Surfside smooth

With Sunbus negotiations about to finalise, Transit Australia Group is steadying for its Gold Coast Surfside drivers’ impending log of claims

Surfside smooth
Surfside smooth

By David Goeldner | March 22, 2011

In the wake of the Sunbus negotiations, Transit Australia Group is expecting looming enterprise agreement negotiations with its Gold Coast-based Surfside Bus Lines to run smoothly.

Transit Australia Group Managing Director Wayne Patch says Surfside’s current employment agreement finishes in June and expects to see a log of claims lodged by the drivers’ bargaining agent some time in April.

"We are hopeful that with a lot of the ground broken, established and settled with the Sunshine Coast operation – particularly as it’s also a TransLink arrangement – a lot of the hard yards have been done," Patch says.

He says the enterprise agreement process on the Gold Coast, where TAG employs 600 drivers and is the largest part of the Group’s Queensland operations, should run smoothly.

"We plan to come up with an amicable and reasonable offer that is acceptable to the drivers and their bargaining agents without any great fuss," Patch says.

He says that even though the Gold Coast Surfside operation is the largest part TAG’s business, the EA transitioning process won’t be as complex as just experienced with Sunbus at the Sunshine Coast and Townsville depots.

Patch explains that Sunshine Coast drivers needed to address the transition process to weekend penalty rates.

"On the Sunshine Coast they were previously on an all-up hourly rate where some penalties were paid on weekends but not full penalties," Patch says.

"As part of their log of claims on the Sunshine Coast they wanted to increase their penalties."

Patch says the Gold Coast doesn’t have that issue.

"They have an hourly rate and get paid the normal penalties on Saturdays and Sundays, so there are fewer areas on the Gold Coast to be concerned about – it’s purely about the wage increase," he says.

Patch says the parameters for negotiation have now been established and canvassed extensively through Fair Work Australia.

"All of the parties now understand that anything that wasn’t clear before has been made much clearer," he says.

"I would be hopeful that we won’t see any confrontation between the bargaining agents, the drivers and the company."

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