Melb tram workers vote to strike again

Ulises Izquierdo

Victorians could face V/Line strikes of up to two days and will have to deal with their fourth Melbourne tram strike since March as a union ramps up pay deal negotiations.

On Thursday, all Melbourne trams will stop between 10am and 2pm, just like they did last week.

The Yarra Trams strike will be the fourth since wage and work conditions negotiations started in March.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union on Monday said V/Line workers had overwhelmingly voted for industrial action, which includes workplace stoppages from six minutes up to 48 hours.

Union members have been seeking a new enterprise agreement with V/Line since the beginning of the year, the union said.

"With over 98 per cent of members who voted endorsing industrial action, it is clear members are frustrated by slow progress and V/Line's efforts to attack training standards and a reasonable disciplinary process," union secretary Luba Grigorovitch said.

"V/Line is an organisation in need of resources, we can't expect to run a railway in 2019 on the staffing levels of 1986."

The union also said Yarra Trams' continued refusal to compromise in enterprise agreement negotiations is to blame for the ongoing strike actions.

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 make work-life balance unsuitable for workers with child care and caring responsibilities, destroying job security and reducing the take home pay of full-time workers.

The most recent planned strike comes after more than 90 per cent of union members voted in favour of protected industrial actions that will push their claims for wage increases.

Ms Grigorovitch encouraged the Victorian government to take responsibility, both putting pressure on Yarra Trams and V/Line.

"It is clear the minister has been sitting on her hands, afraid of helping the parties find resolution," Mr Grigorovitch said.