Public Transport Users Association said Friday’s action would be “incredibly disruptive” for passengers who need to move around regional Victoria.

Commuters who use Tarneit and Wyndham Vale stations, and others in western Melbourne which take advantage of the Geelong-Melbourne route, will also be impacted.

V/Line urged its customers to “only travel if they need to” and warned that bus replacement services would face delays of two hours or more.

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RTBU Victorian branch secretary Vik Sharma said the rail operator’s latest offer was “sub-standard,” accusing the Victorian government of treating regional workers and communities as “second class citizens”.

“We’ve been bargaining for months, we made our claims very clear on day one, and they have just stopped listeing to the workers all-up,” he told Geelong Broadcasters.

“We haven’t announced any more action yet, (but) we will continue our campaign.

“If the state government continue(s) to ignore the regional workers this campaign will only become stronger and bigger.”