Bus drivers’ strike action looms

Bus strikeCentral Coast Buses

Members of the public experienced free travel on some Wyong bus journeys on Monday, September 3.
Transport Workers Union NSW bus driver members at Wyong depot took part in protected industrial action.
Busways were to meet with the TWU on Wednesday, September 5, to discuss Busways’ refusal to negotiate a fair Enterprise Agreement (EA), according to the union.
“Busways is refusing to give its bus drivers not just what they deserve, but what they need to live with dignity and stay afloat,” said TWU State Secretary, Richard Olsen.’
“The company has displayed a continued lack of respect for its drivers, trying to lock them into an EA which offers only a paltry pay rise and a stagnant rate of superannuation that puts them lower than every other industry,” Olsen said.
“Busways are on notice that if they continue their refusal to listen to members, then members will conduct a one hour stoppage of work commencing Friday, September 7, at 12pm and ending at 1pm.
“They will continue an unlimited ban on the use of Opal machines, commencing September 7, and continuing for an indefinite period.
“Busways’ refusal to discuss a fair and respectful deal for drivers will leave our members with no other choice than to take further protected industrial action.
“It is not too late for Busways to avoid further action.
“We do not want to unnecessarily affect members of the public.”
In a written statement, Busways refuted key claims made by the TWU.
“Busways has been in negotiations with the TWU for almost 11 months,” the Busways’ statement said.
“We have attended 10 official bargaining meetings and had numerous informal discussions throughout the process.
“The three proposals we put forward were voted on by employees and sadly rejected.
“We thought that recent discussions following the last vote were very constructive.
“We are holding further meetings with all bargaining representatives (including the TWU) again this Wednesday, September 5.
“Busways is already one of the highest paying operators in the industry.
“Busways pays more than 27 per cent above the Bus Industry Award.
“The three agreements put forward by Busways all included increases which would have continued to keep our drivers among the best paid in the industry.
“The TWU continue to press for an annual pay increase of 5% and a 58% increase in superannuation by 2020.
“These sorts of wage cost increases are just unrealistic and are not a viable option for the business.
“It is very disappointing that our employees are taking industrial action on Friday, while negotiations are continuing.
“Busways is trying to minimise the disruption caused to our customers.
“Busways has enlisted the assistance of the Fair Work Commission in the hopes of conciliating the ongoing bargaining so that we can de-escalate and hopefully resolve the matter, reaching a fair and reasonable outcome for the company and its employees.

Source: Media release, Sep 3 Colin Henderson, TWU Media statement, Sep 4 Jade Aliprandi, Busways