September 9, 2021


Bus drivers at the Transit Systems depot in Smithfield have forced the closure of the depot, due to the failure of the operator and the NSW Government to take steps to protect drivers from COVID exposure.

Worker health and safety representatives at the depot learned earlier today that a driver at the depot had tested positive for COVID-19, which was confirmed by management when contacted by the Transport Workers’ Union.

Drivers at the depot have accordingly exercised their workplace safety rights to end unsafe work practices over the ongoing risk posed by the lack of workplace COVID testing.

TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said that bus drivers at the depot have drawn a line in the sand over COVID safety risks in their workplace.

“This is as clear a demonstration as you’ll ever get of the need for rapid antigen testing in bus depots.”

“Just this Monday, drivers at four depots – including Smithfield – walked off the job over this health and safety concern. The NSW Government ignored their calls, and now unfortunately the drivers have been proven right.”

“I don’t know what more it will take for the NSW Government to take the safety of bus drivers seriously.”

“They’ve already got rapid antigen testing at the NSW Parliament, and so the question that Gladys Berejiklian needs to answer is simple – why does she deserve a safe workplace while our bus drivers don’t?”

The Smithfield depot is home to almost 200 bus drivers, and is located in the epicentre of the current Delta outbreak, on the border of the Cumberland and Fairfield LGAs.

Closure of the depot will affect bus services across Region 3, which covers suburbs such as Liverpool, Fairfield, Merrylands and Parramatta.

The site was one of four depots that took part in a safety stoppage on Monday morning over the lack of rapid antigen testing in Sydney bus depots.

These developments at Smithfield come after a driver at Transit System’s Hoxton Park depot also tested positive last week, leading to more than 70 other workers at the site being classified as close or casual contacts.

Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590


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