Living Wage iwi lock out bus drivers for seeking a Living Wage
Iwi owned Go Bus Ltd has today issued a lock out notice to drivers in Hamilton. From 5am tomorrow morning bus drivers will not be able to access their workplace and will receive no income.
The move by Go Bus Ltd follows a lengthy dispute between Go Bus and its drivers in Hamilton, Te, Awamutu and Otorohanga which has dragged out for well over a year (since March 2017) with several short strikes occurring over that time. Passengers are very supportive of drivers’ strike actions, and in an attempt limit disruption, the 120 Waikato drivers had voted to stop taking fare money from passengers this week to drive home the message that they cannot continue on such incredibly low wages.
Go Bus has retaliated today, issuing a notice of lockout to Hamilton bus drivers, the notice is indefinite until drivers drop their claim for a Living Wage.
FIRST Union divisional Secretary, Jared Abbott says “locking out low wage bus drivers and depriving them of income just weeks before Christmas is shocking and it’s not something we would expect to see from even the worst employer. The values at play here are appalling.”
Council of Trade Unions, Maori Vice President, Syd Keepa says Go Bus, owned by Ngai Tahu and Tainui, has iwi members driving its buses and the union is calling for the iwi to step in.
“The drivers, many of which whakapapa to the iwi that own Go Bus, are asking the iwi to step in and assist in a resolution with the company because the abysmal wages are having a depressing effect on the drivers’ wellbeing, their families and their respective communities. Ngai Tahu are a Living Wage employer, yet when their own people put their hand up for a decent rate they have been lock out.”
Mr Abbott says drivers are ready to fight for what is economically and ethically right and the Union will put its full force behind ensuring that is achieved. He says there is considerable experience and skill involved to do the job safely but the ignorance of Go Bus has gone past ignoring value, to ignoring a very serious ethical issue.
“Low wages cause harm, and right now drivers cannot live off these wages. All they’re asking for is the Living Wage so they can afford to live and the company has responded by locking them out. This reinforces the complete inability of Go Bus to realise the reality of the situation. The actions of Go Bus are inhumane.”