STA drivers to strike over pay deal

By: Jason Whittaker


State Transit bus drivers are threatening to strike tomorrow after the New South Wales Government rejected claims for a pay

State Transit bus drivers are threatening to strike tomorrow after the New South Wales Government rejected claims for a pay rise during enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RBTU) say Award negotiations between bus drivers and the NSW Government have broken down.

Drivers will stop work for 24-hours from 4 am Friday morning (December 18).

The RTBU is seeking a 5 percent per year pay rise over the next two years.

However RTBU Bus Division Secretary, Raul Baonza, says State Transit is offering bus drivers a 2.5 percent pay rise and will not consider anything above that – unless there are direct cuts to workers’ conditions and the quality of services.

The RBTU has been in negotiations with State Transit over a pay agreement for the past six months.

"This action is a sign of the ongoing frustrations transport workers have with this Government," says Baonza.

"Workers are sick of constant cuts to the quality of public transport in NSW and the quality of STA bus services in particular, and have decided to take a stand."

Baonza says that despite STA posting a profit of more than $45 million in 2008/9, the NSW Government is still "hell-bent" on cutting services.

"STA posted a record profit of over $45 million in June including more than $2.3 million in bonuses paid for by the Ministry of Transport in 2009 alone for increases in patronage," he says.

"How can the Government hand out bonuses for increased patronage to State Transit, but ask the drivers who have delivered these efficiencies to take a pay cut?"

The RTBU says it apologises to commuters in advance for any inconvenience, but says it has been left with no other option but to take industrial action.

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