Breakfast bites

Bus industry identities with a keen interest in industrial relations were invited to share their knowledge

Breakfast bites
Greyhound Australia’s Kylie Henningsen and APTIA’s Ian MacDonald lead the discussion at the first event

Some of the industry’s most pressing industrial relations issues were discussed at a recent event in Brisbane, Queensland, with industrial relations gurus gathering over breakfast.

Various Queensland operators attended the event on March 31, which is the first in a series of gatherings to discuss important industrial relations matters.

The breakfasts are an initiative of the Australian Public Transport Industrial Association (APITA) and are designed to allow members to meet informally to discuss issues which affect their organisations.

The topic of the breakfast, ‘driver health and welfare and managing a critical incident,’ generated much discussion.

Greyhound Australia national industrial relations manager Kylie Henningsen outlined problems confronted by employers who find their employees unable to perform the inherent requirements of their job.

These reasons can include obesity, incapacity or stress related illnesses.

Each operator provided their own experiences of how they were able to deal with getting drivers back to work after a disabling circumstance, and the problems with ensuring that a safe place of work was provided not only for the drivers but also the carrying public.

Interact Group Northern NSW and Queensland manager of rehabilitation providers Jerone McMurray pointed out the group are often asked to assist in a rehabilitation process to ensure that drivers, for instance, took responsibility for their own health.

This is done in such a way that the driver does not feel obliged by their employer to return to work, but as part of their own desire for improved health.

McMurray also noted he often met successfully with the drivers and attended their medical appointments to help the driver and the doctor to discuss the best health solutions to the driver’s health problems.

Following a spate of serious accidents and incidents in the bus industry the meeting also discussed what should be done if an unfortunate accident or incident occurred. I

Piper Alderman industrial relations partner Stephen Hughes stressed the need to ensure proper policies and documentations are in place to deal with such crises.

Again, it seemed that all those present were able to outline their own incidents and the processes they had in place to deal with the incidents.

APTIA national manger Ian MacDonald provided the operators with a draft brief, which is being comprised by the Bus Industry Confederation, as part of an update of its Incident Management Guide and Health and Wellbeing Awareness guide.

He invited operators to comment on the specific issues which are to be looked at when preparing the updated guides.

The comments of each operator present at the breakfast indicate the sharing of ideas and experiences was a very positive way to improve the efficiency of the workplace.

The next event will be held in Melbourne on May 5, with a following breakfast to be held in Sydney.

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