Melbourne Tram Strike: Drivers Resume Strike on Thursday; Buses Will Replace Trams

Tram drivers in Melbourne, Australia will go on a four-hour strike on Thursday following deadlock on their demand for higher pay.

The strike will resume after the Fair Work Commission, on Tuesday evening, dismissed the application of Yarra Trams to suspend or terminate the industrial action, The Age reported.

Yarra Trams filed an application for cancelation of the threatened strike after Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) members rejected the company’s offer over the weekend.

Tram drivers will walk off their job from 10:00am and 2:00pm tomorrow (Aug. 27).

In a statement, Yarra Trams said if the strike pushes through, many of the tram routes will have replacement buses to avoid disruption on commuters’ travel plans.

“Replacement buses will operate on the St Kilda Road corridor and to key locations such as train stations, hospitals and Melbourne University,” the company added.

Information on replacement buses is available at Yarra Trams website, tramTRACKER smart phone app, the company’s Twitter account, and at passenger information displays at major tram stops.

Last week, the union called off simultaneous train and tram walkout after Metro Trains and Yarra Trams agreed to return to the negotiating table.

According to ABC News, the union is seeking for 18 percent increase over three years. However, Yarra Trams’ latest offer is only at 15 percent over a four-year bump on pay, if staff will agree to work a 14-day roster.

ABC News quoted RTBU divisional secretary Phil Altieri saying, “We would prefer to avoid industrial action if an agreement can be reached before Thursday. However, if agreement is not reached our members have made it clear they will proceed with the planned industrial action.”

Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no need for industrial action and appealed to both parties.

“I would hope that common sense prevails here and we cannot have any industrial action,” he said.

Public Transport Victoria chief executive Mark Wild also encouraged the union and Yarra Trams to resolve the dispute and avoid any disruption on public transport.

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