HOPES of an 11th hour agreement to avert the planned V/Line strike appear to be dashed with the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) confirming stoppages on regional train lines will go ahead this week.
As flagged by the RTBU last week, trains on regional lines - including the Ballarat line - will be faced with one-day stoppages over the coming two weeks after union affiliated V/Line staff voted overwhelmingly (98 per cent) to launch industrial action over an EBA dispute with the state government.
V/Line has confirmed replacement buses will be made available on the day of stoppages on every line which begins today on the Bendigo and Swan Hill line.
On Thursday, it is Ballarat's turn, with all trains on the Ballarat, Ararat and Maryborough lines to be cancelled for 24 hours.
For customers planning to travel with us tomorrow on the Ararat, Ballarat and Maryborough lines, we expect the journey time will be around 45 minutes longer than usual as coaches replace trains during industrial action. pic.twitter.com/FW2SRFltrj— V/Line Ballarat Line (@vline_ballarat) December 10, 2019
RTBU Victorian Branch Secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the strike action was entirely about conditions and not pay.
She said V/Line - under command from the state government - was seeking a new enterprise agreement which will slash working conditions for conductors, customer service and other operational workers.
"While Victoria has seen a complete boom in regional patronage, the government is expecting V/Line workers to do more with less, more services less support, less funding, and our members just won't stand for it," Ms Grigorovitch said.
"Our members are working harder than ever to support the boom in regional commuters without any support from the government."
V/Line said commuters should factor in up to 60 minutes longer for their usual trip.
"We will do everything possible to minimise the impact of the industrial action, to help our passengers get where they need to go."
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