Chaos as tram drivers walk off the job

Commercial Future ADL
Tram drivers in Adelaide are on strike. Picture: Russell Millard

Commuters are battling a day of travel chaos in Adelaide with a snap strike shutting down a vital transport link.

The tram line connecting the city’s beachside Glenelg suburb with the CBD closed at 10am and will stay shut until 3pm, as some drivers employed by Torrens Connect, the private contractor that runs the trams, pursue industrial action.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union branch secretary Hayden Boyle said the dispute centred on pay negotiations between the operator and union members, which first kicked off in March.

The union wants a pay increase that matches the consumer price index, which Mr Boyle said was running close to 7 per cent.

He said Torrens Connect initially offered a 3 per cent increase each year for a 9 per cent pay bump over the three-year contract.

The union rejected the offer and the operator returned with an 11 per cent offer, with a 5 per cent bump in the first year.

“It’s not enough for what our members are seeking to keep up with the cost of living,” Mr Boyle said.

Adelaide Generics
Adelaide’s public transport system has been thrown into chaos. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

Mr Boyle confirmed tram drivers would not run extra services for Sunday’s Port Adelaide-Richmond game at Adelaide Oval and warned more disruptions could be on the way.

“We want to see what happens over the next 72 hours,” he said.

“If we need to propose new stoppages then we will.”

A spokesman for Torrens Connect said the operator was “deeply disappointed” by the RTBU’s decision to pursue action.

“We continue to engage proactively and constructively with the RTBU to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees, our operational requirements and the expectations of the passengers we serve,” he said.

Adelaide Metro, the city’s public transport agency, announced the strike on Twitter on Thursday evening, advising commuters that substitute buses and train services will run near the affected tram stops.

Adelaide Metro said Glenelg tram passengers could access the Seaford and Flinders train line and passengers who usually caught services from the Entertainment Centre could access the Bowden railway station.

The following bus services also provide alternative transit options:

190: Glenelg Interchange to City

263: Marion Centre Interchange to City

H20: Glenelg Interchange to Paradise Interchange

J1 and J1G

G10 Marion Interchange to Blair Athol

W90 Marion Interchange to Paradise Interchange

150 and 157 Osborne / Largs Bay to City