July 17th, 2006 at 07:36am
A few weeks ago I brought you the story of proposed changes and slashes to ACTION bus services and staff. I had planned to bring you an update sooner, but information coming from inside ACTION was unusually quiet following the stopwork meeting on Friday July 7.
Thankfully the noise levels have returned to something near normal since then, and I have more information for you.
The TWU has been providing the same public statement every time they’ve been questioned since the stopwork meeting, basically they are saying they will not accept the proposed reversal of the full-time/part-time driver ratio, they will not accept cuts to services, and they will not accept cuts to pay or job security. Effectively, they reject the proposal in its entirety.
Anybody with a tiny bit of common sense when it comes to negotiations would know that this is a silly and implausible position…if you’re not willing to give a little bit then you won’t receive anything. Thankfully my sources within ACTION are all saying that the TWU’s public position does not reflect their true position, my sources tell me that the TWU plans on accepting the removal of supervisors at interchanges, in exchange for (mostly) not losing drivers and services.
Here is what I said about the proposal to remove supervisors from interchanges in the article linked above.
ACTION also plan to get rid of supervisors at interchanges, effectively meaning that drivers with faulty ticket machines will not be able to get a replacement at the next interchange and will instead lose revenue by being forced to give customers a free ride all day. A lack of supervisors also means ad-hoc cleaning services (people do occasionally become sick on busses…and you can’t expect people to use a bus which contains the end result and stench of such a thing) and various other essential services will disappear. This probably also means there will be less people on hand to assist confused passengers.
I have discussed this at length with a few drivers and I have learnt a thing or two about ACTION supervisors. Once upon a time ACTION supervisors would monitor the busses as they entered and exited the interchanges, keeping track of whether the busses were on time or not. Recently, the onboard ticket machines have taken over this role. Devices have been placed in the ground at interchanges which identify the interchange and bay number, and the onboard ticket machines record arrival and departure times on a cartridge, which is later analysed by a computer at head office.
This has relegated supervisors to the roles of customer service and general ad-hoc maintenance arrangers. Technically these combined roles could still be called “supervisor”, but in reality they would be better classified as some kind of admin person, ACTION insiders are indicating that superviosr numbers are in surplus of requirements, some will be axed, whilst the others will be redesignated as admin officers.
It looks like the TWU will agree to that, as long as no drivers are forced to retire or move to part-time shifts, and services during the middle of the day and weekends are not severely affected. This appears to be workable considering that ACTION plan on reducing driver numbers from 810 to 796. It does appear that the proposed reversal of the full-time/part-time ratio was a bargining chip from the department of Territory and Municipal Services.
At this stage there doesn’t appear to be any conclusive information about weekend and night services, but I will let you know when there is.