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Unions predict Monday morning bus chaos for Sydney commuters

Premier Dominic Perrottet has rejected union claims that privatisation will spark mass bus cancellations. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

Premier Dominic Perrottet has rejected union claims that privatisation will spark mass bus cancellations. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP

Sydney commuters are being told to “brace for chaos” as unions claim operators will cancel thousands of bus trips across the city from Monday.

Premier Dominic Perrottet has sought to blame the unions despite workers not holding any actions on Monday.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is blaming the privatisation of the state network, leaving the industry struggling to attract and retain drivers.

The cancellations cover regions north, northwest, south and southwest of downtown Sydney, including the Northern Beaches, eastern suburbs and inner west.

Mr Perrottet said the franchising of the city’s buses was working and that previous actions by unions led to the reduced services.

“What we need today is maturity from the union movement,” he said on Sunday.

“Don’t play games and inconvenience the people of NSW.”

Privatisation’s ‘absolute disaster’

RTBU tram and bus division president Peter Grech said the state government’s privatisation of the bus network had been an “absolute disaster”.

“Commuters should brace for chaos at our bus stops from Monday as the NSW government axes thousands of trips in an attempt to deal with the fallout of its bus privatisation,” Mr Grech said.

“We’re already seeing incredibly large queues at bus stops, but that will get much worse on Monday when services are axed, many people return to work and kids return to school.”

While the union is laying the blame at the state government’s feet, they are urging commuters to show respect to drivers.

“Bus drivers understand passengers’ frustration because we’re frustrated too,” Mr Grech said.

“It’s important to remember that it’s not the drivers’ fault that our bus services are being so poorly managed.”

The warning from the union marks another stage in its long running spat with the Perrottet government, which has seen multiple strikes and union actions.

Transport officials forced the city’s train network to shut down in February last year, locking out train drivers in the middle of industrial negotiations with unions.

Transport Minister David Elliott and Transport for NSW have been contacted for comment.

-AAP

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