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Major bus driver strike to cause traffic chaos in SEQ

RTBU spokesman Tom Brown, who described the strike as “low impact”, said about 200 drivers from the 2000-strong workforce were expected to take part.
RTBU spokesman Tom Brown, who described the strike as “low impact”, said about 200 drivers from the 2000-strong workforce were expected to take part. Patria Jannides

ABOUT 35,000 bus commuters and students can expect "major" delays on Tuesday and Wednesday morning as Brisbane City Council bus drivers strike.

Public and Active Transport chairman Adrian Schrinner said the strike would leave 5000 primary and high school students without school bus services in "direct contravention" of TransLink's No Child Left Behind policy.

"Council is extremely concerned about the possible risk to student safety," he said.

Cr Schrinner said the strike would affect about 35,000 commuters. He said the council would offer additional ferry and CityCat services and advised passengers to make use of rail, ferry or private transport.

"That'll obviously come at a cost to council but we want to do everything possible to try and accommodate people," Cr Schrinner said.

"Ultimately this action is going to leave a lot of commuters without options, or with limited options."

RTBU spokesman Tom Brown, who described the strike as "low impact", said about 200 drivers from the 2000-strong workforce were expected to take part.

"We've structured this so most services will run," Mr Brown said.

"It'll be over by 6.30am."

Mr Brown said the strike was to bring the council back to the table to discuss pay, conditions and safety.

He said although the council was beginning to listen on safety concerns due to community pressure, other claims like rostering were being ignored.

"Drivers wanting to spend quality time with their families, that's a big thing for us," he said.

He said the council had agreed to implement a rostering code of practice but that was abandoned and alternative plans for a rostering committee was also pulled as it neared completion.

Cr Schrinner said despite the disruption council would "not cede operational control of bus driver rostering to the union".

"We've all seen how this has worked for Queensland Rail and the impacts on commuters."

He said the council announced on Monday it would double council-funded security guards across the network and survey drivers to determine if they want protective screens.

He said there was a "generous" pay offer on the table, with a 2.5 per cent pay rise, back-pay and a signing bonus of $400.

"It is extremely disappointing that the RTBU would choose to proceed with its disruptive action, risking chaos across Brisbane's transport network, despite Council's willingness to work with drivers on concerns about safety and pay," he said.

Mr Brown said bus drivers did not want to take this action.

"We've got it at a time that would have minimum impact, and spread it over two days to have even less of an impact," he said.

"We feel we have to take this action otherwise we won't get anywhere."

Mr Brown, who said he was unable to rule out further strikes, said the bolstered security measures were "welcomed by drivers" but were not accepted because they were ­offered only as a temporary commitment.

"Nor does it address our unresolved pay and rostering issues," Mr Brown said.

Queensland Rail confirmed no extra services were planned but BCC has added four additional CityCat services between 5.30am and 8am.

Topics:  bus bus drivers strike traffic unions

News Corp Australia

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