Geelong commuters face disruptions next week with V/Line staff set to walk off the job.
The stoppage is planned for Wednesday December 13 commencing at 3am and while it will only last four hours, passengers are being warned the flow-on effect could lead to delays through much of the morning.
Train drivers are not expected to strike but support staff including conductors, controllers, station and customer service staff will all walk out over pay and conditions.
V/Line is working on a plan to provide replacement buses.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said talks over a new enterprise agreement have been dragging on for six months
Negotiations have stalled around key issues including better job security, inconsistencies in decisions from V/Line management, better work-life balance and fairness for part-time workers.
V/Line CEO Matt Carrick urged the union to reconsider, saying the strike would potentially disrupt the journeys of tens of thousands of passengers.
“We have been negotiating with employee representatives and the union in good faith and urge the union to reconsider industrial action which could potentially disrupt tens of thousands of passengers.” Mr Carrick said.
“We’ll continue to work with the union to deliver excellent employment conditions for our workforce and a better service for our passengers – we will work hard to minimise the impacts of disruption on passengers.”
The row was exacerbated by a 17 per cent pay rise over four years recently awarded to Metro staff.
Vik Sharma from the RTBU said his members deserve the same respect and conditions.
“In the current climate of automation, major changes and an uncertain economy, members are fighting for what all workers across Victoria deserve – job security and decent conditions,” Mr Sharma said.
“We are focused on minimising the impacts of industrial action on the travelling public and encourage commuters to plan their working weeks accordingly where possible.
‘”The RTBU will continue to meet with V/Line and negotiate in good faith as members would prefer to avoid industrial action if their concerns are addressed.”