David Elliott launched extraordinary attack on Matt Kean

David Elliott launched extraordinary attack on Matt Kean

Premier Dominic Perrottet warned both Elliott and Kean this year as the pair clashed over the reasons behind the Coalition’s loss at the federal election, warning ministers needed to do their jobs or face the sack.

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Unless a deal can be struck early this week, commuters face major disruptions on the T3 Bankstown, T8 Airport and South, and the Southern Highlands lines on Wednesday when another six-hour stoppage by workers is due to occur.

Station staff are also planning to leave ticket gates open from this weekend until September 6.

The rail union wants the government to sign the deed guaranteeing that it will modify the new intercity trains at a cost of $264 million, before completing negotiations over a new pay deal.

The government wants both the train fleet modifications and a new enterprise agreement completed together. The deed will be conditional on an enterprise agreement being ticked off by both sides, with senior government figures expecting it to be presented to the unions early this week.

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As negotiations drag on between the government and unions, some government MPs have indicated they’re concerned Elliott has not taken the government’s offer directly to the transport workforce.

“David Elliott’s idea of ​​a negotiation is just to give everything away to the unions in order to make himself look a hero,” a Liberal source said.

But the transport minister said he was working closely with the unions to come to an agreement on the intercity fleet and broader bargaining agreement.

Elliott said he did not believe the industrial stand-off with the rail union would prove to be a political headache for the Coalition ahead of the March state election given Labor leader Chris Minns was already calling for an end to action on the network.

“I don’t think it’s going to be necessarily a political issue between the government and the opposition because [Labor] is smart enough to know where public opinion is on this,” Elliott said.

“Of course I’ll be talking again to the union this week and reiterate my plea for them to lock in both the deed and the enterprise agreement as a matter of urgency because I think they have lost public support and I’m worried commuters will start taking it out on front-line workers.”

Both Kean and Tudehope were contacted for comment.

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