Planned train strikes in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday are set to go ahead after the Fair Work Commission rejected an application from Metro to have it stopped.
Operator Metro Trains failed to prove its claim that the four-hour stoppage scheduled for 10am until 2pm would endanger the safety and welfare of commuters.
Its application had been supported by the Victorian Government.
Industrial action was also been planned for Thursday morning, with up to 50 early morning services, mostly between 4am until 7am, set to be cancelled.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) advised passengers to check the website for updates.
A similar argument from Yarra Trams was also rejected by the commission ahead of last week’s tram strike.
Metro and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) have so far failed to reach an agreement over a pay dispute that has grown increasingly bitter over the past month.
The RTBU said it would work to limit the disruption caused by the strike, unlike the action taken by tram workers last week when delays spilled over the nominated stop-work period.
“In order to minimise the impact on the travelling public, our members such as train controllers and signallers will stay on duty long enough and return to duty early enough to ensure disruptions are limited to the four hours between 10am and 2pm,” RTBU secretary Luba Grigorovitch said in a statement.
“We would still prefer to avoid industrial action if an agreement can be reached before Friday.
“However, the latest offer from the company is still a long way from being acceptable.”
Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala said the operator had done all it could to resolve the dispute.
“I think it’s ridiculous to be honest. We’ve got a fantastic offer on the table,” he said.
“We’ve put [a 17 per cent pay rise] on the table and it’s just unheard of that a union would go to strike action when there’s an improved offer on the table without negotiating around it.”
Metro has refuted the union’s claims that services would not be disrupted outside the strike periods.