Train drivers to strike as pay talks go off the rails

Trains will grind to a halt across Adelaide as drivers stop work in search of a better pay offer from the network's private operator.

Rail Tram and Bus Union members will strike for four hours on Thursday as relations with Keolis Downer curdle.

The union had initially planned a number of low-level industrial actions, including bans on workers checking tickets and reporting graffiti, but says it was left with no other option than to stop work entirely after the operator threatened legal action.

RTBU SA/NT secretary Darren Phillips said it was extraordinary Keolis Downer chose to escalate the enterprise agreement dispute in that way.

"It is clear ... that Keolis Downer does not care about the service it provides to the people of South Australia," he said.

"This is appalling behaviour by a ruthless, profit-driven multi-national and it just demonstrates once again why the privatisation of South Australia's public transport operations was such an unmitigated disaster."

Services are expected to stop running across all Adelaide lines between 9am and 3pm on Thursday.

Adelaide Metro said a small number of substitute bus services would run in close vicinity to typical train lines while services were stopped.

"Customers are encouraged to consider alternative transport arrangements, including catching regular bus services, trams, or organising a lift with family or friends," it said in a statement on Wednesday.

About 40,000 passengers use Adelaide's rail network each day, but as the stoppage is due to occur during school holidays and outside peak periods, disruption on Thursday should be relatively low.

However, further two-hour stoppages planned for Tuesday and Wednesday will coincide with morning and afternoon peaks, respectively, potentially causing commuter chaos.

In a statement, Keolis Downer apologised to passengers for inconvenience caused, maintaining it continued to negotiate with the RTBU in good faith.

The union says wages are the main sticking point in negotiations.

The RTBU is seeking a 20 per cent pay rise over four years, while Keolis Downer is offering 14.7 per cent increase over the same period.

"South Australian rail workers have received below-inflation pay rises for a number of years, and as such they have borne the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis," Mr Phillips said.

A government spokesperson said it wanted to see both sides resolve the matter quickly.

"These services will be back in public hands next year at which point the government will have an active role in future pay negotiations," the spokesperson said.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store