Bus drivers go on snap strike

Posted: October 29, 2011 in Transport

Bus drivers from Sydney Buses went on a snap strike on 18 October for a few hours during the afternoon peak due to safety concerns raised by the Rail, Bus and Tram Union. The union, having become aware of a video posted to YouTube which shows one of the Sydney Buses fleet’s natural gas powered vehicles catching fire and then the gas tank exploding (after the vehicle was stopped and emptied, ensuring no one was injured), called on its drivers to refuse to drive any natural gas buses until safety concerns were dealt with. The strike was called off later that evening after the industrial relations commission ordered drivers back to work.

The union claims that the buses were unsafe to drive and that Sydney Buses were not putting the safety of its staff and passengers first, having failed to put sufficient safeguards in place. Sydney Buses, and the government, counter claimed that the matter was being investigated and that all Mercedes OC500LE buses (the model involved in the incident) had been deemed safe to operate after inspections by STA and manufacturer mechanics and that additional weekly checks had been in place since the event. They also point out that despite both the initial event occurring in and the video was uploaded in July, the union did not call the work ban until October, on the day after pay negotiations broke down.

Warren Brown

Cartoonist Warren Brown's take on the exploding bus incident. (Source: Daily Telegraph)

The resulting strike, which came without notice and included school buses (leaving school kids stranded) leaves me siding with the government on this occasion.


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