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SEVEN new trains destined to help ease Melbourne’s congestion might be stranded in Ballarat by industrial action.
Staff at Ballarat’s Alstom workshop, which has been producing X’Trapolis trains ordered by the state government, have authorised work stoppages after months of negotiations over a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
Tensions came to a head at a stop-work meeting this week when staff decided to embark upon further industrial action in pursuit of a deal.
One of the new Metro X’Trapolis trains at Flinders St Station. Picture: Rebecca MichaelRegular work stoppages may throw out timelines to deliver the trains, which may remain sitting in Ballarat.
“Alstom can confirm it continues to work with the employees and the state on a plan for the long-term future … However, any future work remains uncertain at this stage,” an Alstom spokesman said.
The state government spent $300 million on 19 six-car X’Trapolis trains for Melbourne’s network, 12 of which are now in service.
The remaining seven, under construction, will be used on services in the Burnley, Clifton Hill and cross-city group.
Premier Daniel Andrews announces new trains to be built at Ballarat train manufacturer Alstom. Picture: Ian CurrieRail Tram and Bus Union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the rail workshop was one of the most productive in the country.
“Alstom are seeking to pay wages lower than the industry standard, meaning they already have a competitive advantage over other players in the industry,” she said.
“The government needs to guarantee another order of trains for the workshop to provide security to the local community,” Ms Grigorovitch said.
“Wages earned by local workers flow directly into the regional economy. By cutting wages in regional Victoria, Alstom is attacking the community and local commerce.”
A government spokeswoman said the project was ahead of schedule and no delays were anticipated.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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