TWU

Bus Drivers March Through Brisbane For Safer Conditions

Release date: 29/09/2016

Brisbane Times, by Cameron Atfield, 29 September 2016
 
Angry bus drivers took to the streets of Brisbane's CBD on Thursday to demand more protection from violent commuters.

Transport Workers Union organisers estimated about 150 workers were involved in the march from the Sofitel Hotel to Translink's headquarters in Mary Street to deliver a petition signed by about 10,000 commuters.


Transport Workers' Union bus drivers protest in the Brisbane CBD over safety concerns. Photo: Supplied
 
TWU Queensland secretary Peter Biagini said they marched on Thursday to demand better protection for bus drivers in their workplace.
 
The workers were demanding Translink fund more security for bus drivers on vehicles across the network, rather than passing those costs on to the individual operators.


The protest made its way to Translink's Mary Street headquarters. Photo: Supplied
 
"One assault on a bus driver is one too many," Mr Biagini said.
 
"Translink have said that they are listening, but they said that last time we marched and nothing's happened since then.
 
"We look forward to Translink responding to the public concern about the safety of bus drivers.
 
"Having over 10,000 signatures from the public, we know that the public is behind this campaign - and now Translink needs to step up."
 
The drivers represented by the TWU worked on private bus operators across south-east Queensland, which formed part of the Translink network.


Bus drivers have demanded safer working conditions. Photo: Supplied
 
While the TWU did not cover Brisbane City Council bus drivers, who were represented by the Rail Bus and Tram Union, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said he had sympathy for the TWU's position.
 
"We're up for any discussion around that and anything we can do to improve the situation," he said.
 
"Bus drivers are in a very difficult position. They've got to deal with all sorts of members of the public, not all of whom are friendly towards them.
 
"There are situations of hostility and I accept that they have a difficult job on occasions out there."
 
Cr Quirk said the council was doing its bit to improve the safety of its drivers.
 
"We've had a program of building CCTV cameras within our bus system and we have over 90 per cent coverage now in terms of our bus fleet," he said.
 
"That's been growing each year over the last few years since we started it.
 
"It was a program that was opposed by the bus union initially – they were worried about privacy for bus drivers – but I think they've now well and truly come along that journey and they are very accepting and very supportive of what we're doing."
 
But the Lord Mayor said there was a limit to what could be done.
 
"You couldn't have additional personnel on every single bus, that would be I think over the top," Cr Quirk said.
 
"But, in terms of a general discussion around safety, if there are some pragmatic ways in which those things can be improved, we're always up for a discussion about it."
 
Comment has been sought from Translink.
 

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