Rail union cancels Opal machine switch-off after NSW government tries to ban tweeting on dispute

“Only a government composed of fragile control freaks with something to hide would attempt such a cynical move,” Morey said.

“Unions NSW is committed to open dialogue and free information. Rather than trying to silence working people, perhaps the government should focus on improving their wages and easing the crushing increases in the cost of living that had happened on their watch.”

A statement from Elliott’s office, released on Saturday afternoon, said: “Last night, the NSW government lodged a section 418 application in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to have the destructive action proposed by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) to turn off or short circuit Opal machines declared ‘unprotected’.

“The application to the independent FWC has been made following legal advice received by the government that the proposed action is prima facie unlawful,” the statement said. “Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink believe the notified action is also unsafe to cause financial impacts on commuters.”

The government said it expected the matter to be heard within the next 48 hours.

“The NSW government remains committed to bargaining in good faith but will take all measures available to ensure taxpayer assets are not tampered with as part of the union’s Labor endorsed campaign of strikes and disruption for commuters,” the statement said.

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Elliott, who had initially had good relations with the union, slammed the RTBU for its planned action.

“What the union is advocating is nothing short of the vandalism of public property and taxpayers have a right to protect their assets,” Elliott said.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Alex Claassens warned last week that the latest industrial action would not end until the long-running dispute between the two sides was resolved.

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