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Sydney rail workers are threatening to go on strike next week unless a row over pay and conditions is resolved.
Unions say RailCorp administrators and maintenance workers will walk off the job for four hours on August 5 unless a compromise deal can be reached.
NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Unions branch secretary Alex Claassens said workers want a five per cent pay rise and promises that the increase will not have an impact on staffing levels.
RailCorp has agreed to some pay rises, but only after train guards and CCTV monitors are cut back, Mr Claassens said.
That would put safety at risk, he added.
Talks are now set down for Thursday and Friday to try to avert industrial action, with NSW Transport Minister John Robertson saying he has asked both parties to negotiate in good faith.
If the talks fail, maintenance depots and workshops in Hornsby, Flemington, Mortdale and Sydenham plan to go on strike.
Workers at RailCorp's administration office in Burwood will also walk off the job, Mr Claassens added.
"RailCorp is saying that the only way it can give them a pay rise is by reducing staff," he told AAP on Wednesday.
"But we're talking about jobs that are essential to safety."
The planned strikes would not affect passengers or services, the union says.
The union and RailCorp are due to attend hearings at Fair Work Australia in Sydney on Thursday and Friday to hammer out a deal.
"RailCorp and the unions are at Fair Work tomorrow and Friday and I've asked both parties to negotiate in good faith to reach a resolution," Mr Robertson said.
"I don't think passengers who simply want to get to and from work should be caught in the middle of this, which is why I've asked both parties to continue to negotiate in good faith."
Mr Claassens said the two organisations have been meeting twice a week for the past fortnight to try to reach a deal and that talks have been productive.
"We're pretty hopeful that a deal can be reached, but if it's not then we are prepared to take action," he said.
RailCorp was initially unable to respond to AAP calls.
© 2010 AAP
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