Commuters in NSW should expect delays this week as bus and train drivers across the state go on strike. This week will see staggered industrial action by public transport workers in the state.
Bus drivers across NSW will commence industrial action this week as part of a larger dispute regarding pay equality. Much of the dispute pertains to a deal struck between the state’s government and Transit Systems, leading to a division of wages across drivers.
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey says the deal “introduced privatisation” into the state’s bus industry, leaving bus drivers being paid differently despite working the same amount.
“[Bus drivers] want to see good-faith bargaining, a serious offer to these employees who got us through COVID, and a recognition of the skill and high-quality work they actually do,” Mr Morey said.
Bus drivers across Sydney are striking for 24 hours over Monday and Tuesday. Additionally, the drivers will stand down during peak hours on Friday afternoon, from 5 to 7pm.
“Drivers have been left with no option but to take this strike action in order to have their voices head,” Transport Workers Union NSW Secretary Richard Olsen said.
“Now, it’s time for the state government and the operator Transit Systems to listen to their drivers and end the unfair two-tiered pay system that currently exists.”
The bus drivers’ strike coincides with a strike conducted by rail workers on Tuesday, estimated to affect 75 per cent of train services.
NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union members are seeking a pay increase and a commitment from the government to rule out expanded privatisation of transport services. Alex Classans, secretary of the union, said transport workers “don’t want to have to take any action” but they “have no choice”.
“This state government has a shocking record of dismantling, privatising and selling off our public transport, a policy they have enthusiastically continued under cover of the COVID pandemic,” said Mr Classans.
The government has offered drivers a pay increase of 0.3 per cent in the first year of a new agreement, and 2.5 per cent after. However, the union is calling for a 3.5 per cent increase. As it stands, the two entities are at an impasse.
Commuters across affected areas are warned of widespread disruptions this week.