Canberra Labor attacks bus drivers
Here in Canberra we have a scab Labor Government in power with the support of the Greens.
The Stanhope Government organised potential strike breakers and directed departmental staff to supervise students to beat proposed teachers’ bans on national testing. It threatened them with fines under Rudd Labor’s so-called Fair Work Australia laws.
This is the same Labor Government that has offered its own staff pay increases over the next two years that are less than inflation because it ‘can’t afford any more’. That battle continues with public servants gearing up for industrial action to win wage justice.
On top of that the Stanhope Labor Government has frozen public service recruitment for the last 6 months. Yes, the same recruitment freeze Tony Abbott is proposing federally.
Now the Stanhope Labor Government is attacking bus drivers. Again it has offered pay increases below inflation. On top of that it wants to make bus drivers’ employment less secure by increasing the number of part time drivers from 40 percent to 60 percent of the workforce.
If this change goes ahead it will take up to six years to move from part-time to full-time work. As it is it currently takes up to four years.
Drivers want the national standard of ten minutes break every two hours. They currently only get a 5 minute break every three hours (with a 90 minute run before and after the break) with this ‘break’ including the time it takes to unload passengers, check for lost property, change the bus number and load passengers back on.
On top of all these attacks the Stanhope Labor Government wants to force drivers to work weekends without penalty rates applying.
The drivers have demanded a pay rise that is not a wage cut, the national 10 minute break every two hours and the current full time part time ratio to remain .
In support of their claims drivers voted to ban fare collections this week. They estimated that this takes about 5 minutes a day of their time so any fines under Rudd Labor’s so-called Fair Work Australia laws would be minimal.
The Stanhope Labor Government threatened to dock drivers up to 67 per cent of their wages if they did ban collecting fares. The drivers decided to seek a ruling from Fair Work Australia about the likely impact on their wages of any collection bans.
67 percent is only the average amount drivers could be fined, some more, some less. There was a case presented by the TWU to the ‘Fair Work’ commission yesterday in which one of the bus drivers choosing to participate in the fare strike would be fined more than he earns, resulting in his pay slip reading as an IOU to ACTION Buses to carry over to his next pay.
If the threat to dock them their wages becomes a reality the anger among drivers is such that they could strike indefinitely to win their demands.
Other unions and much of the public have swung their support behind the drivers.
But not the Greens. The Greens, without whom Labor could not govern, have been silent about the Labor Government’s range of attacks on its workforce. They have however condemned Tony Abbott’s recruitment freeze but are silent and inactive on the Stanhope Government’s freeze.
They have said nothing about the attacks on Territory public servants or on bus drivers. So much for change.
It is possible they agree with Labor on these attacks, especially on bus drivers . They may well see restructuring the bus service as a way of reducing running costs. Certainly their silence connotes support for Labor’s attacks.
Here in Canberra one of the most left wing Labor Governments has shown its true nature by attacking its workers. That is Labor’s role.
And the Greens? They have traded away principles for power in their support of Labor’s attacks on workers.