UNION DEMANDS GOVT ENDS BUS DRIVER “EXPLOITATION”; CALLS FOR COMPANY INVESTIGATION

By: Fabian Cotter


The Transport Workers’ Union of Australia has called on the WA Government to hold bus operator Transdev to account over unfair pay and conditions that the company is attempting to force on its drivers, it’s reported recently.

UNION DEMANDS GOVT ENDS BUS DRIVER “EXPLOITATION”; CALLS FOR COMPANY INVESTIGATION
Perth bus driver strike action over low pay, conditions looks set to continue until negotiations with Transdev are resolved.

Bus drivers in Perth have been forced to take strike action after the company refused to negotiate fairly, instead insisting on low rates, insecure casual jobs and 20-hour contracts, the TWU claims.

The recent industrial action in WA follows similar strikes by drivers in Victoria and also difficulties faced by drivers in NSW at the hands of the global operator with revenues this year of over $10 billion, the union says.

"Transdev is squeezing the life out of hard-working bus drivers. They are struggling to pay their bills and support their families. These drivers are transporting school children and other members of the public around and they deserve [to] have their work recognised and to be paid and treated fairly," said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

"The WA Government is using millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to engage Transdev to carry out this public service. It must hold this company to account and ensure an end to the exploitation," he explained.

"The Federal Government must also start looking at this company given the widespread hardship and disruption it is causing to bus networks throughout Australia," he said.

"There are serious risks to safety when transport is put under financial pressure and bus operations are no different. For an efficient, safe public transport service drivers must be paid fairly and have decent quality jobs," Kaine added.

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INCREASING FATIGUE

According to the union, Transdev forces drivers to work split shifts with many Perth drivers unable to return home in between shifts. This means drivers are waiting around for several hours for shifts to begin, increasing fatigue.

Bus drivers also face physical and verbal assaults on a daily basis including having rocks thrown at their buses, it says.

So far 500 bus drivers have taken strike action. Fare free days are also planned as part of ongoing industrial action.

PLEASE EXPLAIN!

The union statement comes a day after the latest strike action on Thursday, in which Transdev made an official statement as follows:

"This morning’s stop-work industrial action by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and its members has now concluded, though some disruptions may continue today and tomorrow [12/10/18]."

"The action will be limited to services in the Fremantle, Joondalup and Rockingham areas, as well as the Perth CAT network."

Transdev WA managing director Ben Smith said around 140 (about 14 per cent of the workforce) of Trandev’s drivers took part in the action and impacts on services were kept to a minimum.

"Most of our drivers turned up for work as normal this morning, and they helped us to run all school services and the vast majority of our timetabled services," Smith said.  

"This sends a strong message to the TWU that it’s time to stop the industrial action and get on with negotiating to reach agreement on the outstanding issues as soon as possible."

Transdev says it asked the TWU to clarify its plans for further industrial action, which would result in buses being kept off the road [11/10 – 12/10] this afternoon and tomorrow.

"If TWU members choose not to turn on the SmartRider ticketing machines as they are threatening to do we can’t let the bus leave the depot because of fundamental safety concerns," Smith said.  

"It’s very disappointing that this means extra uncertainty for customers, with further impacts on services possible later today and tomorrow."  

WHAT NOW?

Customers are encouraged to continue to check the Transperth website (www.transperth.wa.gov.au) for up-to-date travel information.

If you require further assistance regarding planning your journey please call the Transperth InfoLine on 13 62 13 (TIS: 13 14 50).

Hearing or speech impaired? Call via NRS 133 677 and ask for 13 62 13.

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