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Go Bus Applauds Outcome of Negotiations

This week Go Bus signed an agreement with Waikato Regional Council which will see all Hamilton urban bus drivers and Hamilton bus cleaners receive a significant hourly wage increase.

More than a year ago, Go Bus contacted councils across the country to make it clear that it was not opposed to the living wage, the only question was how this could be achieved within the funding structure provided by Councils and the NZ Transport Agency.

Subsequently, over the past nine months, Go Bus and the Waikato Regional Council have been working through a significantly complex process of how funding could be found to increase drivers’ wages. The current contracting process, known as PTOM, makes it near impossible for bus companies alone to meet increased wage levels expected in this environment. Indexation payments for council bus contracts have not kept up to anywhere near where driver wages need to be.

“Council recognised that to attract and retain drivers to the industry, it needed to work with Go Bus to improve driver wages. The current funding arrangements to Go Bus from the council did not allow this to happen. Hence the negotiations and the agreement for extra funding was required.” says Go Bus Chief Operations Officer Nigel Piper.

“Contrary to a statement from First Union, Go Bus has significantly increased wages over the last 18 months by more than Council funding allowed. Further, Go Bus is making an additional significant contribution to the increased wage rate just announced. The idea that we haven’t done anything is completely untrue.

“Significant credit should be given to Council and their co-funder, the NZ Transport Agency in achieving this outcome with us. The support of Hamilton City Council is also acknowledged. Waikato Region listened and understood our position and worked tirelessly with us to make the extra funding available.

“Recognising that driver working conditions and remuneration are important to both parties, we are always in dialogue with Councils and transport authorities on how and where these might need to be improved. A close working partnership will always achieve a lot more than any aggressive, and disruptive approaches some unions might advocate.” Mr. Piper said.

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