A high ranking union official has called on Scott Morrison to offer an official apology following this week’s Sydney trains fiasco.
The National Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has called on Scott Morrison to offer an official apology following this week’s Sydney trains fiasco.
Commuters were left stranded at a moment’s notice on Monday morning after the snap decision to halt all trains across the city. Services resumed on Tuesday, with commuters “packed like sardines” across Sydney as trains arrived at stations in half-hour intervals.
The NSW Government has now withdrawn its legal action against rail workers, and Sydney train services will slowly return to normal over the coming days.
“It is now clear that the decision to shut down the Sydney train network had nothing to do with rail workers. It is up to the NSW Government to explain how and why that decision was made,” Union Secretary Mark Diamond said in a release on Tuesday afternoon, accusing both the media and the Prime Minister of spreading a false narrative.
“For the past two days, Sydney Trains workers have copped abuse from stranded commuters on platforms and on social media because people wrongly believed the cancellation of rail services was due to a union strike.”
“That belief was fuelled by false statements made on 2GB and repeated at a nationally-televised media conference by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Scott Morrison lied about a non-existent strike to score cheap political points. That lie compounded the anxiety and stress being felt by millions of people in Sydney.”
Mr Diamond said it was “utterly bizarre” Sydney Trains workers were being accused of taking strike action.
“Strikes are a legitimate industrial tool for workers, but we never take strike action lightly. To be accused of taking strike action, when our members were doing no such thing, was utterly bizarre,” he said.
“If Scott Morrison has any decency whatsoever, he will apologise to Sydney Trains workers for his brazen lie. I am happy to take Mr Morrison for a tour of Sydney Trains depots so that he can deliver his apology in person.”
News.com.au has reached out to The Prime Minister’s office for comment.
Transport Minister David Elliot said he has asked the union “as an act of good faith” to see train workers return as quickly as possible to the Covid timetable, which is the enhanced weekend schedule.
Speaking at Parliament House, Mr Elliott appeared to quickly become frustrated with the line of questioning from journalists.
He snapped at a reporter who asked why he wasn’t aware of Sydney’s Trains’ late night decision to shut down the network until Monday morning.
“What do you think I was doing? What do you think I might have been doing at 12.43 in the morning?” Mr Elliott said.
“This might come as a surprise to you but I go to bed between 10 and 11pm, then 12.43pm on a Monday morning I am in bed.”
He continued: “I don’t expect them to send a car at two o’clock in the morning and wake me up and tell me”.
Sydney Trains has encouraged commuters who typically rely on the rail network to find alternative travel options, if possible.
– with Ally Foster