Around 300 bus drivers in South West Sydney will strike for 24 hours today, protesting the two-tiered pay system for bus drivers at Transit Systems.
The action comes after around 1,200 drivers in the Inner West walked off the job for 24 hours on Monday over the same-job same-pay issue.
Today’s strike by bus drivers at the Smithfield and West Hoxton depots in Region 3 will affect routes in the Liverpool, Fairfield and Cumberland LGAs, which normally carry around 40,000 passengers daily.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the problem of unequal pay was caused by the State Government’s bus privatisation agenda, and that it was incumbent on the Government to come up with a solution.
“Bus drivers have gone on strike over the last 2 days to send a clear message to the Transport Minister Rob Stokes – they won’t cop this two-tiered pay system any longer” Mr Olsen said.
“We understand the inconvenience this may cause some members of the public, and it’s not a decision the drivers take lightly, but we are confident the community will understand drivers have been left with no other option to have their voices heard.”
“We aren’t asking for the world here – just that if you work for the same employer, doing the same job, you should receive the same pay and conditions.”
“Now is the time for the State Government and the operator Transit Systems to come to the table, and put an end to this unfair two-tiered workforce.”
As a result of the NSW Government’s privatisation of Sydney’s buses, all drivers in Region 3 and newer drivers in Region 6 are employed on significantly lower pay & conditions than the former State Transit drivers in Region 6 – despite all working for the same operator, Transit Systems.
Because of Transit Systems’ refusal to negotiate a new agreement with drivers, the company is pocketing around $30,000 in taxpayer money every week intended to provide pay rises to drivers. Under the Sydney Metropolitan Bus Service Contract, the salaries and wages component of the contract is increased annually in line with the latest ABS quarterly index for the wage price index in the transport, postal and warehousing industry – the most recent figure being an annual increase of approximately 2% for the September quarter.