FIRST Union refutes Go Bus claims it didn’t see strike coming
The battle for worker rights for bus drivers has just got dirtier.
FIRST Union is disappointed and astonished to find Go Bus throwing around factually incorrect statements as more drivers go on strike in its latest release titled ‘Union Action to Impact Otorohanga School Children’.
Sixteen quiet and semi-retired bus drivers from Te Awamutu and Otorohanga are picketing today in Te Awamutu following failed negotiations with Go Bus. Morale is high, but for most it’s their first strike, and their communities are backing them.
FIRST Union’s Jared Abbot says while strikes are frustrating for companies, they are the last resort when a company such as Go Bus refuses to listen to its workers.
“The company’s drivers are a large part of the community and have received support from locals who’re concerned about the wellbeing of their bus drivers.”
Mr Abbott says Go Bus is speaking on behalf of the community when it hasn’t spoken to the community.
“The company is trying to speak for a community, a community that it is disadvantaging, and one that it hasn’t consulted once during this whole process. The brazenness amazes me.”
Mr Abbott says the Union’s also surprised the company is describing its wage increase as generous when it only puts them a few cents above the minimum wage.
“It shows just how much Go Bus values its drivers, not a lot. They are one of our most difficult employers to deal with.”
He says claims by Go Bus that it didn’t know the strike was coming are unfounded.
“We informed the company weeks ago that we would be balloting members to take this action. Members unanimously voted to take the action in an effort to win a Living Wage for all drivers at Go Bus. While the company did pay an increase in March, it still doesn’t met the needs of drivers, many of whom are retired and returned to work part time to help out their communities.”
Go Bus is grasping at straws. The company is presently being audited by Auckland Transport following an OIA request revealing it was regularly pushing its drivers over the 5 ½ hour maximum drive time. Go Bus Tauranga took strike action last year and have now been promised a Living Wage by NZ Bus.