NSW drivers protest

By: Randall Johnston

Transit Systems depot at Smithfield blockaded as NSW bus driver pay dispute heats up

NSW drivers protest
Transit Systems chief executive officer Clint Feuerherdt

Unionised bus drivers blockaded the Smithfield depot of bus operator Transit Systems amid a pay and conditions dispute this week.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) alleges Transit Systems has received funding from the New South Wales Government since July 1 for a 2.37 per cent wage increase for bus drivers.

The TWU claims this pay rise has been denied and Transit Systems has refused to backdate it, according to a statement released by the union

But Transit Systems chief executive officer Clint Feuerherdt says the operation has presented an offer of 3 per cent to its staff and is awaiting feedback.

He says allegations made by the TWU are both "false and misleading".

"We are currently in a process of wage negotiations with the drivers and presently have an offer of a three per cent increase on the table," he says.

"We note that this is substantially higher than the contract increase of 2.37 per cent."

The organisation allegedly has had no response from the TWU since its offer of three per cent was presented.

"Despite multiple attempts to engage with the TWU, who represent a portion of the workforce, we are still awaiting feedback from them on the current offer and will continue to negotiate fairly until an agreement is reached," Feuerherdt says.

"We look forward to reaching a positive outcome and continuing to deliver safe and efficient transport services to the community."

TWU NSW secretary Michael Aird says NSW minister for transport Andrew Constance should intervene.

"Minister Andrew Constance is turning a blind eye while this bus company rips off its workers and keeps NSW taxpayers’ money for itself," he says.

Transit Systems’ action is another example of the problems with the competitive tendering process, Aird says.

"Western Sydney bus drivers are getting abused, spat on and punched because of a system that makes buses run late and pressures drivers to drive fast, skip breaks and leave passengers behind just to meet crazy schedules."

The TWU NSW is campaigning for realistic and reliable timetables, safe services and consistent industry conditions.

"The public is getting fed up with the competitive tendering system and the negative impact its having on bus services," Aird says.

"The TWU is going to fight this rorting and has sent the minister and Transit Systems a very clear message that we won’t put up with this pilfering of workers money."

The depot remained functional throughout the morning and all scheduled services operated, according to Feuerherdt.

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