industrial relations

No dunny, no electricity, no good: Fair Work Ombudsman cracks down on bus company’s Spartan depot

Engel Schmidl /

A NSW bus company that failed to provide a toilet in its depot has been forced to formally apologise to the driver who made the complaint and has been issued with an enforceable undertaking by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

An investigation by the Ombudsman found the depot in the northern NSW town of Eureka comprised a large shed on a farm and was not equipped with basic amenities such as electricity, a toilet, hot or cold water for washing, a change room or lockers.

After complaining last year to Buslines Group management about the lack of amenities the driver was re-assigned to a different route and depot. His hours were then reduced, resulting in a pay cut of $176 a week.

When the driver expressed concern about a decrease in his pay, he was assigned additional hours to clean buses.

Buslines Group operates services throughout regional NSW, including the Northern Rivers Buslines which services much of northern NSW.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has determined the lack of amenities at the company’s Eureka depot breached the Northern Rivers Buslines enterprise agreement, which stated basic facilities had to be provided for staff at all depots.

The driver took his complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman, which apprised the Buslines Group of its obligations under workplace laws and its enterprise agreement.

As an alternative to litigation over its actions against the driver, the company has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Buslines Group must:

  • Pay the driver $2,662 compensation for economic loss suffered
  • Formally apologise to the driver in writing
  • Develop processes for ensuring future compliance with workplace laws
  • Conduct a self-audit of all of its depots to ensure they have the basic amenities and provide evidence of the audits to the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • Arrange professional workplace relations training for the manager and operations manager of Northern Rivers Buslines, and
  • Publish a public notice detailing its breaches of workplace laws in the Northern Rivers Echo newspaper and at all Northern Rivers Buslines premises.

Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson says that in cases of significant non-compliance, Enforceable Undertakings are being used as an effective alternative to litigation.

“They are an important part of our agency’s commitment to drive future compliance and help us remain confident we are upholding the provisions of the Fair Work Act,” he said.

SmartCompany contacted Buslines, however nobody was available to comment.

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