Continuing industrial action by Sydney Bus Drivers means that for bus commuters in Sydney’s Inner West, Friday 20 May is a Fare Free Day, on services run by the company Transit Systems under the Region 6 Contract. Fare Free Days have been run every Friday in May, and there’s another Fare Free day next week.
Drivers are not turning on Opal Card Machines on Friday. The Region 6 Bus Contract covers the Inner West, Some Sydney CBD, Olympic Park Strathfield, Rockdale. (A link to the map of regions is below.)
Bus Drivers have been ignored by the Transport Minister who has publicly washed his hands of the bus industry problems. David Elliott is happy to talk trains and safety, yet Mr Elliott to this point is still ignoring the safety concerns expressed by Bus Drivers that have an impact on Bus Passengers. Drivers are also seeking a change to the two-tiered pay system for drivers doing the same job, presided over by Transit Systems under the auspices of Transport for NSW.
Transport for NSW and the NSW Government are presiding over the stark reality of unachievable timetables and inadequately resourced routes putting drivers and passengers in danger, and they are also allowing the two tier pay system.
Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union said, “We have not seen from Minister Elliott, or Transport for NSW any interest in improving on driver safety, welfare or well being in as far as toilet facilities, lunch break facilities or fatigue management is required. Drivers are working under a two-tier pay system and can drive five to six hours and want to stop and heat up a meal or go to the toilet, yet when they get to that place where they are told to stop, there is nothing for them. This is 2022, David Elliott as the economic employer is responsible for fixing this right across the bus industry in NSW.”
David Babineau, Tram and Bus Division Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW said, “We can’t sit back and allow a two-tier system, where bus drivers doing exactly the same job are on different wages and conditions, continue. If the NSW Transport Minister thinks that he can just ignore bus drivers in the hope that we’ll eventually just give up on our calls for equity and go away quietly, then he’s sadly mistaken. Commuters will get free bus trips,industrial action that does not inconvenience passengers is the focus of Bus Drivers because Transit Systems, the Transport Minister David Elliott and Transport for NSW have ignored their concerns.”
The two bus unions, the TWU and the RTBU are scheduled to meet with the Transport Minister David Elliott in Early June. The Unions are of the view that David Elliott needs to step in and fix a range of problems in the industry that are causing problems for workers and passengers. The NSW Government is the Economic Employer for NSW bus contracts.
Given that the single biggest cost component in bus contracts is labour costs, it is clear from the outset that the object of the Government decision to introduce competitive tendering was to put downward pressure on pay and conditions for bus drivers. It is therefore unsurprising to the TWU and the RTBU that the plight of bus drivers throughout New South Wales has only worsened since 2012.
Media Inquiries –
TWU – Colin Henderson 0405 625 208