School services unaffected as stop-work talks continue

By: Jason Whittaker

Children using school routes this afternoon will not be affected by a snap strike at Bowen Hills bus depot. However Brisbane

Children using school routes this afternoon will not be affected by a snap strike at Bowen Hills bus depot.

However Brisbane city commuters have not been offered the same assurance and are expected to face more traffic chaos as stop work action, instigated by Brisbane City Council drivers this morning, is expected to continue this afternoon.

Around 100 drivers refused to start work this morning after they were greeted with raw sewage streaming across the Bowen Hills depot.

The stoppage affected about 5000 commuters on popular inner-city routes.

Drivers say they will not return to work until the Brisbane City Council assures them they will be paid for today's shift.

Local media reports suggest talks are continuing and the issue may be resolved this afternoon.

Buses from other routes have been diverted onto afternoon school bus routes in inner-city suburbs affected by the stoppage.

Brisbane Public and Active Transport Chairman Jane Prentice says alternative arrangements have been made to ensure all pupils and students are able to catch their regular school runs.

"Making sure that children get home safely this afternoon was our main priority and I am happy we’ve been able to make alternate arrangements," she says.

Prentice says the "small" sewage spill – now the subject of a Council investigation – was completely clean by 9am.

Prentice says Council has not refused to pay drivers and is still in negotiations with the Rail Bus and Tram Union.

"The union gave an undertaking this morning that they would be back on the road as soon as it was rectified and I would encourage them to live up to that," she says.

"We’re more than happy to talk about this morning’s pay with them, but the first thing that needs to happen is for the travelling public to be looked after.

"There is no reason why the buses should not be on the road right now."

Rail, Tram and Bus Union spokesman Mick Layt told local media portaloos at the depot weren’t emptied over the weekend.

When drivers arrived to work at 4.30am this morning they found sewage running all over the tarmac.

Layt says the stench is "incredible".

"Apologies to people who usually get buses to work and the school kids, but no one could expect the workers to walk through that," he says.

New Farm and West End services are most affected by the drivers' stop work.

Other routes affected are the 195, 198, 199, 300, 303, 393 and the Doomben rail-bus.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook