Leaders and activists at the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) have started a campaign to keep public transport in South Australia in public hands.
The state government is looking for offers from the private sector to take over operation of the passenger rail and tram network in Adelaide.
RTBU South Australian branch secretary Darren Phillips said: “South Australia’s rail and tram services belong to the people, no one else.
“The only reason a private company would want to run a train or tram service is to make money out of it, at the expense of both taxpayers and travellers.
“In Victoria, the private operators of the train and tram networks drained AUD350 million in profits from that state’s public transport system in just seven years. Mass transit services should be run by the people, for the people – not for the profits of overseas companies and their shareholders.”
Unions involved in the ITF #OurPublicTransport programme that have had experience of privatisation have already written letters of solidarity to the RTBU.
We know well that privatisation means reduction of rights for workers and cuts in services for the public.
“For this reason we have fought for two decades against privatisation and outsourcing of our train and metro services in South Korea”, wrote Junsik Choi and Sangsu Jo in a letter from the Korean Public Services and Transportation Workers' Union (KPTU).
Furthermore, Wayne Butson, RMTU New Zealand, wrote: “"The RMTU has experienced privatisation so can speak from true experience. As you may recall the entire railway in New Zealand, including the metro rail services in Wellington and Auckland, was privatised in 1993. ... The NZ Rail privatisation is universally believed to have been a disaster."
John Mark Mwanika, chair of ITF urban transport steering committee, said: “We are in a climate emergency! Governments need to expand and improve public transport and create millions of new and decent jobs. We must stop the flogging off of our public transport and services to private companies.”
You can follow updates from the campaign on social media by searching #OurPublicTransport and view the campaign website.