Bus drivers unite and win against the NSW Government
Last week our bus drivers won an important victory over the NSW Government. When the union issued a strike notice over the shocking mismanagement of public transport, the prospect of a 48-hour work stoppage finally managed to bring this government to the table.
After our show of strength, the government agreed to pay for a 2 hour stop work meeting on Monday – a huge concession from the current government. At the meeting, drivers were able to hear from management and their union on the details of the offer and answer any questions.
With the potent threat of industrial action, that would have affected over 50% of the bus trips taken in Sydney, the government has agreed to properly monitor and enforce the contracts of operators in regions 7, 8 and 9. We also secured employee entitlements under any new operator, ensuring there will be no two-tier workforce as we saw in region 6 when private operators took over.
The agreement also had some important wins for commuters, with the government committing to review the health regulations on public transport when Covid-19 begin to rise to ensure a safer network for everyone, and a period of robust community consultation on bus privatisation.
Community support for protecting public transport has been strong and unwavering. Commuters who rely on their buses do not want to see private operators cutting corners and diminishing the quality of their services. Securing them this consultation period gives them the chance to have their concerns heard and questions answered, as well as force the government to explain probable changes to routes and services.
This simply would not have been possible without the strength shown by our members. We have demonstrated to any future operators that we are willing to take the ultimate stand to protect our conditions and our bus network. We have proven, both to ourselves and to the union movement, that if we stand together, we can force change from this Government!