Sydney commuters are facing a chaotic day today after around 1,200 bus drivers walked off the job at midnight.
ABC News reports that although a late-night ruling by the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) found their actions illegal, the drivers went on strike anyway.
The drivers are protesting against NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s planned privatisation of services, primarily in Sydney’s inner west. They failed to show up for work at depots in Sydney’s west and south early this morning.
The 24-hour strike will impact four depots in the areas slated to be privatised: Leichhardt, Burwood, Kingsgrove and Tempe and all the school buses in Southern Sydney and the inner west.
— Mark Reddie (@ReddieNews) May 17, 2017
ABC News has provided a full list of the routes affected and modified services.
401, 406, 407, 408, 412, 413, 415, 418, 422, 423, 425, 426, 428, 430, 431, 433, 436, 437, 438, 439
441, 442, 444, 445, 460, 461, 462, 463, 464, 466, 470, 473, 476, 477, 478, 479, 480, 483, 487, 490
491, 492, 493, 495, 502, 504, 508, 526, L23, L28, L37, L38, L39, M20, M30, M41, X04, X25
The following services will be available along Parramatta Road in the peak period between 6.00am and 10.00am and 3.00pm and 7.00pm
438 – Five Dock to Railway Square
461 – Burwood Depot to Railway Square
The strike won’t just affect those using public transportation.
Sydney is well-known for having traffic problems and traffic will get heavier today as commuters opt to drive and students who usually bus are driven to school by their parents.
Every man and his dog are driving to work today. Thanks Sydney buses #sydneybusstrike
— Carla Hackett (@canarycarla) December 17, 2009
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Chris Preston, the head of the bus division of the Rail, Tram & Bus Union (RTBU) said the IRC’s order came in too late for drivers to respond.
“They would tell me to get nicked,” Mr Preston said, candidly referring to how the drivers would respond if asked to work at such late notice.
Transport Minister Constance hit back, calling the union’s excuse to not contact drivers “lame”. He added that the buses in Sydney’s inner west had been failing to leave depots on time and that it was time for private operators to have a go.
For the latest updates, follow @BusesInfo, Transport for NSW official Twitter account.