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More Disruption: Sackville Ferry Dispute Set to Escalate

Jan 31, 2024

Commuters are advised to brace for increased disruptions to the Sackville Ferry service amid an escalating dispute between wire-drawn ferry operators and the private operator, Birdon.

This week, commuters can expect limited services and delays on the Sackville Ferry due to ongoing industrial action. Specifically, the ferry will operate only one river crossing per hour between 2:30 and 6:30 pm on Friday, February 2. On Saturday, February 3, ferry services will be suspended from 12 pm to 2 pm.

Maritime Union organizer Shane Reside informed the Hawkesbury Post that the situation is likely to intensify, citing Birdon’s failure to present a pay offer after more than six months of negotiations.

“It looks like it’s going to dramatically escalate. It’s getting to the point where the ferries aren’t going to be running at all because the company isn’t taking our concerns seriously,” said Union organiser Shane Reside.

Despite efforts to facilitate a reasonable resolution, Reside stated, “We’ve given them the space to come to us in a reasonable way, and neither Transport for NSW nor the State government is engaging with us seriously. Consequently, we’re left with no option but to take strike action.”

Disruptions to the Sackville Ferry service look set to escalate. [Photo by Peter Haynes Perspectives]

In addition to improved working conditions, ferry workers are advocating for Equal Pay for Equal Work, asserting that they are among the lowest-paid ferry workers in Australia. The union is calling for a pay increase to $46 per hour, aligning with industry rates, up from the current $31 per hour.

The industrial action coincides with the temporary suspension of the Lower Portland Ferry on January 29 for a minimum of three months, undergoing maintenance to maintain its commercial license for public service operation.

Transport for NSW assured that emergency services would not be affected by the Sackville Ferry disruption, and they would still have access. Motorists are advised to avoid the area or consider alternative routes.

According to TfNSW, motorists can take a detour to the south, adding approximately 50 minutes to travel times to reach Windsor. Motorists on the western side of the river may detour via Sackville Road, while those on the eastern side can take Sackville Ferry Road, Wisemans Ferry Road, and Cattai Road.

The strike will impact various ferry services, including Sackville Ferry, Webbs Creek Ferry, Berowra Waters Ferry, Wisemans Ferry, and Mortlake Ferry, with all ferries on strike from 12 pm to 2 pm this Saturday.

TfNSW had not responded to the HP by the time this article was published.



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