The Transit Systems bus depot in Smithfield remains closed due to the failure of the operator and the NSW Government to cooperate over rapid antigen testing of bus drivers at the depot.
After the depot was closed on work health and safety grounds yesterday afternoon, the TWU made arrangements for a rapid antigen testing provider to attend the site to conduct a screening test of all drivers, to allow bus drivers to go back to work while the union held discussions with Transit Systems and the NSW Government about adequate COVID-19 control measures going forward.
Transit Systems initially agreed to the measure, but outrageously backflipped after the provider had arrived on-site and already begun testing drivers and ordered the nurse to leave the premises shortly after they arrived at the depot.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the behaviour from Transit Systems was nothing short of disgraceful, and called on the NSW Government to step in and clean up the mess.
“Bus drivers at the Smithfield depot ceased unsafe work after they learned a driver at their depot had tested positive for COVID-19, and that management had tried to keep this news hidden.” Mr Olsen said.
“The TWU presented Transit Systems with a solution to this issue yesterday afternoon, by arranging a provider who could perform a screening test on every driver, and the operator outright refused.”
“Bus drivers are being left in the lurch because Transit Systems and the NSW Government are fighting over who should pay to run a testing program at the depot – but meanwhile they’re spending 100 times that amount to get replacement buses in.”
“They’ve got rapid antigen testing in place at the NSW Parliament – why can’t we have it in place at our bus depots in the heart of the outbreak in Western Sydney?”
“If the Government and Transit Systems agree to a screening test of all drivers at the depot, we’ll have the bus drivers back on the road.”
The Smithfield depot is located in the epicentre of the current Delta outbreak, on the border of the Cumberland and Fairfield LGAs which have had almost 6,500 cases of COVID-19 over the last 4 weeks.
Closure of the depot will affect bus services across Region 3, which covers suburbs such as Liverpool, Fairfield, Merrylands and Parramatta.
The site was one of four depots that took part in a safety stoppage on Monday morning over the lack of rapid antigen testing in Sydney bus depots.
These developments at Smithfield come after a driver at Transit System’s Hoxton Park depot also tested positive last week, leading to more than 70 other workers at the site being classified as close or casual contacts.
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590