NSW and Sydney Bus Strike: An Explainer
Why is there a Sydney Bus strike? How will the strike affect you?
Workers on NSW and Sydney Buses are taking industrial action on Monday April 11th which is affecting bus services. Bus Drivers who work across the now fully privatised bus industry in NSW will strike 24-hours over poor conditions and pay, including the lack of adequate toilet facilities and violence against drivers. This will effects buses operated by Transit Systems, Transdev and ComfortDelGro.
Why is there a bus strike?
Bus drivers have been raising their concerns for several years. However, the bus companies say they do not have funding to address the issues, and the NSW Government which pays private bus operators says they are not responsible.
The three main issues are:
- Same-job same-pay protections
- Violence against bus drivers
- Working conditions
Central to drivers’ demands are same-job same-pay protections. The current system sees some drivers receiving substantially lower pay and conditions than others working in the same depot, driving the same routes. Drivers are campaigning to fix this unfair system.
Bus drivers also face abuse, violence and have very little support for their own or passenger safety. Acts of violence against bus drivers have been well documented across several years, however little action has been taken to protect drivers.
Bus Drivers cannot find toilets or adequate places to have a proper fatigue break away from their buses. Drivers are expected to “hold on” because toilet facilities are either closed or non-existent.
Across the industry Bus Drivers are also questioning their own safety at work and the safety of their passengers as the NSW Government has not taken its share of responsibility to provide adequate training, reduction of violence against bus drivers and the provision of adequate fatigue management conditions.
The NSW Government controls the purse strings. Through the contracts they award to private operators, the NSW Government can enforce a list of industry standards that will ensure fairer pay and conditions and improved health & safety across the bus industry. This is why bus drivers across Sydney will rally outside NSW Parliament while on strike.
What are the conditions like for bus drivers?
A survey of bus driver working conditions found that:
- 96% of drivers believe that driving without adequate breaks puts them and their passengers at risk.
- 87% of drivers will hold on rather than use toilet facilities when there are passengers on board. 28% of drivers experience medical issues because of inadequate break periods.
- 81% of drivers experiencing verbal abuse daily.
- 74% of drivers believe that the NSW government tendering has left the bus industry in a worse state and compromises passenger safety.
- 25% of drivers have been disciplined for running late to timetables they believe are not possible to meet.
- 67% of drivers believe the pressure to meet timetable obligations compromises the safety of passengers.
- 74% of drivers believe a lack of buses or drivers servicing routes place pressure on drivers to drive unsafely.
- 64% of drivers feel extra pressure to meet timetable deadlines daily.
- The top 3 areas that drivers feel that they should receive further training in, include conflict resolution (48%), recognition of issues with the vehicle (48%) and self-defence (47%).
Which areas and buses are impacted by the strike?
Members involved in the action are at the following bus companies:
Click here for a map of metropolitan (SMBSC) regions and here for a map of outer metropolitan (OSMBSC) regions.