RTBU asks for driver saliva testing policy

The NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union has asked the State Transit Authority to make saliva drug tests permanent policy

RTBU asks for driver saliva testing policy
RTBU asks for driver saliva tests
February 26, 2013

Saliva swabs are being successfully trialled to drug test New South Wales bus drivers and should also be used in the rail sector, according to the NSW Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).

RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens says the RTBU’s bus division was successful in getting a swab trial adopted for State Transit bus drivers last year.

"The trial is proving successful and the union is calling on the STA (State Transit Authority) to make it permanent policy," Claassens says.

Claassens says the swab tests should now also replace urine tests
in the
NSW rail industry.

Claassens is calling for legislative changes to the NSW Rail Safety Act to ease stress and discomfort of workers, and to improve accuracy of drug test results.

"The much quicker and less invasive practice of swab testing is now used across the world for testing for drug and alcohol use," Claassens says.

Claassens says urine testing is undignified for all workers but is felt particularly by women and people from different cultural backgrounds.

"Both technology and the workforce have moved on and it's time the NSW Government moved with it," he says.

According to the RBTU, a female worker last year was forced to take a urine test while menstruating, despite requesting a blood test.

"The member felt intimidated and very uncomfortable to be put in this situation," Claassens says.

"This sort of issue could be avoided with a simple swab test."

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