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News headings from LabourStart

Swan Wants Downgrade of Drivers Conditions

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Swan Transit boss has listed 20 working conditions he wants on the EBA table

Talks have only just got underway at Swan Transit with management adamant they cannot afford any cost increases.

At our first EBA meeting Swan manager Brian Thompson claimed the company’s pay and conditions were superior to his two major competitors

He told the bargaining committee that the Swan agreements were fairly close overall to the Path and Transdev agreements through the 2000’s until 2008.

However during the boom, when the bus firms were struggling to attract sufficient drivers, Swan Transit added 1% to their hourly pay rates and an extra 1% onto Superannuation.

He said Swan had expected their competitors to match their generosity but they didn’t.

Instead drivers from all three firms benefited from an extra three one dollar pay rises that were won by the TWU in a highly successful campaign.

These, together with the continuing twice yearly indexed rises lifted WA bus operator’s drivers to the highest in Australia.

According to Swan this effectively bailed out the other two firms from matching Swans pay rates and superannuation rate which is now at 10.5%. Path and Transdev pay only 9.5%.

Brian Thompson argues this leaves Swan in a very difficult position when it comes to tendering and holding onto contracts.

He is particularly concerned about Path’s greenfields agreement which currently covers drivers at Kalamunda and Welshpool.

The Swan boss has provided the TWU with a list of 20 working conditions in this Path agreement which he claims are inferior to Swan conditions.

Brian has told us he needs to have parity with some of these drivers' conditions for Swan Transit survive tenders.

In other words he wants his drivers to give up some of the conditions.

That – in a nutshell – is making the going tough for the TWU and the 14 bargaining reps at the Swan negotiating table.

And with Path negotiations also underway at Kalamunda and Welshpool the scene is set for a hectic round of negotiations with all the firms.

If drivers’ conditions at Path Transit are as bad as what Brian Thompson says they are we will be chasing many improvements for the Path drivers concerned.

We live in interesting times.