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Trade Unions Issue Ultimatum -- May 8, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia - Trade unions have threatened to paralyze public transportation during the Sydney 2000 Olympics if the New South Wales state government fails to agree to special pay claims for workers. New South Wales state Labor Council secretary Michael Costa on Thursday said union officials had given the government 14 days to agree to the new allowance after negotiations stalled. The Labor Council would initiate industrial action if the government refused the compensation demands, he said. The Rail Tram and Bus Union asked for additional leave plus an extra $177 per week for bus and train drivers, train signalers, guards, controllers and station staff. The Public Service Association had lodged a claim for an additional $1.77 per hour for about 8,000 public servants.