Hundreds of Bus Drivers representing the Bus Drivers from across NSW arrived at Martin Place today committed to calling on the Minister for Transport David Elliott to ensure the NSW Government commits to setting industry wide standards of safety for the health and wellbeing of bus drivers and passengers.
Bus Drivers are also seeking a set of industry wide standards that mean those who do the same job across the industry are subject to fairness in pay and conditions, same job and same pay.
Today, David Elliott again chose belligerence, to blame workers and their representatives for choosing to have their voices heard, rather than take a stand as Transport Minister to fix the problems of safety and fairness in the bus industry.
Richard Olsen, State Secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) said, “Workers in the Bus Industry came out on strike because the NSW Government and the Transport Minister are playing politics with the livelihood and safety of bus drivers and passengers. Our membership is angry, they are angry because they do not feel heard. They are angry because the NSW Government has not taken any notice of their issues, but chooses to deny their duty of care.
Tram and Bus Division Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW, David Babineau, said workers are hopeful the NSW Government will take action to rectify the situation very shortly. “No one wants to have to take industrial action. We’re hopeful the NSW Government come to the table with a solution quickly so bus drivers can get back to doing what we do best – getting commuters where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible. We don’t want to have to go down the path of further action, but the ball is in the government’s court.”
Drivers’ issues are simple; lack of safe and clean amenities and a two tier pay system with an ongoing attack on conditions. Drivers need the economic employer, the NSW Government through Transport for NSW to take on their share of responsibility. They run the buses through the contracts. For drivers, this is hell on wheels, you cannot get microwave facilities to heat up lunch at interchanges, you can’t get a toilet while you are on the road, in some cases drivers are driving without a break for over five hours. Companies are unable to provide the infrastructure that drivers need, Transport for NSW can.
Richard Olsen said, “If all David Elliott is focussed on is the numbers and how he can continue to abuse workers seeking a safer day at work, then he can be guaranteed that the workforce will be back on the front doorstep of parliament, demanding answers.
Media Inquiries –
TWU – Colin Henderson 0405 625 208
RTBU – Alana Mew 0419 929 722