More than 1000 extra trucks on road due to union action

NSW motorists will compete with around one thousand extra trucks and over 300 extra buses on the road by the end of current, damaging industrial action by unions – raising safety issues and causing congestion and road damage – the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) said today.

The additional heavy vehicles on the road come as result of 200 hours of industrial action being waged by the Unions; and valuable freight and passengers that would have originally travelled by rail being transferred to road.

“We are in a perverse situation where the Rail Tram and Bus Union is doing their best to be the trucking industry’s best friend– undertaking damaging action that directly sends freight and passengers to travel by road,” ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.

“This means every NSW motorist is sharing the road with extra truck movements and replacement buses that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Not to mention the additional passengers now opting to travel by car.

“Every day thousands of tonnes of contestable freight and thousands of passengers travel by rail – the Union action underway at the moment is only doing one thing – destroying the rail industry and killing off current and future rail jobs.

“This is against every single objective of the Unions and yet they are determined to proceed with this irresponsible action.

“We are asking the Unions to please call of this damaging train pain – all it does is hurt the rail industry, our staff and NSW businesses and communities,” said Mr Fullerton.

Over one million tonnes of freight and more than 10,000 passengers were disrupted by 4 days of continuous strike action between 3 and 6 August.

The Unions have also notified they intend to begin work bans from Wednesday 17 August and a 48 hour stoppage from Thursday 18 August, resulting in 72 hours of major disruption. Only yesterday they notified of a further 24 hours of stoppages on Tuesday 23 August.

While freight volume like coal, grain and other bulk freight will be seriously delayed and see train services cancelled, this strike action will see around 40,000 tonnes of freight transferred to road.

A B Double truck carries around 37 tonnes of freight – that translates to over a thousand truck journeys carrying the equivalent volume of freight. A typical bus carries 60 passengers – approximately 10,000 passengers are being disrupted every 3 days of industrial action.

“This is a difficult and uncertain time for our staff and our industry. Our focus is on limiting the damage that the Unions are doing as much as possible and ensuring we have a safe network ready for 72 hours of disruption next week,” Mr Fullerton said.

“The unions need to explain why they have hit the red self-destruct button on the rail industry.”

The Unions are able to take rolling industrial action indefinitely until a new Enterprise Agreement is registered.


Media contact: Bas Bolyn, ARTC, 0477 340 658


  • *ARTC estimates every 24 hour work stoppage to cost the NSW economy around $10m. The stoppages announced so far will likely bring the cost of this dispute to the NSW economy to more than $50 million
  • Various forms of indefinite industrial action ranging from operational restrictions, to no out-of-hours’ work and no overtime currently continue
  • ARTC was targeted by four days of continued and cumulative industrial action last week including 50 hours of work stoppages. This affected over a million tonnes of freight and up to 10,000 commuters
  • Union members have been taking up to 16 forms of industrial action – including two 24 hour work stoppages – since Wednesday 3 August
  • ARTC is currently facing low interstate freight volumes and low coal prices – this was reflected in a recent downgrade of ARTC‘s public credit rating by Moody’s rating service
  • The Combined Unions have said they reserve the right to notify and take further industrial action in the future so there remains a high level of uncertainty
  • The Unions are able to continue to take rolling industrial action indefinitely until a new Enterprise Agreement is registered.


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