Sydney Transport Chaos As Bus Drivers Go On Strike
Almost 1200 Sydney bus drivers are on strike for 24 hours in response to a state government decision to privatise services on some of the city's busiest routes.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union walked off the job at midnight, affecting services across Sydney's inner west and south on Thursday, despite the Industrial Relations Commission last night ruling that the stop work action is illegal.
This morning a spokesman for the union confirmed drivers had walked off the job and that Sydney bus passengers should make alternative travel plans.
The four depots involved in the strike are in the areas to be privatised: Leichhardt, Burwood, Kingsgrove and Tempe.
BREAKING: Industrial action will impact Inner West bus services for 24hrs from midnight tonight. More to come at https://t.co/DDexjs9a2S— Transport for NSW (@TransportforNSW) May 17, 2017
Union spokesman Chris Preston laid the blame at the feet of Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
"With no warning, no consultation and against explicit undertakings, he has placed the future of 1200 bus drivers and depot staff in limbo," Mr Preston said in a statement on Wednesday.
"This action is our members' initial response to this outrageous action."
The privatisation plan would see the contract for Bus Region 6, which runs 233 routes from Olympic Park in the city's west to Kensington in the city's southeast, put out to private tender with the aim of providing a more reliable service.
The routes had some of the worst on-time running results in 2016 and have attracted the highest number of complaints out of Sydney's metropolitan area.
Mr Constance slammed the strike, saying the union was putting its bosses before customers and had been "egged on" by Labor.
"I hope the majority of bus drivers who want to deliver a better service to customers ignore their union bosses and show up to work tomorrow," he said in a statement.
Mr Constance claimed there would be more jobs for drivers in the future and current inner-west drivers would keep their jobs under the new private operator.
The main reason for the decision was to give customers a better service for the same price, the minister added.
The union warned members of the public to make alternative arrangements to get to work and drop their children at school on Thursday.
REGULAR BUS ROUTES AFFECTED:
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