Drivers crowded the court at the Industrial Relations Commission on Thursday last week to hear the opening address from the Bus and Tram Division defending their working conditions from STA attack.
Members will be vary aware of STA’s attempts to introduce casuals to work vacant shifts and part time, broken shifts to reduce overtime payments that drivers rely on to support themselves and their families.
Justice Staff heard from the RTBU barrister that STA’s attempts to vary rosters were in direct conflict with the good faith drivers’ brought to EBA negotiations with management in 2011 and with the no extra claims clause included in the final agreement. No extra claims, he explained, means just that both sides, and STA must respect the agreement reached for its duration.
He went on further to explain how the changes would adversely affect drivers, reducing their pay and access to full time positions – expanding further those touched by the insidious nature of insecure work. He said these changes are “fundamentally unfair” and come with no other justification than STA wanting to save money at drivers’ expense. Read more »
Dollars and sense at STA
Tell us what is REALLY going to make STA more efficient.
All members will be aware that STA CEO Peter Rowley has done a tour of depots trying to convince drivers to accept changes to the Enterprise Agreement he negotiated with drivers not one year ago – all in the name of “efficiency”.
Mr Rowley says drivers must accept cuts to wages and conditions to stop the future privatisation of State Transit. But some drivers have their own ideas about what would actually make STA more efficient.
At one of the depot meeting a member asked what Mr Rowley would be doing to stop the huge amount of money lost to STA through fare evasion every day. The member wanted to know why drivers were being asked to take a hit while this continued to happen. All Mr Rowley could say was it shouldn’t be drivers’ concern.
It’s true, it shouldn’t be drivers’ concern, but when they are being asked to accept cuts to hard fought wages and conditions to “save” themselves from privatisation it becomes their concern.
We know slashing wages and conditions is no way to make bus services better or more efficient. This is just short term thinking.
Drivers know the bus network better than anyone. And we know how it could be improved. Actually improved.
So give us your ideas! We have already received information from a member on how much could be saved if STA dealt with fare evasion on buses, but what else could be done?
Comment below to have your say.
A Christmas message from Chris and Gary
We can hardly believe it but here we are at the final edition of Bus Express for 2012.
This year has proved that we have to be ever vigilant when it comes to protecting our rights at work.
We have seen the Government enact wholesale cuts and outsourcing of services across the board.
After fighting hard last year to secure a fair Agreement with State Transit, drivers were outraged by attempts by STA CEO Peter Rowley to vary the Agreement not one year after it was made.
Drivers responded to this by sending a message, loud and clear, to STA and to the NSW Government that an Agreement is an Agreement and they will not be held to ransom by threats of privatisation. Read more »
State Transit management has agreed to implement a program of testing members employed at the organisation during the 80s and 90s for asbestos related diseases after learning about asbestos brakes used in this period.
The union questioned State Transit about its planned response to the discovery, saying that it had to take responsibility for the impact this could have on its employees now and into the future.
The program is a good news from State Transit, but should only be the first step. The union will continue to advocate for the organisation to take appropriate actions take responsibility for work practices that put employees at risk all those years ago. Read more »
It’s time of the year again when STA employees volunteer to spend many hours decking out buses at each depot with beautiful decorations, all in the name of bringing Christmas cheer to the travelling public.
These thoughtful and energetic volunteers use a successful combination of skill, artistry and imagination to turn our buses into a Christmas spectacular for everyone, drivers and passengers alike, to enjoy.
Hamilton bus driver, Margaret Pannell, who started decorating a Christmas bus back in 1996 says the response from the community has always been incredibly positive. In fact, it was the positive feedback from her passengers that eventually got STA on board to support the initiative. Read more »
When good faith turns bad
In 2011 the RTBU negotiated a new Enterprise Agreement with the State Transit Authority.
Both parties came to the table in good faith to find an arrangement that would shape the next three years at STA. Both parties negotiated hard but in the end an agreement was put to members and they voted with a resounding yes.
But now STA wants to go back on that Agreement. It says efficiencies have to be made and it wants them to be made by drivers.
STA CEO Peter Rowley says reform must come or we face a “very real chance that our bus services could possibly be put out to tender in the future”. He says we need to “identify areas that are seen as inefficient compared to the private bus industry” and reform them.
With these as a rationale Mr Rowley wants to introduce what have become known as the Rowley Reforms; seeking to introduce more casual workers and part time broken shifts.
Mr Rowley wants to introduce these without the consent of drivers, arguing they do not constitute Award variations. The union strenuously opposes these changes and will fight any attempt to introduce them.
He has also outlined a number of other reforms he wishes to pursue which have been outlined to members in recent correspondence from the union, one of the worst being the abolition of accumulated days off (ADO).
The union has discussed this with delegates and just as members voted with a resounding yes to the current agreement, they have come back with a resounding no on these variations.
Drivers will not be pressured into accepting lesser conditions particularly when STA can’t guarantee services won’t be privatised in the future. The union has made this clear to Mr Rowley and will continue to stand firm against this attempt to backflip on the Agreement that was made in good faith in 2011.
The RTBU would like to assure members it has no intention of consenting to any Award variations following STA CEO Mr Peter Rowley’s article on bus driver reforms in the last edition of We’re Moving Sydney (formally Transit Times).
It is disappointing that less than a year after negotiating their working conditions in good faith with State Transit, bus drivers are now being threatened with privatisation unless they accept proposed “efficiencies”. Read more »
Your union is currently in dispute with State Transit over their continued practice of placing members who are in genuie need of sick leave and who have supplied doctors certificate on STA’s absent management program.
Your union believes this practice contravenes the 2012 bus operator award and we are currently persuing this matter through the dispute settlement process.
We will keep you informed with further developments as they arise.
Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian has responded to the RTBU’s demands for increased security on bus services, by committing to security on new all night services from Kings Cross.
The RTBU wrote to the Minister following a number of assaults on bus drivers, requesting increased security on buses, particularly at night. Read more »
State Transit has decided to discontinue the extra school holiday bus service that takes people from the Taronga Zoo wharf up to the main entrance and back.
North Sydney depot has been supplying an extra bus to assist with the large crowds for many years. The bus does normal route services in the first half of the shift and for the second half, from about four hours, assists with loading zoo goers at the wharf. However, after a wet and windy June holiday period, where crowd numbers were down, State Transit ditched the extra bus. The September school holidays were chaotic, but no one from state transit recorded passenger numbers and there was no re-evaluation of the service. Read more »
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Divisional Secretary Chris Preston & Divisional President Gary Way
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