SYDNEY BUS DRIVER STRIKE ACTION TO CONTINUE

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy TWU NSW


INACTION on equal pay for Region 3 and 6 bus drivers in the Inner West and South West of Sydney will see them hold two-hour stop-work meetings on Thursday and Friday, 2-3 December, and a 24-hour strike on Monday, 6 December, the Transport Workers Union (NSW Branch) confirms.

SYDNEY BUS DRIVER STRIKE ACTION TO CONTINUE
“We are calling on Transit Systems and the State Government to stop playing games, and to come to the table to reach a fair agreement with these drivers, including ‘same job, same pay’,” TWU NSW state secretary Richard Olsen stated.

The continued strike action comes after their calls for ‘same-job, same-pay’ have gone unanswered by bus operator Transit Systems and the NSW State Government, the union explains.

Hundreds of bus drivers across Regions 3 and 6 of Sydney’s bus network have resolved to hold stop-work meetings from 4am-6am on the Thursday and 5pm-7pm on the Friday, together with Monday’s 24-hour strike likely to impact hundreds of services, it outlines.

The strikes come after drivers turned off Opal card readers last Monday and for the first three days of this week, which operator Transit Systems responded to by attempting to, "…dock hundreds of dollars from drivers’ weekly pay," according to the union.

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‘DEAF EARS’

TWU NSW state secretary Richard Olsen says drivers were left with no other option, given their calls for ‘same-job, same-pay’ had so far fallen on deaf ears.

"All that bus drivers are asking for is the simple guarantee that if you drive a public bus in Sydney, you’ll get paid the same as everyone else doing the same job" Olsen said.

"The operator Transit Systems, and the State Government, have chosen to ignore these drivers, so they’ve been left with no alternative but to take strike action to have their voices heard.

"These bus drivers have turned up day-in, day-out throughout the pandemic to serve the community; the last thing they want to do is go on strike - but the company’s stubborn refusal to negotiate has left them with no other option.

"This is ultimately a problem of the State Government’s making; their privatisation of Sydney’s buses has led to this mess, where drivers are on all kinds of different pay and conditions despite doing the exact same job.

"We are calling on Transit Systems and the State Government to stop playing games, and to come to the table to reach a fair agreement with these drivers, including ‘same job, same pay’," Olsen stated.

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NEGOTIATING TABLE

For every week that Transit Systems stalls negotiations with drivers, it pockets an estimated $30,000 in taxpayer money intended to be used to provide pay rises for bus drivers, the TWU NSW explains.

Under their bus contracts, the State Government pays Transit Systems an increased amount each year for the labour component of the contract, it says. This increase is in line with the Wage Price Index for the transport, postal and warehousing industry – the most recent figure being an annual increase of approximately 2 per cent for the September quarter, the union states.

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