Melburnians planning to jump on a tram between 10am and 2pm on Thursday will be disappointed, as drivers will pull the brakes and go on strike.
Replacement buses will run during these hours offering reduced services that will prioritise hospitals, shopping centres and universities, as well as connections with other trains and buses.
The industrial action comes after more than 90 per cent of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union members voted in favour of protected industrial actions that will push their claims for wage increases.
They’re also opposing the hiring of new part-time workers.
Yarra Trams wants to lift the current cap on part-time employees from four per cent to a maximum of 15 per cent and has offered 12 per cent wage increases over four years.
“Yarra Trams says its new part time plans will lead to diversity and inclusivity but the actual shifts and rosters proposed are completely unsuitable for workers with child care and caring responsibilities,” RTBU secretary Luba Grigorovitch said on Wednesday.
“In reality, Yarra Trams just wants bigger profits. Yarra Trams’ plans will reduce the take home pay of full-time workers and destroy job security.”
The negotiating table has been set since last March, and the union has already agreed to a wage increase for maintenance and technical employees under separate agreements.
“It is unnecessary and unhelpful for the RTBU to halt progress by taking further industrial action. We remain committed to continuing negotiations to reach a positive outcome,” Yarra Trams CEO Nicolas Gindt said.
“We’ve already made two good offers including reasonable wage increases, but the RTBU refuse to discuss opportunities to offer people part-time work or improve rosters for our people.”
The union has branded Yarra Trams’ position as stubborn, claiming that the company is to blame for the decision to ramp up industrial action.
Yarra Trams, the union claims, doubled their profits last year to $18 million.
“Despite Yarra Trams generating more and more profit year after year they are refusing to share it with their workers,” Mr Grigorovitch said.
Negotiations and conciliation in the Fair Work Commission continue. Another strike is scheduled to happen on Thursday December 5.