The Guardian November 29, 2000


Win for Adelaide bus drivers

Justice Mansfield in the Federal Court in Adelaide last week ruled that 
290 bus drivers whose jobs were transferred to the private sector operator 
Torrens Transit from TransAdelaide in April this year, are entitled to be 
paid under the provisions of their enterprise agreements at 
TransAdelaide.

The bus drivers, at the Port Adelaide and Mile End Depots, were forced to sign Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs  individual non-union 
contracts) to retain their jobs at Torrens Transport.

Under the AWAs they were paid a lower all-in rate of $15.11 per hour for 
doing the same job.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the Transport Workers' Union took 
out the "transmission of business" case in the Federal Court to protect the 
workers' pay and conditions.

"Before the contracting out took place the RTBU had warned South Australian 
Transport Minister Diana Laidlaw that her tendering documents (for the new 
operator) were likely to be outside Peter Reith's Workplace Relations Act", 
said RTBU National Secretary, Roger Jowett.

"Governments can no longer contract out or outsource in order to undermine 
workers' pay and conditions and their right to effective union membership."

The workers had campaigned strongly against the plans to privatise 
TransAdelaide and the union says the Court's decisions now vindicates their 
stand.The union also called on Laidlaw to resign.

Justice Mansfield gave Torrens and the two unions until February 2 next 
year to negotiate over the consequences of his ruling.

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