Contributed by Ugly
Yesterday, About 600 bus drivers have walked off the job for 24 hours in Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong, disrupting regular services on more than 70 routes.
CDC Victoria workers and members of the Transport Workers Union, walked off the job at midnight. Pickett lines were set up at depots in Wyndham, Oakleigh, Geelong and Ballarat, where the drivers were joined by their families, members of other unions and other supporters.
They are after a 4 percent Wage rise and management is offering only 2.5 percent. According to the union, this stoppage is part of an ongoing campaign, which if need be will involve further stoppages this Friday and \at the beginning of next week.
TWU national vice president John Berger said 95 per cent of members had voted in favour of the strike action, which was the first such action by bus drivers for 20 years.
The reason behind the campaign for a wage increase is that these drivers are the lowest paid in the industry, getting just $26 to $28 an hour. The claim is a benchmark that will be taken over to other companies.
The union has publicly apologised to commuters for the disruption that the industrial action has caused and may cause in the days ahead. Inconvenience has not stopped public sympathy from coming in.
A message from the union stated:
“The buses stopped today because CDC TWU members decided to fight for a fair and reasonable wage rise – a fair share of the fare.
“While the rest of Victoria was sleeping, these staunch members gathered in the freezing cold on picket lines from 4:40am at CDC depots in Wyndham, Oakleigh, Geelong and Ballarat. Many are still out there right now.
“They would rather be working in the comfort of a heated bus or home with their family than out in the elements and inconveniencing some commuters.
“But there comes a time when you have to look after yourself – and these TWU members have drawn a line in the sand.
“The fact they have gathered in great numbers to picket today tells you how serious this issue is, how insulted they were by the company’s latest sub-standard wage offer and how determined they are to dig in. So get behind their fight for the Victorian Bus Industry Agreement…,” and “We must stand together and will show CDC and the rest of the Victorian Bus Industry that you are worth more than the current sub-standard CDC offer.
“And never forget that this is not just a fight between CDC members and the rich multinational, but a fight for the 2018 Bus Industry Agreement.”
Many ordinary people are unhappy about the condition of wages in Australia and don’t think it is fair that the worker is receiving a shrinking share of the income, when senior executives and shareholders are filling their pockets.
There is little doubt that the level of public support ands support from other unions will continue to come in.