August 26, 2020

Bus Driver infected with Covid-19 highlights their need for support

Today’s announcement in NSW about a Sydney trainee bus driver’s infection with Covid-19 highlights the need for special leave provisions to be supplied to bus drivers who may be required to self-isolate. The TWU understands that up to three drivers will be required to isolate.

Sydney Buses operator State Transit has those special leave provisions in place.

Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union in NSW said, “During this pandemic, if bus drivers in the private industry are required to self-isolate or if bus drivers are affected by Covid-19 and required to self-isolate, they should be entitled to the same special leave provisions extended to drivers employed directly by the NSW Government at State Transit.”

One driver has told the TWU “I don’t need the stress of jeopardising my family or being a burden on them if I’m infected and sent home. It’s very worrisome having to go in to work every day but I can’t afford not to.”

Over 1800 bus drivers are on record at the TWU through a petition calling for special leave provisions to be supplied if they have to self-isolate or if they receive Covid-19 through their job.

Mr Olsen said, “The NSW Government is in control of this and if they subsidised special leave for workers to self-isolate, it would provide a safer environment and a means for a driver to continue to earn an income whilst safely isolating.”

Members of the public are safer with the following safety measures fought for and won by the TWU supporting members in their workplace.

  • Face masks are available for drivers. Transport for NSW has guaranteed supply of this vital PPE to bus operators.
  • Covid safety screens: at the urging of the TWU and bus operators, screens are being installed across the private bus network in metro and regional NSW funded by Transport for NSW.
  • The TWU calls on Transport for NSW and the NSW Police Transport Command to ensure they continue the  presence of Marshals and Police at transport hubs to seek public compliance with social distancing directions.
  • TWU members began their campaign for safety in March at the start of the pandemic. TWU members implemented the cash handling ban and the ban on using the front Opal Card reader to avoid driver and passenger contact.
  • TWU members originally installed tape on buses to create a buffer zone between drivers and buses.
  • Safety posters installed by members have been modelled across the entire public transport network. This led to social distancing measures including spots on seats being implemented across the network. The provision of extra services to reduce passenger numbers on each bus has also been brought in to provide safer buses.

Media Inquiries – Colin Henderson – 0405 625 208


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