SA strike over safety

Drivers in South Australia plan strike action over neglected safety concerns

SA strike over safety
SA bus drivers plan to strike

Bus drivers in South Australia have agreed to commence strike action over safety concerns – but will wait until after the Australia Day long weekend to do so.

The drivers have voted in favour of taking protected industrial action – including strikes of up to 24 hours – as part of an ongoing industrial dispute with bus operators SouthLink and Transfield (Light City Buses), according to the Transport Workers Union.

Employees have been negotiating their new workplace agreements for months, but have seen no improvements to their safety or conditions.

Union survey results show 15 per cent of drivers have been assaulted over a 12 month period, and drivers are also being rostered on 12 hour broken shifts but being paid for only seven hours of the day.

Drivers have decided to put off any action until after the long weekend out of respect to the community, but action is set to start straight after.

South Australia/Northern Territory Secretary Ray Wyatt says the dispute is all about safety concerns.

"Improving safety means making sure drivers aren’t fatigued because of working too long and for too little," he says.

"It means providing safe conditions and decent rates of pay to make sure we continue to attract the best and safest drivers and reward them for the difficult job that they do.

"It’s time for the bus operators to get their act together and realise that the ongoing safety of drivers and our community has to be their top priority during these negotiations."

Wyatt says the community has provided ongoing support to the drivers, and acknowledges any strike action of the long weekend could have potentially caused chaos to many of the activities planned.

"Our drivers will thank the public for their ongoing support over the long weekend while sending a clear message to their bus companies about the importance of safety on our roads straight after," he says.

"I think everybody understands that this is all about building a better, safer bus industry."

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