Bus drivers to strike across Auckland this week over cuts to overtime
Bus drivers across eight Auckland depots are to take part in rolling strike action set for eight days between the 17th and 27th of April in a push for fairer pay and work conditions from NZ Bus. The company’s attempting to cut overtime in new worker’s contracts.
Union members are warning of transport disruption ahead as drivers at Swanson, Mt Roskill, Onehunga, Orewa, North Shore, Wiri, Panmure and city depots will take lower level industrial action through striking. Members will instead attend union meetings to decide a way forward following recent failed negotiations with the company. It is likely high level industrial action will follow.
Bus driver’s pay packs have borne the brunt of a council tendering process installed by the previous government that incentivises bus companies to cut wages in order to offer the cheapest tender to council contracts for bus routes. Companies are struggling to get bus drivers and as a consequence of supply and demand need to pay employees significantly more to attract and retain drivers.
FIRST Union Organiser Graham McKean says Auckland bus drivers want an alternative to the PTOM, and the issues that it has caused to be settled. For NZ Bus this includes proposing to cut overtime rates for new employees, which will be amongst the topics discussed at the meetings this week.
Mr McKean says it’s unfortunate that the morning strikes may affect commuters, but it’s a last resort.
“We don’t like disrupting services, but we have been in lengthy negotiations with NZ Bus and we simply have no other option so are encouraging commuters to leave home early, or arrange alternative transport.”
The first of eight early morning strikes is on Tuesday 17th, Swanson bus depot, followed by Wednesday the 18th Mt Roskill depot, Thursday the 19th Onehunga depot, Friday 20th Orewa depot, Monday 23rd North Shore depot, Tuesday 24th Wiri depot, Thursday 26th City depot, Friday 27th Panmure depot.