SA public transport workers protest


By Bronwen Beechey

ADELAIDE — Public Transport Union (PTU) members held a five-hour stop-work meeting on May 11 to protest against the deterioration in wages and conditions which has resulted from privatisation of public transport.

Under SA government "competitive tendering", the northern routes have been taken over by Serco while the rest of the routes are run by TransAdelaide and Hills Transit. The government now plans to split TransAdelaide into seven contract areas.

PTU state secretary Darryl Dixon told Green Left Weekly workers' wages and conditions had already suffered. Serco drivers earn between $50 and $70 per week less than TransAdelaide's. TransAdelaide told the union that wages and conditions must be reduced to make the company "competitive" in the tendering process.

The stop-work meeting, attended by around 800 workers, demanded that the wages and conditions of TransAdelaide workers be maintained by every company that wins a tender. They also called on the government to hold an inquiry into public transport and resolved to take industrial action "as and when required" to support their claim.

Alex Gallacher, state secretary of the Transport Workers Union, which covers the Serco drivers, read a message of support to the rally. He said the Serco drivers are campaigning to bring their wages and conditions up to the level of TransAdelaide and Hills Transit drivers, and supported the PTU campaign.