A long-running industrial dispute that has crippled Sydney’s rail network for months is close to being resolved after the state government signed a deal committing it to overhaul a new multibillion-dollar train fleet.
NSW Transport Minister David Elliott said the government and the rail union had reached a breakthrough on Friday afternoon after the state agreed to sign a deed to change the mothballed intercity train fleet at the center of the long-running dispute.
Elliott, appearing before the Fair Work Commission on Friday, said the rail union would withdraw all industrial action. “We have an agreement. The new intercity deed is signed. The union will withdraw all industrial action … peace,” he said.
Elliott said a “small number of items” still had to go to arbitration, but the process would not stop railroad workers from voting on a new enterprise agreement.
“One time [Fair Work] the commissioner has arbitrated, it will be inserted into the enterprise agreement,” he said.
The final resolution of the dispute will depend on railroad workers voting in favor of the enterprise agreement.
The breakthrough late on Friday comes after five days of intense negotiations between the government and the Tram and Bus Union. Premier Dominic Perrottet moved a week ago to hold industrial action by offering commuters free train travel, paving the way for the negotiations.
The government and the union have also agreed in principle on a company agreement, which will be voted on by railway workers. It includes a cash payment of $4,500 to employees and two annual salary increases over the life of the new agreement, which expires in 2024.