Metro bus stoppages still on

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 06 Maret 2013 | 19.55

A man waits patiently at a bus stop during last Friday's Metro drivers' strike.

DESPITE "fruitful" talks between Metro management and the bus drivers' union today, stop-work meetings are going ahead tomorrow and Friday.

Passengers should expect some disruption to bus services.

The two sides in the pay dispute met for several hours in Campbell Town today.

Metro Tasmania CEO Heather Haselgrove said she was very pleased with the discussions, although no resolution had been reached. More talks are planned late next week.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union branch secretary Samantha Simonetis said the stop-work meetings tomorrow and Friday were to let members know what had happened at the Campbell Town talks.

Bus drivers would meet tomorrow between 1 and 2pm and no services would be available. Services for one hour on either side of the stoppage (between noon and 3pm) would be disrupted as drivers returned to their depots. Metro advised passengers to make alternative travel arrangements during this time.

Bus drivers on the night shift would meet on Friday between 8 and 10pm and services in Launceston and Hobart would be affected from 6.20 to 11pm.

Planned overtime bans on Saturday had been dropped, meaning all services will operate as usual that day in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart.

When asked if there had been some progress in today's Campbell Town talks, Mrs Simonetis said: "I'd like to think so ... it's a start.

"They [Metro] are going away to crunch some numbers."

The union wanted a 3 per cent pay rise while Metro was offering 2 per cent each year over three years.

Ms Haselgrove said the management and union had "some really good discussions on a range of issues".

"One of the key points in negotiations revolves around what happens in the third year of the new enterprise agreement," she said.

"We are prepared to look at what happens in the third year if inflation rises at a faster rate than expected."

Ms Haselgrove said in return the union was willing to consider greater flexibility in the use of satellite bus yards to make services more efficient.

She rejected union claims that Metro must have some money to spare because its board of directors had received a substantial pay rise. She said that had been determined by an independent assessment of government business enterprises and it was not a Metro decision.

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