Waikato Regional Council investigating Living Wage for Bus Drivers
On Friday 18 May FIRST Union delegate Nat Tatana made a deputation to Waikato Regional Council Transport Committee about bus driver wages in the region. During his ten-minute presentation Nat expressed concern about the current wage rates for Bus Drivers, revealing that drivers he knew had been in the position of having to go to food banks due to low wages. Nat said that the company he works for has a start rate of $17.25 per hour.
The Transport Committee received Nat’s emotional deputation positively. Councillor Dave Macpherson expressed sympathy with the drivers. He noted that bus fares are due to be increased, and said he would support this increase only if the increased revenue went directly to ensuring that bus driver rates were increased up to the level of the Living Wage.
Committee Chair, Russ Rimmington thanked Nat for attending the meeting and agreed to consider the costs associated with Councillor Dave MacPherson’s proposal.
“We will have to look at the actual costs, however it seems to me that a very small increase to fares could have a very big impact on our community.”
Mr Tatana said he was pleased that the committee seemed ready to listen and he’s hopeful that they may soon take action.
“Our drivers have been fighting for a Living Wage for too long. A lot of drivers are at the point of leaving the industry, now we just have to wait for a response from this transport committee. This would make a huge difference. It finally feels like people do care.”