NSW drivers rally

Bus drivers seeking support for better working conditions and safety on the NSW network

NSW drivers rally
NSW bus drivers congregated outside Sydney’s parliament house this week calling for improved driver safety, better working conditions and fair wages

More than 40 bus drivers calling for improved driver safety, better working conditions and pay gathered outside Sydney’s parliament house this week.

Transport Workers Union (TWU) NSW secretary Michael Aird says these changes must be made, as the June 30 expiry of the industry agreement that covers about 4000 private bus drivers across NSW nears.

Union members want NSW minister for transport Andrew Constance to sign his support to industry-wide standards in the private bus sector.

"It’s time for the state government to put a stop to the dangerous pressuring of our bus drivers,"Aird says.

"The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure sits at the top of the supply chain as the ultimate employer of thousands of NSW private bus drivers, so he is responsible for setting the standards across the entire bus network."

The demands of competitive tendering introduced into the private bus industry in 2012 resulted in major problems right across the sector.

"On-time running schedules demanded by the NSW Government are often impossible for drivers to maintain while driving safely, and if drivers run late, their operators are liable for big fines levied by the state government," Aird says.

"We are also seeing a rise in passengers frustrated by late services or broken Opal card readers take it out on drivers - who are often verbally, racially and even physically abused."

Parramatta based bus driver of 26 years Dave Pola says there had been daily problems across the private bus network for several years now.

"Driving a bus used to be a great job, but the non-stop demands of on-time running schedules has put passenger and driver safety at risk," he says.

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