The Transport Workers’ Union is calling on the NSW Government to urgently extend its paid vaccination leave arrangements to cover bus drivers employed by private operators – not just those working for State Transit.
The Union this week wrote to Transport Minister Andrew Constance expressing its concern that the NSW Government’s recent paid vaccination leave announcement doesn’t cover the vast majority of bus drivers in NSW, who work for private operators.
The vaccine leave has been provided to ensure that frontline delivery of public services is maintained, yet in the parts of Western and South Western Sydney most affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak, bus drivers who are not employed directly by the NSW Government are at risk.
TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen said “As the head of the public transport supply chain, the NSW Government has a responsibility to ensure all bus drivers have access to paid vaccination leave.
“It makes no sense for bus drivers in certain parts of Sydney to be given paid vaccination leave while the majority of drivers across NSW working for private operators miss out” Mr. Olsen said.
“No bus driver should be put in a situation where they feel like they cannot afford to take time off work to get the COVID vaccine.”
Mr Olsen welcomed the NSW Labor Opposition’s support for the push, after several Shadow Ministers also wrote to the Minister yesterday.
Richard Olsen said “I also reiterate the TWU’s previous calls for the NSW Government to implement formal paid pandemic leave arrangements for private bus company drivers if they test positive for COVID-19, or if they are identified as a close contact.”
There are currently dozens of bus services on the NSW Health website listed as close contacts – and the overwhelming majority of those drivers don’t have access to a formal NSW government recognised arrangement of pandemic leave.
Mr Olsen also highlighted that the TWU has been behind the prioritisation of vaccines for private bus company drivers involved in the quarantine transport of international passengers from Sydney Airport.
“The Union is seeking the same program be extended to those on the frontline of passenger transport” he said.
Media contacts: Colin Henderson – 0405 625 208 / Mitch Wright – 0430 186 590