Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Underpayment, lack of security: Newcastle bus privatisation a complete disaster

Sep 6, 2017News

Media release – 6 September

Bus drivers are being underpaid, services are being cancelled due to poor rostering, and drivers have been left vulnerable to attacks as a result of the NSW Government’s bungled privatisation of Newcastle buses.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Tram and Bus Divisional President, Dave Woollams, said the privatisation of the region’s buses has turned out to be an even bigger disaster than bus drivers originally predicted it would be.

“This is first-rate incompetence from the Transport Minister,” Mr Woollams said.

“The list of things that have gone wrong since the NSW Government sold off Newcastle’s buses is as long as your arm. We’ve seen drivers severely underpaid, new buses without basic security systems purchased, and rostering issues so bad that in some cases services have had to be cancelled.

“This is so far from the world-class transport system the Government promised the people of Newcastle, it’s not funny.

“We told the Government this was a terrible decision at the time, but as it turns out it’s even worse than we predicted.

“Some workers, many of who live pay check to pay check, have been underpaid hundreds of dollars, and the issue still hasn’t been resolved.

“This is all on the Transport Minister’s head. He rushed through the sale of Newcastle’s buses without making sure everything was in order and now the people of Newcastle are paying the price.

“The fact that workers aren’t being paid properly and that commuters are having their services cancelled might not look like that big a deal from the Minister’s high-rise office in the heart of Sydney, but on the ground in Newcastle, I can tell you, it’s a very big deal.

“This is the true face of privatisation – a substandard service and a workforce who aren’t treated with the respect they deserve.”