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Ch9: Sydney’s rail crisis could spread to bus network

Jan 18, 2018News

Sydney’s railway fiasco is threatening to spread to the city’s bus services, with hundreds of services set to be privatised.

9NEWS understands in coming days the NSW government will announce the private company that will run Inner-West and Southern Sydney (Region 6) buses.

The move has infuriated unions, who last year walked off the job for 24 hours after the government made it clear the services would be sold off.

“This workforce is furious. This workforce was betrayed by this minister,” RTBU NSW Secretary Chris Prestons said.

“If the bus drivers are not given transitional package that they believe they deserve, 1200 odd drivers, who knows what’s going to happen.”

If there is a stop work it will affect hundreds of services from Silverwater to the Anzac Bridge and as far south as Sans Souci.

“Outside of any bargaining period it’s an illegal strike action and that’s where the RTBU have form we saw wildcat strikes last year,” NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.

It’s understood in addition to current services, the private operator will provide “Uber-style” on demand buses throughout the region.

“Eighty percent of bus services are delivered by private operators and deliver much improved performances,” Mr Constance said.

The government claims timetabling and fares will not change.

It comes as tense negotiations continue between the NSW government and rail unions after the announcement of a 24-hour Sydney Trains strike on January 29.

Train workers want a 6 percent annual pay increase over four years. The government has a wages policy where they will not budge on 2.5 percent.

The strike has been called for the Monday after Australia Day, the traditional day Sydneysiders head back to work.

The train network carries 1.3 million passenger journeys a day with the government admitting a strike will cripple the city.

It’s understood Mr Constance will meet with Unions NSW boss Mark Morey on Friday but will refuse any increase above 2.5 percent.

Labor Leader Luke Foley is calling on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to sideline Mr Constance and take control of negotiations to prevent a strike.

The premier is understood to be leaving talks with Mr Constance for the time being and is confident a resolution can be found before any strike action.

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