Friday 6 May is a 24 Hour fare free day for bus passengers travelling in Sydney’s Inner West on services run by the company Transit Systems under the Region 6 Contract.
Drivers are taking action because Transit Systems, Minister Elliott and Transport for NSW have ignored their claims.
Passengers can leave their Opal Card in their wallets as drivers, members of the TWU and the RTBU, are turning off Opal Card Machines. 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.)
Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers Union said, “At Transit Systems we have a situation that the NSW Government left us in, in 2018 when they privatised Region 6. Bus drivers doing exactly the same job are employed on a two tier system of wages and conditions.”
David Babineau, Tram and Bus Division Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW, said, “the fact bus drivers are still being forced to take action in order to fix the mess of the NSW Government’s creation beggars belief.”
Transit Systems are ignoring their role in ensuring pay parity and fairness for all drivers across their company. It is time the NSW Government stepped in. In Region 6, Transport for NSW and the NSW Government delivered a two-tiered pay system for drivers doing the same job, along with the stark reality of unachievable timetables and inadequately resourced routes that put drivers and passengers in danger all managed by Transit Systems who refuse to fix a broken system.
Richard Olsen said, “In Region 6 and across the industry the current Transport Minister, David Elliott, politicised bus driver safety and fairness issues whilst publicly disowning the responsibility he and his Department have for safety and industry fairness.”
David Babineau, said, “By refusing to accept fares on Friday, we’re causing a headache for management and the government while at the same time thanking commuters for their ongoing support in our fight for fair pay and conditions. That’s a win-win in our books”.
In 2018, then Transit Systems CEO Clint Feuerherdt proudly stated, “As part of the five-year contract, the Government will continue to regulate timetables, routes and bus stops, and all assets, including depots and buses will remain Government-owned. The Government has been clear about expectations in operating this contract, from improving performance for commuters, to reducing costs for tax payers, while maintaining employment conditions and guarantees.”
The TWU and the RTBU appeared in a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry on Monday 2 May discussing the impact of the privatisation on Bus Drivers.
“In NSW, competitive tendering’s very nature has meant a lowering of standards based on the key requirements of offering the lowest possible price and over-promising on service delivery. The TWU can clearly see this process places downward pressure on workers, cuts pay and conditions, creates disparity and puts the lives of drivers and passengers in danger,” Richard Olsen said.
David Babineau said “Commuters and workers deserve better than what the current government is delivering when it comes to public transport. We shouldn’t have to take actions like this in order to get the public transport system we deserve, but the NSW Government is leaving us with no choice.”
Media Inquiries –
TWU – Colin Henderson 0405 625 208