Melbourne Tram Strike To Impact Commuters Today
Melbourne's tram network will be shut down until this afternoon, leaving commuters in the lurch.
Angry drivers are walking off the job in protest of their pay and work conditions.
Yarra Trams said in a statement employees will strike from 10am to 2pm today as the Victorian branch of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union calls on the state Labor government to intervene in their pay dispute with operators.
"Our members just want to be respected through fair wages and conditions," Union Secretary Luba Grigorovitch said.
The strike affects 1500 trams. Buses will replace some tram services but this will be limited. While the strike ends at 2pm, Yarra Trams expects service disruptions to last until about 3.30pm.
"If you are travelling on a tram at 10am, drivers will request passengers get off at the next stop. This will enable trams to continue to the depot," Yarra Trams said in a statement.
"Passengers are encouraged to defer all non-essential travel and consider alternative modes of transport during this period. Metropolitan trains, buses and V/Line trains will run as normal, however, these services may be busier than usual."
The union is fighting for a six percent annual wage increase. They've accused Yarra Trams of relying too much on part-time workers, with shorter shifts and last-minute roster changes.
The union chose today for the strike as they said it would cause the least disruption to commuters.
"Yarra Trams says its new part-time plans will lead to diversity and inclusivity but the actual shifts and rosters proposed are completely unsuitable for workers with childcare and caring responsibilities," Ms Grigorovitch said.
As expected, the commuting public have taken to social media to vent their frustration.
3AW reports the tram union plans to keep striking if their demands are not met.
Another strike is planned for October 10.