Calamity on the Sydney train network could soon be over after the New South Wales government relented to offering better pay and conditions.
The dispute over an enterprise agreement last month almost culminated in a 24-hour strike across the state, before all industrial action was banned for six weeks.
Sydney and NSW Trains management have now bumped up the offer to an annual three per cent raise.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance previously said he would not budge above 2.5 per cent.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union said management would present the offer directly to workers at depot meetings starting Thursday.
The latest offer also includes a one-off $1000 payment and extended travel passes.
It includes a swathe of improvements to conditions – which RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens has maintained was at the crux of the dispute – including 64 weeks paid redundancy and domestic violence leave.
But a Sydney train guard told The New Daily the offer was “s–t”.
“The thousand bucks isn’t a bonus, it is effectively backpay. Plus, we will lose around half to tax.”
RTBU members knocked back the previous offer of a 2.75 per cent increase last month. Members voted through a text message, which asked if the offer was good enough to call off strike action.
That offer also included the $1000 one-off payment.
Just 5.93 per cent of Rail, Tram and Bus Union members – or 362 people of 6101 – voted to call off the action in a poll via text message.
Mr Constance and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian questioned the legitimacy of polling via a text message.
Members were only required to respond to the text if they wanted to vote ‘yes’ to calling off industrial action. No response was considered a ‘no’ vote.
An RTBU update on Wednesday said members should “take every opportunity available to them to hear about the latest offer, ask questions and provide feedback”.
“Together, we will get the wages and conditions you deserve.”
Earlier this week, RTBU rubbished reports train workers did not actually work overtime.
The Sydney network has buckled over the past month with widespread delays and service cancellations.
Workers and the RTBU attributed the meltdowns to a new timetable, rolled out in November. The timetable added an additional 1500 services without the additional staff required.
The New Daily last week revealed that one-third of train drivers hired by Melbourne’s Metro Trains last year were poached from New South Wales.
Sydney Trains and Mr Constance did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday night in time for publishing.