Prepare yourself, Sydneysiders, because Opal machines are set to be turned off due to an ongoing industrial dispute.
SMH reports that the machines will be switched off in regions three and six for 24 hours, affecting the city’s west and inner west areas, including Parramatta, Liverpool, and Fairfield.
The dispute is the result of strike action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union and the Transport Workers Union. The latter’s NSW state secretary, Richard Olsen, explained their action in a statement.
“To anyone getting on a bus in Sydney’s south-west and inner west tomorrow, you can leave your Opal card in your wallet,” he said.
“They’re not asking for much, all drivers want is a guarantee that whether you’re driving a bus in Liverpool or in Leichhardt, you will be paid the same regardless.”
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW bus division secretary David Babineau pointed to the government’s efforts to privatise transportation services in the state as a reason for the ongoing dispute.
“This is what happens when public transport is privatised and run for profit. The public are robbed of their reliable services and workers are robbed of their pay and conditions,” Babineau said.
There is hope on the horizon though: a spokesperson for Transport for NSW revealed that negotiations have been taking place between both unions and a private operator, with the aim to cause as little impact on Sydney commuters as possible.
“As action is yet to take place we will assess the impact on Opal revenue in due course,” the spokesperson said.
It’s just the latest interruption to services due to actions by Sydney transport workers fighting for their pay. Just recently, rail workers stopped operating most of NSW’s trains over a pay and safety dispute.
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