People in Victoria have been without trams, trains & Government buses today, and have faced drastic restrictions on the use of gas and electricity because of a strike by State Government employees.
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Background: People in Victoria have been without trams, trains & Government buses today, and have faced drastic restrictions on the use of gas and electricity because of a strike by State Government employees. And they face another day of the same. It's estimated that about 80,000-employees are directly affected by the strike and about 300,000-workers in private industry have had to be stood down because of the power restrictions. Although strict power cuts are in force, the State Electricity Commission in Victoria complained that many householders were not obeying them. The Commission's Chairman said that one in every three households had not switched off hot water services. But in other ways, the people in Victoria seem to cope with the strike.
The sign said "Walk", but Melbourne workers didn't have to be told - many had no other way of getting to their jobs. This morning, the streets of the Victorian capital were packed with people determined to beat the strike. They poured into the city on foot, in private cars, in taxis, commercial vehicles, on motor cycles and on bicycles. Many motorists stopped to give pedestrians a lift to work.
Main leading into Melbourne were jammed with motor vehicles of all descriptions. Police said traffic was four to five times heavier than usual, but it moved smoothly, partly because there were no trams operating. Many side roads moved more slowly than main roads, probably because some motorists were looking for short cuts. Traffic were sorted out quickly. The gates of Flinders Street Station were locked and thousands who normally used Victoria's suburban railway service had to find another way to get to work. The normal hustle and bustle of the station was replaced by an unnatural quiet.
Because the trams were off the roads, Melbourne seemed quieter than usual today. And it will be even quieter in the city tonight. Candles will be burning in many homes as people obey a call to restrict the use of electricity. Most homes are without hot water. Only half the normal power supply will be available in Melbourne tonight.
The strikers held a mass meeting in the suburb of Richmond this morning, but only about 250-turned up. The strikers are claiming an extra week's annual leave to give them four weeks in all. The rest of the community has three weeks.