TransLink 'breach' slammed

QBIC has condemned TransLink’s decision to stop operator payments as bus services suffer another disrupted week

TransLink 'breach' slammed
TransLink ‘breach’ slammed
August 14, 2011

The Queensland Bus Industry Council has condemned the Bligh Government's bungling of ongoing pay disputes between bus operators and the Transport Workers Union in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

QBIC Executive Director David Tape says the root cause of the pay dispute is based around the TWU demanding increases beyond what the Bligh Government pays its bus operators through the TransLink Transit Authority.

The latest southern Queensland operators involved in industrial action related to pay disputes – Sunbus and Veolia – are contracted to run route services through TransLink.

Sunbus has continued to close its Maroochydore depot this week, with drivers not expected to return to work until Friday.

"Whether you operate route bus services on the Sunshine Coast or school services in Theodore the Bligh Government is paying the lowest rates on the eastern seaboard of Australia," Tape says.

He says the Queensland Government's decision to unilaterally suspend ancillary payments to operators caught up in industrial disputes was a staggering breach of its contractual obligations.

Tape says the decision is sending shock waves throughout the bus industry.

"This latest knee jerk reaction is not only a fundamental breach of contract law but has set aside decades of accepted industry practice," he says.

"We will not stand by as an industry and allow the Bligh Government and the TWU to threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of Queensland bus operators and the essential services they provide to the communities they serve."

Tape says ‘every avenue available’ will be used to protect businesses and the tens of thousands of commuters that depend on public transport each day.

He says if the Bligh Government was serious about bringing an end to the industrial action it would apply to Fair Work Australia or to the Federal Minister for Workplace Relations to intervene and have the matter arbitrated.

Arbitration would result in a binding decision for the operator and its employees.

"That's how you get buses back on the road, not by shutting the operators down," Tape says.

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