Commuters stranded as bus drivers strike

July 28 2003 - Thousands of commuters in Melbourne's south-east were left stranded today after 60 bus drivers refused to return to work, despite being ordered to do so by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC).

About 200 drivers from Ventura Bus Lines' Knoxfield and Oakleigh depots called a wildcat strike at 4pm on Friday, after a colleague was sacked.

Ventura spokesman Alan Ripper said the drivers had appeared before the AIRC on Saturday morning and the commissioner had ordered them to return to work.

He said all 89 drivers from the Knoxfield depot were back on the job, but most of the Oakleigh depot's 73 buses were still out of action.

"The Knoxfield depot immediately went back, but the Oakleigh depot decided to defy the order and were encouraged to stay out,"Mr Ripper said.

He said the strike was opposed by the Transport Workers Union, which had instructed its members to return to work.

Thousands of commuters, including Monash and Deakin University students, were affected by today's strike.

Routes without a service included Oakleigh to Bentleigh, Middle Brighton to Blackburn, East Clayton to Oakleigh, Oakleigh to Box Hill and Southland to Box Hill.

Mr Ripper said he had brought in more staff to man Ventura's call centres, which were being inundated with calls from inconvenienced public transport users.

He said passengers were being advised of alternative options, such as trains in and out of the city.

Comment was being sought from the Transport Workers Union.


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Commuters stranded as bus drivers strike 

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