Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

200 jobs slashed as State Transit goes on cost-cutting drive to keep bus contracts

Dec 13, 2016Uncategorized

About 200 jobs will be axed at State Transit – most of them from support roles – as the government-run operator slashes costs to allow it to hold onto large Sydney bus contracts.

In a blow to staff just two weeks before Christmas, State Transit has told its heavily unionised workforce there will be cuts to back-office support roles and a major overhaul of managerial and salaried jobs.

A report by the Australian Automobile Association reveal the average family from western Sydney is paying around $22,000 a year in transport costs.

Some 40 per cent of the 500-strong workforce that falls under the umbrella of “State Transit Executive” will be axed by late next year.

The threat of the Baird government putting State Transit’s lucrative Sydney bus contracts into the hands of private operators has been hanging over staff for months.

As a consequence, the pressure has been on State Transit to slash costs in order to convince the government to extend its four Sydney bus contracts for a further five years.

Following its latest cost-cutting efforts, State Transit has reached an in-principle agreement with Transport for NSW for four new five-year contracts for bus services in Sydney to begin from next July – a year earlier than hoped.

Rail Tram and Bus Union divisional secretary Chris Preston said he was concerned that the loss of about 200 support staff would impact frontline workers and bus services.

However, Mr Preston said the renewal of four of State Transit’s bus contracts would safeguard the jobs of 3300 bus drivers at 12 depots in Sydney.

“In light of recent privatisation of bus contracts in Newcastle, and Transport for Newcastle’s transition to a private operator, we’re relieved to see the privatisation tide hasn’t turned for all NSW public buses,” he said.

While private companies such as Hillsbus and Transdev operate bus services in Sydney, State Transit-run Sydney Buses still carries the majority of the city’s passengers.

The government-owned authority’s contracts cover the CBD, the northern beaches, Paramatta, the eastern suburbs and south to suburbs such as Mascot.

A State Transit spokeswoman said expressions of interest for voluntary redundancies would occur in the new year for executive and corporate staff.

“As part of an effort to become more efficient and continue to provide services to Sydney, State Transit has offered to reform parts of our corporate back office,” she said.

“This will ensure State Transit’s metropolitan bus contracts can be renegotiated and ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for money.”

State Transit declined to reveal the cost savings it was targeting.

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