NSW PUBLIC TRANSPORT
S.T.A. Privatisation Threat
Coming up in early July is the Carr Govt's review of bus route tenders, for the STA and private companies. Of course the tender review is rigged to favour large private bus companies, particularly West Bus. The transport consultants involved in the process remain underlings of Roger Graham, Chief Dept. of Transport consultant and close chum of Bob Bosanjak of West Bus. Rather than after the Olympics, large sectors or the whole lot of the STA is under threat of privatisation now. Naturally the Govt. will be assisting its business mates to acquire choice/profitable routes prior to the Olympics to harvest fat profits, during the Olympics.
An important new aspect of the acquisition of tenders by private companies, will be that they will have to pay the Govt. large sums for them, upfront. (The large bus companies won't be losing any tenders to the STA, as the Govt. is aware, that due to the indebtedness of these companies to the banks, that their collapse will also destabilise the banks and threaten a major economic/financial crisis.) To make up for their fat fees to the Govt., these companies, following winning their tenders will have to gouge out ever more productivity via an ever more fearsome speedup, longer hours and wage cuts from their workforces.
Important indicators of approaching privatisation of STA routes, will be "secret meetings" being held for drivers on selective rosters (profitable routes) by the bosses to either offer redundancy or employment and much worse conditions with private bus companies. This approach would follow the classic divide and conquer strategy of the bosses. Reports have also been received in recent weeks of greatly increased West Bus activity at the QVB, the major STA bus terminal in Sydney, clearly in line with privatisation moves in July.
Immediate direct action in the form of co-ordinated ,go slows, blockades of key road choke points and rail lines would be most effective tactics in fighting privatisation. Whilst the establishment of antiprivatisation action committees in the depots and their co-ordination between the depots will be of great urgency.
Carr Govt. Slashes Sra Budget!
The influence of the Big Business Oil and Road Lobby on the Carr Govt. was dramatically shown with its recent decision to cut public transport spending by $76 mill. this financial year. In particular the SRA, suffered the deepest funding cutback of any Govt. dept. with a 10% reduction in its day to day budget, ahead of its pre-privatisation restructure into "business entities". Whilst funding for the Road Traffic Authority remains relatively steady.
These cutbacks to public transport are particularly shocking given reportage in the bosses' press of alarmingly high levels of car exhaust pollution in Sydney, undermining the health of many people. Rather than cutting back public transport, it should be an obvious priority to rapidly expand it..This running down of public transport in the interests of private profiteer greed and the latest revelations by ICAC regarding endemic and systematic boss corruption, particularly via the "tender selection" racket, throughout the SRA, indicates the necessity of workers control of public transport and the sacking of the corrupt and incompetent bosses. Under workers control organised by workers assemblies on the station/workshp and depot levels, co-ordinated by strictly mandated delegate committees and conferences, in consultation with community/neighbourhood associations, such an expansion programme in the interests of workers and their families could be realised.