Bus strike in Sydney causes morning chaos for commuters

SYDNEY, May 18 (Xinhua) -- A 24-hour bus strike in Sydney created chaos for commuters, leaving hundreds of thousands stranded on their way to work on Thursday.

More than 1,200 drivers chose to take industrial action after the New South Wales State government announced it would privatise around 200 bus routes in Sydney's inner west Tuesday.

The state's transport minister Andrew Constance said the move would open up the network to "the world's best operators," and save the government money.

Pointing to the fact the service receives 12,000 complaints per year, Constance said "customers have had a gutful and we're taking action."

At 05:00 (AEST) Thursday, the Industrial Relations Commission, a body tasked with ruling on whether the strike was justified, ordered the drivers back to work.

But the Rail Tram and Bus Union decided to ignore the verdict, continuing the action with concerns about job security and the public interest.

One morning traveller told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation "I'm a bit frustrated because I'm going to be late for work. I understand it's all about privatisation, and I don't really agree with that in terms of public transport because it forces prices up and it turns into a competition," she said.

But Constance had little sympathy for those on strike. "The message I would say very clearly to drivers today is 'no work, no pay' and you'll stand condemned if you leave school children on bus stops and commuters left hanging."

[ Editor: Xueying ]


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