National

Melbourne tram strike reaches fourth stop

By AAP Newswire

All Melbourne trams will stop between 10am and 2pm on Thursday in the fourth strike in the ongoing pay dispute between drivers and Yarra Trams.

A reduced bus service will replace some tram lines to cover hospitals, shopping centres and universities as well as connections with other train and bus options.

Melburnians affected by the strike have been encouraged to plan their trips to avoid delays

"This is the fourth stoppage during enterprise bargaining yet Yarra Trams still fails to treat this bargaining seriously," Rail,Tram and Bus Union Secretary Luba Grigorovitch said.

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.

The union claims this will destroy job security, reduce pay, and make work-life balance unsuitable for workers with child care and caring responsibilities.

Yarra Trams argues the union's revised wages claim of five per cent is too high and does not include any components that would allow them to increase their part-time workforce.

"By refusing to discuss part-time and taking industrial action, the RTBU are unnecessarily impacting passengers and our people in the lead up to the holidays," Yarra Trams CEO Nicolas Gindt said.

"We encourage the RTBU to focus their energy on talking with us in a meaningful way, to get our people a deal before 2020."

Victorian transport is under increasing pressure before the Christmas holidays, as V/Line employees also moved to take industrial action from December 11.

Ms Grigorovitch has urged Transport Minister Melissa Horne to both "fulfil her obligations and get Yarra Trams back to the bargaining table," while also accusing government of "expecting V/Line workers to do more with less, and our members just won't stand for it."