Sydney bus drivers are threatening to strike unless masks are made compulsory for passengers on crowded buses and social distancing on public transport is strictly enforced.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union New South Wales has written to the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, giving notice of a 48-hour work stoppage next week unless the government enforces health and safety guidelines to keep commuters and transport workers safe.
RTBU tram and bus division secretary David Babineau said since the Covid-19 outbreak the state government had refused to meet with the union to “meaningfully” address bus drivers’ concerns.
“Bus drivers have been fronting up to work every day during this pandemic, despite great personal risk to themselves and their families, to keep our state moving,” he said on Tuesday.
“We’re calling on the Berejiklian government to put the needs and safety of the travelling public first.
“We need a clear protocol for enforcing safe travelling guidelines that includes compulsory mask-wearing by passengers when there are more passengers than green dots on buses and trams, providing clarity around the enforcement of physical distancing on transport and ditching privatisation plans until this crisis is over.”
The strike is planned for Monday and will affect bus operations in Regions 7, 8 and 9, covering north-west Sydney, the north shore, northern beaches and eastern suburbs.