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Media Release – Fare free day for commuters as bus drivers take industrial action

With the NSW Government still refusing to provide workers with information about the privatisation of Newcastle Buses and what it will mean for jobs, drivers will take further industrial action today.

Following action last week that saw drivers wear Hawaiian shirts instead of their STA uniforms, passengers today will be greeted by drivers in plain clothes and will not be asked to pay for a ticket or tap their OPAL card.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Tram and Bus Division Secretary Chris Preston said that drivers are sick of being treated with such disrespect by Transport for NSW.

“Drivers are getting a raw deal from a government that cares more about making a profit than looking after people or providing services,” Mr Preston said.

“Bus drivers are reading the newspaper to find out about whether they have a job or not because the government is just not talking to workers.

Mr Preston said that Newcastle Buses provides a valuable service to the community, but the government doesn’t understand how important it is for locals.

“The government knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing when it comes to public transport,” Mr Preston said.

“If the government’s only focus is money, and not on providing a quality service for passengers, then today’s fare free day will hurt.”

The union says that while drivers don’t want to disrupt services for passengers, further action may be required if the government doesn’t come to the table and give employees more information about their futures.

“Drivers just want to be able to do what they do best – providing a quality service for passengers – but the government is making that impossible, and industrial action may be the only way to get them to pay attention to our requests,” Mr Preston said.

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