Quality Contracts and the effects on bus company employees

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2006 Transport Service Group Conference
15 March 2006

Conference welcomes the involvement of the PTE Sector Committee in the close working relationship with Pteg through the auspices of the Public Transport Forum (PTF). Conference congratulates them on the work they have done in the promotion of quality contracts to ensure that the public will enjoy a bus service that they can be proud of at a price they can afford.

Conference is concerned at the consequences of the introduction of quality contracts for the employees of bus companies. The Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) are not currently able to guarantee their existing terms and conditions of employment (and do not want minimum standards to improve them). Instead, they suggest employment on similar terms to employees currently employed in the local bus industry.

Conference is alarmed by this lack of minimum employment standards required by the PTEs. The PTEs have cited high levels of profit by bus operators as one reason for the introduction of quality contracts. Any reduction in these profits will have a negative effect on the pension funds of the bus companies and thus the provision of pensions of bus company employees (or lack of them). PTEs are also looking to purchase depots from bus companies, where the existing operator is not the successful bidder, so they can lease them to the successful bidders of quality contracts. This will reduce the asset value of bus companies, which could have a detrimental effect on the financial position of bus companies and security of employment for their staff.

Conference notes that after a meeting with representatives of the Transport Service Group the then appropriate minister, Keith Hill, undertook to ensure that any approval for a quality contract would provide for appropriate employment standards and safeguards.

Conference calls on the Transport Service Group Executive to work with the appropriate bodies, including the Department of Transport, to:

1.eliminate the differences of opinion between the PTEs and the bus companies.

2.ensure that bus company employees keep their existing terms and conditions of employment, or improvements are made to create minimum standards, where quality contracts are introduced.

3.ensure that as part of the quality contract, provision is made for bus company employees to have access to a defined benefit pension scheme.

4.continue working through the PTF with Pteg to promote the benefits to the travelling public of an affordable and high quality public transport network.