Bus drivers take action

June 17, 1998

Bus drivers take action

By Shane Bentley

SYDNEY — Private bus drivers began a 24-hour strike in Sydney and Newcastle on June 10. Wollongong and Campbelltown drivers voted to stay out for 48 hours.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) drivers walked out for "five and five" — a 5% pay increase each year for two years. The TWU is also pushing for a single award that covers the private bus industry in metropolitan NSW, and increased safety and job security.

The Bus and Coach Association's (BCA) counter-offer is 13% over three years. The TWU's Andrew Whale described the BCA's offer as having "so many strings attached it would mean many drivers would be worse off — some up to $120 a week". This is despite employers' claims that no driver will be worse off.

"Not only is the BCA trying to reduce the hours when shift penalties and overtime can be earned. It is also attempting to introduce a separate rate for when drivers are at work and when they are off work ... I have never heard of any employer in Australia attempting to do this", Whale said.

Whale warned that, "if the BCA continues with its stance, it is in for a long and torrid fight. There is no way our members are going to accept the reduction in pay and conditions."

The dispute will be heard in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on June 15.

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