Council Says Some Brissy Bus Drivers Earn Tidy Six Figure Sum

Union Says Figure Fictitious

Council Says Some Brissy Bus Drivers Earn Tidy Six Figure Sum

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With some Brisbane bus drivers reportedly earning a tidy six figure sum, it makes you wonder why they're still striking over pay.

With an average income of over $68,000 a year, the Brisbane Times reports they're actually the second highest paid in that profession in Australia.

They also reportedly earn more than the average coach and cab driver, but less than tram operators.

In response to Council remarks regarding the incomes of bus drivers, Tom Brown from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said "for someone like the Deputy Mayor to be almost comically out of touch is no joke".

"While he slanders bus drivers for wanting a safer workplace, it just shows that he will say or do anything to avoid making a fair agreement with his staff.

"The figures that he's showing, I would call them know we talked about the average $68,000 or $34.61 an hour for a Brisbane City Council bus driver, it's almost $10 an hour above the starting point for bus drivers.

Mr Brown said the starting point is close to "$23 an takes about nine years to get to the top of level of $27 an hour and it takes a long time".

He said the figure of $68,000 would have to factor in a lot of overtime and weekend work.

He also disagrees with claims that the bus driver strikes will end up costing Brisbane City Council big time.

He said "I don't think it's gonna cost council a great deal, in the fact that most commuters have already paid for their Go Cards so the money is with Translink and it's just gonna take them an extra few days to max out those cards".

Mr Brown also said they've got "85 to 90 per cent of bus drivers in the union and 99 per cent of them participating", so he didn't think there'd be much of a chance that any commuters would have to pay.

He stopped short of describing their negotiations as being at a "standstill" choosing instead to say talks are "creeping along".

Mr Brown added that rates go up every year and Council is never to blame.

Nevertheless they're refusing to accept fares or wear uniforms on Thursday and Friday in their fight to get an extra 3.5 per cent over three years. Union members also want improved security measures.

Brisbane City Council is only offering 2.5 per cent and despite several meetings between both parties, the standoff continues.

Deputy Mayor Adrian Schrinner responded to the ongoing dispute saying 2.5 per cent is above inflation and cost of living increases.

A union delegate, who didn't want to be identified said the focus is firmly on "our safety, it's about our rostering, it is about our pay because that is part of the EBA".

On a positive note, he said "we are making progress on a lot of things, it's just a little bit disheartening when you get told by other drivers that we're earning $68,000 average...nobody's said the hours we have to work for that because I can tell you straight that after nine years of going through the pay scales, the current top rate is $27.12 an hour".

"If you multiply that by 38 and then 32 and you come up with $68,000 or $60,000 or anything close to that, then let me use your accountant for my tax" he said.

The delegate went on to say that the only way he could earn around $68,000 would be to work a minimum "48 hours week, what we call a broken week".

He said they do work overtime, "buses have to drive and if we all just worked 38 hours a week there'd be a lot of people not getting buses home".

The delegate also said that what can end up happening is "the drivers start to spend most of their life at the depot chasing every bit of overtime they can, working six days a week, thank God the law doesn't allow us to work seven days but that's six days a week and that includes weekend penalties".

Brisbane City Council has been contacted for comment.