Bus drivers in the Inner West and South West of Sydney will hold two-hour stop-work meetings on Thursday and Friday and a 24-hour strike on Monday 6 December, after their calls for same-job same-pay have gone unanswered by the operator and the NSW Government.
Hundreds of bus drivers across Regions 3 and 6 of Sydney’s bus network have resolved to hold stop-work meetings from 4am-6am on Thursday and 5pm-7pm on Friday, and to take a 24-hour strike this Monday, with hundreds of services likely to be impacted.
The strikes come after drivers turned off Opal card readers last Monday and for the first three days of this week, which the operator Transit Systems responded to by attempting to dock hundreds of dollars from drivers’ weekly pay.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said drivers were left with no other option, given their calls for same-job same-pay had so far fallen on deaf ears.
“All that bus drivers are asking for is the simple guarantee that if you drive a public bus in Sydney, you’ll get paid the same as everyone else doing the same job” Mr Olsen said.
“The operator Transit Systems, and the State Government, have chosen to ignore these drivers so they’ve been left with no alternative but to take strike action to have their voices heard.”
“These bus drivers have turned up day-in, day-out throughout the pandemic to serve the community – the last thing they want to do is go on strike, but the company’s stubborn refusal to negotiate has left them with no other option.”
“This is ultimately a problem of the State Government’s making – their privatisation of Sydney’s buses has led to this mess where drivers are on all kinds of different pay and conditions, despite doing the exact same job.”
“We are calling on Transit Systems and the State Government to stop playing games, and to come to the table to reach a fair agreement with these drivers, including same-job same-pay.”
For every week that Transit Systems stalls negotiations with drivers, it pockets an estimated $30,000 in taxpayer money intended to be used to provide pay rises for bus drivers.
Under their bus contracts, the State Government pays Transit Systems an increased amount each year for the labour component of the contract. This increase is in line with the Wage Price Index for the transport, postal & warehousing industry – the most recent figure being an annual increase of approximately 2% for the September quarter.