A bus strike will affect Sydney and regional NSW on Monday 11 April, as transport unions escalate their long fight against the state government for fairer pay and working conditions.
The 24-hour strike will affect services across Sydney’s north, south, and west, as well as the Hills District, Innerwest and CBD, including the suburbs of Liverpool, Fairfield, Parramatta, Sutherland, Cronulla, Lidcombe, Granville, Bankstown, Frenchs Forest, St Ives and Belrose.
The action is organised by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), and will involve around 1000 workers from three transport operating companies. It is the latest in a series of industrial action by transport unions surrounding wages and fair working conditions, which culminated in the government’s 24-hour shutdown of the NSW rail network in February.
In a TWU press release, State Secretary Richard Olsen urged the government to take responsibility and control for enforcing a list of industry standards for workers through the contracts they award to private operators. Their demands include same-pay protections for drivers operating all routes, and proper break-rooms and accessible bathrooms during shifts.
Olsen added: “Across the industry Bus Drivers are also questioning their own safety at work and the safety of their passengers as the NSW Government has not taken its share of responsibility to provide adequate training, reduction of violence against bus drivers and the provision of adequate fatigue management conditions.”
In a statement to Honi, a University spokesperson said: “Students affected by the bus strike on Monday will not be penalised for non-attendance of any classes. They should notify their teachers in the normal way.”
A TWU survey found 85 per cent of its drivers operated their buses for more than five hours between breaks, while more than 80 per cent experienced verbal abuse every day.
Transport Minister David Elliot denounced the strike’s disruption to NSW commuters, which will occur on the first day of school holidays. “I urge the unions to stop exploiting the state transport network for Labor’s political gain,” he said in a statement to the media.
The industrial action comes after thousands of health workers walked off the job last Thursday, calling for a pay rise in an ongoing dispute with the state government.
“We understand the inconvenience strike action may cause some members of the public, and it’s not a decision the drivers take lightly, we have chosen the day with care, we are confident the community will understand drivers have been left with no other option to have their voices heard,” said Olsen.
Transport workers and private operators are also continuing their negotiations of a new enterprise bargaining agreement.