Free train travel as Vic union strikes

Benita Kolovos
Melbourne Metro passengers will be able to ride free next Monday and on August 19

Commuters will be able to ride Melbourne's trains for free as the state's public transport union wages a week of industrial action over pay and conditions.

Next Monday and on August 19, staff will keep ticket barriers open and refuse to check Myki cards in protest at operator Metro Trains, the Victorian Rail, Tram and Bus Union has announced.

Workers will also refuse to sell and top up Myki cards and will not wear uniforms.

"This industrial action is aimed at Metro's hip pocket, not the travelling public," union secretary Luba Grigotovitch said in a statement on Monday.

"The RTBU is seeking to keep the public well informed of any impacts ahead of any industrial action, however, these action items announced today are designed to target Metro and will not impact commuters' ability to catch the train."

Train drivers will also refuse to skip stations or divert around the city loop unless they are already scheduled in the timetable for a week starting from next Monday.

Metro Trains described the proposed industrial action as "completely unnecessary".

"This action is still avoidable and we encourage the union to reconsider," a spokesman said in a statement.

"We will do everything in our power to minimise disruptions to our passengers as a result of any action taken."

Negotiations between Metro Trains and the union have been going for almost six months with concerns about job security, rostering and overtime.

Nearly 30 bargaining sessions have taken place and further meetings are scheduled this week.