Newcastle bus drivers will walk off the job for four hours on Friday.
Workers have unanimously decided to vote down the latest offer from Keolis Downer which the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said is “insufficient” as RTBU members grow increasingly frustrated their calls to earn a decent living wage are being ignored by the private operator.
Buses won’t run between 10am and 2pm on 3rd June.
Tram and Bus Division President of the RTBU NSW, Daniel Jaggers said Keolis Downer had dropped the pretence of considering increasing drivers’ wages as the cost of living continues to soar, telling employees that they could earn more if they worked more.
“Keolis Downer had tried to sell their latest inadequate Enterprise Agreement offer by telling drivers they could forgo their Sunday, to go without spending time with their families and supplement their income by taking on a voluntary shift. This is basically them saying we won’t pay you any more because you deserve it.”
“Drivers are being forced to take protected industrial action to pressure their employer to pay a wage which allows them to make ends meet and live where they work,” said Daniel Jaggers.
“The State Government has become drunk on privatisation- yet they still control the wages of our members through clauses in the contracts with operators like Keolis Downer, who claim they can only pay what the government gives them. If that is the case, the RTBU is calling on Minister David Elliott to have these contracts readjusted to ensure our members receive a living wage.”
The RTBU apologises for any inconvenience and has timed the stoppage for the middle of the day to reduce any impact on school and peak services. Parents can be rest assured that drivers will be there to get their kids to and from school.
The union said they cannot rule out further action should a negotiated solution in the future not be reached.