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Issue #1486      26 January 2011

Sunbus offer – 20 cents a year

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has confirmed Townsville bus drivers will hang up their keys again to protest a proposed pay increase of 20c a year. The TWU said yesterday it had filed two applications with Fair Work Australia seeking bargaining orders against Transit Australia Group (TAG), parent company for Sunbus.

The action follows a 48-hour strike in Townsville over the new year after ongoing negotiations over the drivers’ new enterprise agreements soured.

Union secretary Peter Biagini said the company’s proposal of 20c a year over five years was “scandalous”.

He said the applications to Fair Work Australia related to enterprise agreements for drivers in Townsville and the Sunshine Coast.

“One working day after our drivers exercised maximum goodwill by voting to place a moratorium on protected industrial action, TAG broke off negotiations,” Mr Biagini said. “I have never experienced such wilful duplicity from a company.”

Mr Biagini claimed the company had failed to meet good-faith bargaining obligations, withholding financial information and refusing written requests for further meetings.

Mr Biagini said an offer of $1 over five years was an “outrageous insult”.

“If TAG says it can’t afford to pay the drivers a fair wage, we say prove it,” he said.

“It has done nothing in that regard, and its behaviour, in failing to negotiate fairly, is actively sabotaging a resolution of this dispute.”

Mr Biagini said the Fair Work Act 2009 imposed good-faith bargaining obligations, including a commitment to attend and take part in meetings at reasonable times.

A hearing date for the union’s applications has yet to be determined.  

Next article – MUA welcomes court ruling against Patrick

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