Bus passengers in Sydney’s Inner West and South West will travel fare-free for three days, in an escalation of industrial action taken by bus drivers fighting for same-job same-pay in the bus industry.
Drivers across regions 3 and 6 of the network will again turn off Opal card machines from Monday to Wednesday, and are calling on the NSW Government to intervene and force the operator, Transit Systems, to negotiate in good faith.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said the Transport Minister owes it to the bus drivers to show some leadership and force Transit Systems to negotiate.
“The State Government needs to step in and drag Transit Systems back to the negotiating table. They’re the ones ultimately controlling the purse strings, and they owe as much to these drivers who work each and every day providing a service for the Government” Mr Olsen said.
“It’s simply not good enough for the Government to sit back and watch while this bus operator refuses to negotiate with its workforce, which is what is causing this industrial action.”
“Drivers are not asking for a lot here – it’s just about making sure that each and every bus driver is getting the same pay for doing the same job.”
“If the State Government and the operator want to keep ignoring these reasonable calls from bus drivers, then we will see industrial action continue and, in all likelihood, escalate”.
The TWU also highlighted the fact that under their contract, the State Government pays Transit Systems an increased amount each year for the labour component of the contract, which is intended to be used to provide pay rises to drivers – an amount being pocketed by Transit Systems as a consequence of their refusal to negotiate.
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.
“This Government likes to talk about its economic credentials – but the truth is they are paying an increase on their contract of around 2% for bus driver pay rises that is just being pocketed by the operator instead” Mr Olsen said.
“We are talking about a figure in the vicinity of $30,000 of taxpayer money each and every week that should be going into the pockets of more than 1,000 bus drivers and is instead being hoarded by this company because they refuse to bargain for a new agreement.”
“The Government needs to do the right thing by taxpayers and by bus drivers, and force Transit Systems into negotiations so that bus drivers can get what is rightfully theirs.”
- Transit Systems operates two of Sydney’s bus regions:
- Region 3 covering Parramatta, Liverpool, Merrylands, Prairiewood and Fairfield
- Region 6 covering Sydney’s Inner West and South
- Click here to a view a map of Sydney’s bus regions
- Drivers across both regions took protected industrial action by turning off Opal card machines for 24 hours on Monday 22 November. Transit Systems responded by advising drivers in Region 6 that they would not be engaging in any bargaining.
- As a result of Sydney’s privatised bus network, bus drivers are employed by several different companies, each with significantly different pay and conditions. This is most pronounced at Transit Systems, where all drivers in Region 3 and newer drivers in Region 6 are paid significantly less than the former State Transit drivers in Region 6, despite performing the same work for the same company.
- Under section 4.5 of Schedule 3 of 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
Media Contact: Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590