Tram strike to hit Australian Open

Ulises Izquierdo

Public transport chaos could hit Melbourne as a tram strike coincides with the busy Australian Open tennis finals.

Thousands of interstate and international visitors will be relying on public transport to reach Melbourne Park as city trams are scheduled to come to a halt between 10am and 2pm on January 28 and 30.

The industrial action will be the latest in an ongoing campaign by tram workers for better pay and conditions, but has drawn criticism for its timing.

"We have not taken industrial action for two months because we did not want to inconvenience the public over the past month, however, Yarra Trams has now left us no choice," Rail, Tram and Bus union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch said.

Since March, the union has been pushing for a six per cent annual pay rise in a three-year deal with Yarra Trams.

The operators previously argued the claim was too high and didn't allow the company to increase its part-time workforce.

"The RTBU has chosen to cause unnecessary disruption to Melburnians during the Australian Open, rather than work to reach an agreement with us," a Yarra Trams spokesperson said.

"We are working with the Department of Transport and the Australian Open to reduce the impact as best we can and will keep passengers informed."