Bus drivers take action

August 6, 1998

Bus drivers take action

By Anthony Benbow

ADELAIDE — "We have tried to do the right thing by the company but they have given us nothing", said one driver employed by private bus operator Serco, as he and many colleagues stopped work for 24 hours on July 31.

The stoppage followed a breakdown in enterprise bargaining negotiations which have been going on since January. The drivers have already made major concessions to management.

Picket lines were set up at the Elizabeth and City depots, with both union and non-union drivers refusing to cross them.

The Transport Workers Union is trying to bring Serco drivers' conditions into line with those of drivers employed by the other metro bus operator, TransAdelaide. Serco drivers work a 40-hour week and have to clean and refuel their own buses. TransAdelaide drivers work a 38-hour week, do not refuel or clean their vehicles, and have recently won a pay increase.

Serco drivers were seeking a 38-hour week and 15% pay increase. When management refused to budge, the workers dropped it to 10% and left the hours to be negotiated.

One driver said: "We've bent over backwards but management seem to treat us with contempt. For the last few months of negotiations our jobs have been threatened by management standover tactics, and we've had to keep going under incredible pressure. They have to come to the party with some improvements."

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