Over 1500 Victorian bus drivers from Dysons and Ventura are preparing for a 24-hour stoppage commencing this Friday morning. The decision by TWUmembers comes after ongoing negotiations with two of the state’s leading bus operators – Dysons and Ventura – and the Transport Workers’ Union Victoria & Tasmania remain at an impasse over improvements to employment conditions.
TWU bus driver members at Dysons are seeking improved conditions and fair wage increases. As it stands, Dysons are refusing to address many conditions, and are outrageously refusing to pass on wage increases to bus drivers despite being the recipient of guaranteed wage subsidies backed by the state government.
Negotiations between the TWU Victoria & Tasmania and Ventura are yet to resolve core issues pertaining to meal breaks, overtime rates and improved work-life balance.
Collectively, both operators employ over 3,000 people and have over 1300 buses in their fleet.
On Tuesday, crisis talks between the TWU Victoria & Tasmania and Kinetic resulted in a revised offer from the company including industry-leading rates of pay and conditions as Kinetic takes over as the major public service operator from Transdev. TWU members at Kinetic have withdrawn from Friday’s strike as the Enterprise Agreement is prepared for vote.
TWU Victoria & Tasmania Branch Secretary Mike McNess says that bus drivers deserve fair conditions, financial security and respect.
“Dysons and Ventura are now choosing to be outliers across the bus industry. Kinetic has set a new and fair benchmark for bus drivers across the state, particularly in light of the rapidly increasing cost of living and the heightened requirement for secure and strong employment conditions. Both of which are genuine and real issues that must be addressed at the Enterprise Agreement level for the continued livelihoods of these essential workers and their families.”
“We have a situation where two major bus operators in Victoria have shut the door in the face of loyal bus drivers who the Victorian public rely on. The operators’ refusal and inaction on important improvements to work-life balance and fair working conditions tells these bus drivers that their working conditions are not important to the operators. This is what has led to more than 1500 bus drivers making the tough decision to withdraw their labour this Friday.”
“We apologise for any inconvenience to the public this Friday. It is a last resort for bus drivers and an incredibly difficult and disappointing decision for bus drivers to make. I urge the Victorian public to stand behind essential public service workers in their pursuit of fair conditions for the future.”
“For Dysons to blatantly refuse to pass on state government wage subsidies to the bus drivers who provide essential public bus driving services is nothing short of a disgrace and a slap in the face to their workforce. It is no wonder that these bus drivers are striking this Friday without these commitments from the company.”
“Ventura’s refusal of improved work-life balance, fair overtime rates and satisfactory meal break arrangements shows little respect for essential bus drivers. We are at a crucial point in time for working people where strong employment conditions must be able to be relied on now and in the future,” he says.