SYDNEY, AAP – Sydney train commuters can look forward to a smoother commute after the transport minister struck a deal with the union to lift a ban on overtime for rail workers.

However other industrial action by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union will continue, with staff refusing to work on foreign rolling stock and commuters facing interruptions on the South Coast and Airport South lines.

“I met with the union on Monday morning and engaged in productive dialogue to address a number of their claims,” Transport Minister David Elliott said on Wednesday.

“I’m pleased the union has agreed to lift the overtime ban with respect to signallers late yesterday evening to ensure passenger services and freight lines are uninterrupted for the next two weeks.

“The safety and welfare of transport workers is of great importance to me, as is providing a reliable and safe service to commuters,” he said.


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The minister will continue to engage with the combined rail unions and address their concerns as they negotiate their enterprise agreement.

Some of the union claims were “legitimate and some of them are quite bizarre”, Mr Elliott told Sydney radio 2GB on on Monday.

“Frontline workers deserve a pay rise but what workers deserve and what taxpayers can afford are two different things,” he said.

“If they’d done their jobs and rostered properly, this shouldn’t be causing a headache for anyone else,” RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said, adding transport officials had known about industrial action for weeks.

“We’d hoped that after the industrial actions taken last year the government and transport bureaucrats had finally agreed to listen and negotiate.

“But time and again they’ve refused to put basic safety provisions in place to ensure that commuters and workers are kept safe on our railways.”