Sydney commuters are facing chaos during peak hours as bus drivers and rail workers go on strike over a bitter wage dispute.
Drivers on some 60 Sydney bus routes will be laid off Monday amid escalating wage disputes.
The recently privatized bus drivers of Zone 6, in the inner west of the city, will take industrial action from 8 a.m. on Monday, which could lead to chaos during peak hours.
In a statement, Union NSW secretary Mark Morey said drivers were “disappointed by the failure of the transit system to ensure that all workers receive equal pay for the same work”.
He warned that the wage dispute will also lead to the removal of railway employees and teachers from the job from Tuesday.
“Today the bus drivers who go out of work to serve the public have spent the last year exposing themselves to Covid-19, as have railway workers and teachers,” he said.
“Now as inflation is rampant, they are being rewarded with pay cuts and increased workload.
“The state government claims to care about the economy more than the budget, yet it continues to scramble over wage hike.
“The Reserve Bank has called for a pay hike of three per cent, yet the government of NSW, the country’s biggest employer, will not let the kites out of their wallets.”
Mr Morey also asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison to act if the wage dispute could not be resolved.
“These workers are angry, and with good reason,” he said.
“Government miser is bleeding private sector, withholding wages for all.
“If Matt Keane and Dom Perrot can’t see economic sense, maybe the prime minister needs to pick up the phone and pull them over the line.”
Transport for NSW said it was aware of the industrial action and warned there would be disruptions, but said Inner West Light Rail replacement bus services would not be affected.
“We understand this is a frustrating situation for our customers, and we are doing everything we can to minimize disruption during this time,” a spokesperson said.
“Transport for NSW is a priority to ensure that the impact on our customers from any industrial action is minimal.
“The proposed enterprise agreement is negotiated between Transit Systems and its employees.”