Local News

V/Line staff strike hits Ballarat

Ballarat Railway Station 2017

The Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough lines will be without trains today as the second day of strike action by V/Line staff begins.

Commuters will instead be travelling on buses as the lines grind to a halt for 24 hours, as workers strike for a six per cent pay increase and better working conditions.

V/Line staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action at a meeting last week, which will see all regional train lines interrupted in the lead up to Christmas.

V/Line CEO James Pinder visited Ballarat yesterday, and said that he was “disappointed” that the strike would be taking place and disadvantaging travellers.

“We were a bit disappointed last week when we got a notice from the RTBU that they intended to take industrial action that’s going to affect customers travelling on the Ballarat line,” he said.

“We will be running a full coach replacement service for those customers to make sure we get them to where they need to be.”

Mr Pinder said that while the buses replacing trains would be an expensive exercise, he was unsure what the final total would be.

“I don’t know exactly how much that is going to cost us,” he said.

“It does depend on how many interruptions there are… but unfortunately it does cost us some money.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary, Luba Grigorovitch said that she understood the frustrations of commuters who will be forced to make alternative arrangements today.

“I know it isn’t that attractive for the commuters, and we do apologise for that,” she said.

“I would be asking the Minister for Public Transport why trains aren’t running, ultimately it’s the responsibility of the state government to make sure that the passengers can get around from A to B.”

Trains will return to normal service tomorrow, with further strike action planned along other V/Line services around the state before Christmas.

Image provided.