NZ Bus and Unions set industry benchmark in Auckland
Public transport operator NZ Bus and Unions representing bus drivers in Auckland have reached agreement on a new two-year contract following seven months’ of negotiations.
The agreement, which will be put to bus drivers early next week for ratification, means planned strikes by bus drivers next week will no longer proceed.
The terms allow for modest wage increases over the next two years and include improvements to working conditions.
Claire Neville, NZ Bus general manager operations, says she is delighted the parties had agreed terms that provided certainty to the company’s Auckland commuters for the next two years and were fair to NZ Bus drivers.
CTU national president Richard Wagstaff says the deal struck with NZ Bus sets a new benchmark in Auckland on wages and work practices for the industry and clearly signals to other transport operators what terms and conditions are now required.
“NZ Bus is a fair employer and although negotiations were protracted and tough, they have been conducted in good faith, allowing us to reach a good agreement for drivers,” Wagstaff says.
NZ Bus is supportive of the Unions’ campaign to achieve an industry-wide wage that represents fair pay for drivers and their complimentary campaign to improve work-time rules to address issues of stress and fatigue among drivers.
FIRST Union and Auckland Tramways spokespeople Phil Morgan and Gary Froggatt say the new agreement represents important progress for the wider push to improve wages and working conditions across the transport industry.
Both were pleased to be able to minimise disruption to the Auckland public, particularly with school holidays ending next week, and delegates will be recommending to their members that the offer is ratified, say Froggatt and Morgan.
Neville says the successful negotiations caps a great month for NZ Bus, which also secured transport contracts in the Bay of Plenty valued at $14.8m and included drivers being paid a living wage.