Newcastle bus drivers take further action in fight for pay rise

As of next week, Newcastle bus passengers will travel at no cost due to the industrial action by drivers.

All ticketing machines and other collections devices will be turned of for an indefinite period.

It’s the latest in a series of action from drivers who within the past month have walked off the job and not worn uniform. 

Keolis Downer has caused ongoing frustration for the Rail Tram and Bus Union members who are seeking a 7 per cent wage increase over a two year period.

Members of the RTBU fear they will be at a loss as inflation rises but their wages fail to.

Tram and Bus Division President Daniel Jaggers says it’s a reasonable request.

“Drivers are growing increasingly frustrated by this back and forth bargaining, with Keolis Downer stubbornly sticking to its initial offer. All we’re asking is for them to come back to the negotiating table with a reasonable offer so members can earn a decent living wage.

“The RTBU has said multiple times now that if Keolis Downer’s claim that they can only pay what the government gives them is true, then Minister David Elliott needs to readjust the private operator contracts to ensure members wages don’t go backwards.

“Drivers deserve to earn a decent living wage so they can live where they work. They didn’t ask for the privatisation of Newcastle’s bus services and shouldn’t be punished by the contracts the operator is held to,” Mr Jaggers said.

The latest action will take place from Tuesday morning. 

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