Transport Workers Union (TWU) members employed by bus company Transdev WA organised a 4-hour stoppage on February 7 as part of their campaign for parity in wages and conditions with other drivers.
The stoppage, which affected routes through Rockingham, Mandurah, Fremantle and Joondalup, was the latest action in the union’s long-running industrial campaign that began in January last year. Talks between the Western Australian TWU leadership and the French multinational transport company broke down last October.
The WA government has contracted Transdev to run its Transperth bus network, which operates throughout Perth.
TWU organiser Mark Bydder explained that the Transdev workers have been trying to gain parity in pay and conditions with drivers employed by other bus companies. For instance, Swan Transit has 5 week’s annual leave, better superannuation provisions and a better pathway to permanency. Also, 72% of Swan drivers have a permanent contract compared with only 55% of Transdev drivers.
Responding to Transdev’s criticism of the drivers action, Bydder said it was “not an attack on the communities” as alleged. He said the WA government had “undermined … the job our drivers do”.
Bydder said that those doing the same job should be on the same rate.
“These drivers are being spat on, abused and assaulted in their workplaces every day. They deserve respect, job security, with a path to permanent jobs and the wages and conditions of the other bus drivers in WA who do the same work.”
TWU members have used a variety of tactics, including rolling stoppages, uniform-free days and turning off the ticketing machines.
They are planning more protected industrial action on February 27 when US rapper Eminem will be performing at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
[The TWU has urged the public to show support for the Transdev workers by emailing their local MPs, WA Premier Mark McGowan (email@example.com) transport minister Rita Saffiodi (Saffioti@dpc.wa.gov.au) and calling Transperth (136213) to urge them all to negotiate with the TWU.]