Hundreds of thousands of bus passengers across NSW will travel for free from Friday, as drivers at three bus operator companies step up their fight for fairer pay and conditions.
TWU members at Transit Systems, Transdev and ComfortDelGro will switch off Opal card machines on Friday as part of their fight for improved pay and conditions across the industry, with up to 200,000 commuters predicted to enjoy fare-free trips.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said bus drivers had worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep the state moving, and now was the State Government’s opportunity to show their appreciation for the work.
“Bus drivers stepped up massively during the pandemic, and now they are calling on the State Government to support them by agreeing to the reasonable pay & conditions being sought” Mr Olsen said.
“The NSW Government are the economic employer here – they control the purse strings, and they’re the ones that can agree to these reasonable requests from drivers who work hard every day to provide a service to the public.”
Mr Olsen also flagged the possibility of the action continuing beyond Friday if drivers’ requests were ignored.
“The ball is in the State Government’s court now, and bus drivers will be paying close attention to how they respond. If their concerns continue to fall on deaf ears, there is every possibility of industrial action continuing or escalating.”
Drivers are taking the action as part of their fight for fairer pay and conditions and improved health & safety across the bus industry. Central to drivers’ demands are same-job same-pay protections, as the current system sees some drivers receiving substantially lower pay and conditions than others working in the same depot, driving the same routes.
The bus companies involved in the industrial action are:
|Transit Systems||SMBSC 3||Liverpool, Fairfield, Parramatta|
|Transdev||SMBSC 10||Cronulla, Engadine, Sutherland, Menai|
|SMBSC 12||Hornsby, Gordon, Berowra|
|SMBSC 13||Lidcombe, Granville, Bankstown, Liverpool|
|ComfortDelGro||SMBSC 4||Hills District|
|SMBSC 14||Frenchs Forest, Terrey Hills, St Ives, Belrose|
|OSMBSC 2||Maitland, Raymond Terrace|
|OSMBSC 4||Lake Macquarie|
|OSMBSC 8||Blue Mountains|
|OSMBSC 11||Wyong, Tuggerah|
Passenger data on the Transport for NSW Open Data catalogue shows the February daily average number of passengers from 2017-2021 across all affected regions as approximately 186,000 passengers (excluding QCity services in Queanbeyan).
This action follows a Fair Work Commission ruling late last year that found Transit Systems had unlawfully deducted more than 30% of drivers’ pay after they turned off Opal machines, and instead ordered a deduction of 1.5%.