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ACTION’s soiled bus drivers need your help

By phage 19 May 2010 114

ACTION bus

Greetings Rioters,

A good friend and ACTION bus driver just sent this through to me. If you are able to help by collecting passanger signatures please contact Dan or attend the meeting this Sunday. If you are approached to give your signature please do so in support of your local drivers.

Thanks! 

Dearest Rads,
From monday 24th of may ACTION bus drivers in canberra are launching a 7 day fare strike.  We are being asked to accept a raft of changes that include a payrise lower than inflation (a pay cut).

A complicated set of changes to our part time to fulltime ratio that mean drivers will be precariously employed for longer and be exposed to highly variable hours from 4 to 10 hours week to week to budget around.  And that we be forced to work weekend shifts without penalty.

The latest network we are operating sees the average service run for 90 mintutes with an average turnaround time at 5 minutes.

Thats five minutes to unload, secure the bus, use the bathroom, check for lost property, pull up on platform load passengers and depart for another 90 minute run.  When you put a human into this
formula you have unsafe and undignified work practices, national driving guidelines require 10 minutes break from the wheel every two hours for safety, especially important for us who carry precious cargo.  Dignity requires drivers be allowed to use the toilet, time pressures on drivers have resulted in many drivers soiling themselves on the job, mostly unreported for obvious reasons.

Our demands are modest but our resolve is not.  We demand that our annual pay rise remain at 4% over the next three years. That ACTION make our shifts conform to national driving standards, a 10 minute break every 2 hours of driving.  Finally that our hard fought conditions of employ are carried over unaltered.

At moments when workers strike politics become very simple.  You can suck the bosses scaly iguana on the sidelines by doing nothing, you can act the spineless scumbag scab or act in solidarity with your fellow workers.  I call a WSN meeting in canberra at the phoenix pub at 1pm on sunday the day before we kick our strike off.

Proposed and will be organised prior are a petition and a contact list for a protest action in support of our campaign for members to ride on buses to collect names and details of passengers throughout the 7 days.  Availability in peak mornings are desirable to join a driver on shift, please feel free to contact me during the week through this channel if your keen or have questions, suggestions.  Which side are you on? A working class hero is something to be.

Warmest Solidarity,

DAN SMASH

PS.  If you aren’t a canberra resident or are housebound please send hatemail/abuse in support of the strikers to the following places.

— the chief minister jon stanhope
Phone: (02) 6205 0104
Fax: (02) 6205 0433
Email:stanhope@act.gov.au

— Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS)
Postal Address         
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601
Online Contact link from
 http://www.tams.act.gov.au/functions/contact_us
Contact Numbers
Phone (24hrs)   13 22 81 (ACT and NSW residents only)
Phone (24hrs)   (02) 6207 5111 (For callers outside NSW/ACT)
Phone (TTY)     (02) 6207 0494
Phone (TIS)     13 14 50

— ACTION buses
By email:
action@act.gov.au
By telephone:
Call 13 17 10 or (02) 6207 7611 outside the ACT.
Hours of Operation:
7am to 8pm Monday to Friday
8am to 8pm Saturday
9am to 5pm Sunday and Public Holidays
9am to 1pm Christmas Day
By Post:
GPO Box 158
Canberra City ACT 2601
Australia

PPS.  please forward to anyone worth a squirt of piss.

What’s Your opinion?


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114 Responses to
ACTION’s soiled bus drivers need your help
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bigcohuna1 9:50 pm 01 Jun 10

I get $19/hr and I sure dont need to take a leak every 90 minutes (sure folks say I’m full-o-crap but I can go at least 10hrs without needing to go if needs be)and I have much more responsibility over people than a bus driver ever will.

If you don’t believe me come see me and I’ll put you straight.

justin heywood 7:01 am 28 May 10

Snap CK.

Clown Killer 10:49 pm 27 May 10

Well when I was a young one, we’d be grateful for a 48 hour shift we would. Meant we didn’t have to go home to our hole in the road and lick coal briquettes clean with ou’ tongues just to earn the money for an empty kipper tin for our supper … 48 hour shifts … luxury!

justin heywood 10:41 pm 27 May 10

BigDave said :

Mate, don’t tell me about shifts…. We’d work 48 hour shifts, without a break, over a whole weekend….

48 hour shifts? Looxury. I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing “Hallelujah.” *

*(Monty Python, Four Yorkshiremen)

BigDave 9:18 pm 27 May 10

Mate, don’t tell me about shifts. I worked in Ireland for a stint a few years ago doing shopfits. We’d work 48 hour shifts, without a break, over a whole weekend because they wanted to open on Monday morning. We’d be leaving at 9am just as they opened up. 24hrs? What’s that? LMAO!

vg 9:05 am 27 May 10

BigDave said :

Yeah vg, it’s just driving a bus FFS! There’s absolutely nothing else involved of course!
In that case, reckon you could go to the depot first thing in the morning and be off and running by 6am? Ever done the job? It’s that easy so you should be able to.
Your post shows exactly the extent of your knowledge here.
Once again, people commenting who know nothing about the subject they claim to know so much about.

Dear Naive

I have worked 24/7 shiftwork in this town for 20 years. Up and running by 6am? Try finishing a 12hr shift at 6am.

Do I whinge about it? When you can say that you have been at work every second of a 24hr day give me a tinkle.

TheDogz 12:41 am 27 May 10

If you’re referring to the letter at the head of this post, that’s not from the Union. I reckon that’s just a driver who was probably larking about with some colleagues and most likely never intended it to appear here. I wouldn’t take too much notice of it, it isn’t official.
The industrial action has not gone ahead. Action wanted to take upto 67% from our pay so the Union took it to Fair Work Australia on Monday afternoon to see if they could do that. Apparently, a decision couldn’t be made there and then as they’d never seen a case like this before so they are having time to think it over. This could go on for months maybe, who knows?
For the record, I don’t believe I am underpaid but I don’t think I’m overpaid either. It’s worth noting that, from what I’ve been told, Sydney and Melbourne drivers get more than we do after penalties.
Please do not pay any attention to misleading articles in The Canberra Times. Why is it that you never hear about us until we are in a negotiating period with our EBA that has got to a sticky point? This is just the ACT government releasing bad press, however untrue, with the intention of creating a public backlash against us and making them look like the good guys in the process. It’s just the media games they play and should be treated as such.
I am probably what you might call a “rookie” driver and I can assure you I am on nowhere near a basic wage of $59,000 per year. How can that be correct when you are employed as only part-time for at least the first two years? It doesn’t add up.
For me, I am happy with what I earn. I’d also be happy to waive a pay rise for the next three years in exchange for a few improved conditions to make our days a little bit easier.
When all is said and done though, the public service looks like they are getting a 2.5% pay rise so I guess it’s probably only fair that we get something similar. I don’t think that’s being particularly greedy by any stretch.
Just you watch, when this is done and dusted and they think nobody is looking, the pollies will quietly award themselves a 5% pay rise on their already huge salaries just like they did the last time we had this fight. I wonder how many of us think they are worth that?

Take it easy!

georgesgenitals 8:22 am 26 May 10

TheDogz said :

georgesgenitals

Yes, I agree with you. The initial training period for a bus driver is relatively short. But, the real training begins when you get out on the road on your own. NOTHING can prepare you for that.
I’ve done it for a couple of years now and I still get butterflies in my stomach before I start a run. Not knowing what’s going to happen next. Every day and every run is different. Sounds funny I know.
Trying to read directions of unfamiliar routes in unfamiliar areas in the dark in a bus with 20 odd pairs of eyes staring at you in the mirror is pretty daunting on times. Some people can be quite scary too and it’s not like you can walk away from them.
62 point turns in some back road because I took the wrong turn. All brown trouser moments, you will agree!
Lazy I, you are near enough correct. Believe me though, the training is the easy part and in no way reflects or prepares you for what you will encounter once out there fending for yourself. That’s the taxing part and it’s ongoing.

That’s fair enough, and I completely agree that getting out and getting experience is what it’s all about. And as I’ve repeated several times, I don’t think it’s an easy job. That said, as you pointed out the training to get the job in the first place is not a lot. There are lots of jobs that require substantial experience to become good – this sounds no different to me.

I still don’t agree with the union email. Did the industrial action actually go ahead?

TheDogz 11:53 pm 25 May 10

georgesgenitals

Yes, I agree with you. The initial training period for a bus driver is relatively short. But, the real training begins when you get out on the road on your own. NOTHING can prepare you for that.
I’ve done it for a couple of years now and I still get butterflies in my stomach before I start a run. Not knowing what’s going to happen next. Every day and every run is different. Sounds funny I know.
Trying to read directions of unfamiliar routes in unfamiliar areas in the dark in a bus with 20 odd pairs of eyes staring at you in the mirror is pretty daunting on times. Some people can be quite scary too and it’s not like you can walk away from them.
62 point turns in some back road because I took the wrong turn. All brown trouser moments, you will agree!
Lazy I, you are near enough correct. Believe me though, the training is the easy part and in no way reflects or prepares you for what you will encounter once out there fending for yourself. That’s the taxing part and it’s ongoing.

Lazy I 12:54 pm 25 May 10

For those interested in what is required to be a bus driver:

Basically you need to do the HR licence
http://www.heavyvehicletraining.com.au/heavy_rigid.html

Then sit a 3-4 hour 1 on 1 course (may be slightly different for ACT, I remember it being called Omnibus endorsement for some reason).
http://www.heavyvehicletraining.com.au/bus_auth.html

Having done most of the HR licence as a hobby, I didn’t find it terribly taxing, and the Bus Driver authority course/test is all written.

Should probably give a plug to Don from the above driving school too, he was a good instructor.

georgesgenitals 11:20 am 25 May 10

Deadmandrinking said :

georgesgenitals said :

Deadmandrinking said :

If it’s such an easy job, George, why don’t you quit your laborious public service/riot-act /solitaire gig, then?

See? It’s easy to call other people’s jobs easy. Especially when you don’t do them.

I’m not public service – I work in a job that takes years of formal trainng, then years more experience to become good at. And I earn several times the basic driver salary.

FWIW, I reckon I could learn to drive a bus. Like I said before, I have never claimed driving a bus is easy – I said it’s something lots of people could learn to do. DMD, do you seriously think that only a few people could learn to drive a bus, and hold down a job as a bus driver? Why or why not?

I never said ‘only a few people’. It is a skill, it takes time to get good at. You have responsibility for passengers. You invest that time in training, you should get paid a reasonable amount.

Just like I never said it was ‘easy’. And my point, specifically, is that the amount of training required to be a bus driver is small when compared to lots of other professions.

“It is a skill, it takes time to get good at.” True, but the time taken to acquire the skill, if you can already drive, is not large. To become an entry level bus driver takes nothing like the training needed for the professions listed as examples by other posted (eg teachers, child care workers, police). Many common professions require far more training.

Let’s not let this degenerate into an argument that ‘everyone should get more’, because that’s a whole different story. Relative to other jobs and professions, I don’t think bus drivers are underpaid.

So back to my question to you: DMD, do you seriously think that only a few people could learn to drive a bus, and hold down a job as a bus driver? Why or why not?

Deadmandrinking 10:00 am 25 May 10

georgesgenitals said :

Deadmandrinking said :

If it’s such an easy job, George, why don’t you quit your laborious public service/riot-act /solitaire gig, then?

See? It’s easy to call other people’s jobs easy. Especially when you don’t do them.

I’m not public service – I work in a job that takes years of formal trainng, then years more experience to become good at. And I earn several times the basic driver salary.

FWIW, I reckon I could learn to drive a bus. Like I said before, I have never claimed driving a bus is easy – I said it’s something lots of people could learn to do. DMD, do you seriously think that only a few people could learn to drive a bus, and hold down a job as a bus driver? Why or why not?

I never said ‘only a few people’. It is a skill, it takes time to get good at. You have responsibility for passengers. You invest that time in training, you should get paid a reasonable amount.

buzz819 9:57 am 25 May 10

BigDave said :

Yeah vg, it’s just driving a bus FFS! There’s absolutely nothing else involved of course!
In that case, reckon you could go to the depot first thing in the morning and be off and running by 6am? Ever done the job? It’s that easy so you should be able to.
Your post shows exactly the extent of your knowledge here.
Once again, people commenting who know nothing about the subject they claim to know so much about.

Not 6am? Noooooo… What time is that finish, 4pm?

Why would he want to do that, I’m sure he is more than happy in the job he is in, shift work is a lot harder than a 6am start…

And yes all it is is driving a bus? The job description is the same as the title…

hellspice 9:48 am 25 May 10

BigDave said :

Yeah vg, it’s just driving a bus FFS! There’s absolutely nothing else involved of course!
In that case, reckon you could go to the depot first thing in the morning and be off and running by 6am? Ever done the job? It’s that easy so you should be able to.
Your post shows exactly the extent of your knowledge here.
Once again, people commenting who know nothing about the subject they claim to know so much about.

what does happen ? what is a typical day in the life of a bus driver ?

6

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