Media release: Overseas bus driver recruitment worrying sign for inner-west commuters and workers
6 March, Media Release
The Transport Minister needs to confirm that he will not leave the newly privatised inner-west bus service in disarray, like he did with Newcastle buses, and that Australian bus drivers will be given first priority of jobs, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said today.
RTBU Tram and Bus Division Secretary, Chris Preston, said revelations today that bus drivers are being brought in from overseas to work on the recently privatised region six service are incredibly concerning.
“It is incredibly worrying that already the private company looks to have been left hung out to dry by the Transport Minister, with so few drivers employed that they’re having to advertise overseas,” Mr Preston said.
“When the Transport Minister sold off Newcastle’s bus network, he left it in tatters and it still hasn’t recovered.
“We can’t afford to let the Transport Minister cut and run from region six like he did in Newcastle.
“It’s not a huge surprise that the Transport Minister is struggling with bus driver retention at the moment. He’s continually attacking our jobs, disrespecting the workforce and introducing timetable changes that anger commuter who inevitably take out their frustrations on drivers.
“When you drive down morale, you can expect to drive out workers.
“The Transport Minister needs to confirm that local drivers will be offered any jobs as a first priority.
“Andrew Constance has a responsibility to ensure commuters and workers in region six still have a reliable, working service, no matter who is technically running the service. Obviously that involves making sure there are enough drivers to maintain the service.
“We don’t know exactly why drivers are being sought from overseas, but what we do know is that it’s the Transport Minister’s ultimate responsibility to make sure workers and commuters get a quality bus service and quality jobs.
“The Transport Minister’s strike rate when it comes to privatising bus services in the state is 0 from 1 so far. He’s made a complete mess of Newcastle, we can’t afford to let him do the same with the inner-west.”