The strikes, which began last week and will continue until this week, will affect bus services in Sydney and New South Wales (NSW) trains.
The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and the Railroad Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) have notified Transit Systems that their members will be on strike.
Bus services in the Inner West and Southwest Sydney suburbs, as well as Sydney trains and NSW intercity trains will be affected.
Bus drivers in Sydney’s Inner West have ceased operations from Monday 12.01 to Tuesday 12.01, while drivers in Sydney Southwest will be on strike from Tuesday 12.01 to Wednesday 12.01.
According to TWU, the bus strikes came after drivers’ calls for “same job, same pay” went unanswered by Transit Systems and the NSW government.
Drivers also disabled Opal card readers for three days last week, to which Transit Systems responded by trying to withdraw hundreds of dollars from their paychecks.
TWU NSW Secretary of State Richard Olsen said drivers had no choice but to go on strike as their calls for equal pay were ignored.
“All bus drivers ask for is a simple guarantee that if you drive a public bus in Sydney, you will be paid just like everyone else doing the same job,” he said.
He added that the privatization of Sydney buses by the state government caused this confusion, where the pay and working conditions of drivers can be very different, even though they do the same job.
“We urge Transit Systems and the state government to stop playing games and sit down at the negotiating table to reach a fair deal with these drivers, including“ equal job, equal pay, ”Olsen said.
A Transit Systems spokesman said TWU was misleading the public by saying that the Opal card readers were turned off last week, when in fact 98-100 percent of the machines were active on most of the network, and all services were running on schedule, with no inconvenience to customers.
Meanwhile, Sydney and NSW Trainlink intercity train delays are expected on Tuesday, with reduced timetables and some cancellations.
Transport NSW said that on some Sydney commuter lines, trains will run every 30 minutes, with trains stopping at all stations, increasing travel times.
Buses will replace trains on the Bankstown T3 line between Bankstown and Lidcombe, but the Bankstown T3 lines between Liverpool and the city will continue to operate, albeit at a lower frequency.
In addition, NSW Trainlink Intercity trains will switch to weekend timetables and buses will replace trains between Kembla Port and Wollongong, Wollongong and Tyrrul, and Wollongong and Kiama.
RTBU said train drivers will refuse to drive foreign-made trains on Tuesday, meaning 75 percent of trains will be affected.
RTBU NSW secretary Alex Claassens said that due to the deadlock in negotiations for a new enterprise agreement, workers had no choice but to go on strike.
“The workers don’t want them to take any action, but we had no other options. Management and the government are refusing to comply with basic safety, hygiene and privatization guidelines as part of agreement negotiations with businesses, ”he said.
“We are well aware of the impact this will have on passengers, but we also know that inaction will endanger workers and passengers.”
Drivers would also like the agreement with businesses to include a commitment to create jobs if privatized, a guarantee that changes to their services make them safer or safer, and a commitment to maintain current levels of hygiene using government jobs.
In response, a Transit Systems representative said that so far they have held nine negotiating meetings, of which TWU attended only one, and RTBU – four.
“We listened carefully and communicated with our staff, including regular Q&A updates twice a week, informational videos, and an internal briefing on the proposed Enterprise Agreement for all employees, which included 60 minutes of billable time for those who watched the session,” he said …
“We will continue to work with our employees and hope for a positive result,” he added.