Unions Wellington condemns blackmail of bus drivers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Unions Wellington condemns blackmail of bus drivers and commuters by Bus & Coach Association
The Bus and Coach Association (BCA) is threatening to cancel thousands of services, in retaliation against changes to the Employment Relations Act which require employers to give bus drivers toilet and meal breaks.
The BCA is demanding an exemption from government to the law changes, which come into effect on May 8.
Unions Wellington Convenor Ben Peterson says bus companies have had ample time to plan for these changes, which have been working through parliament for 18 months.
“These changes have not come out of the blue and there is still some time before they come into effect,” says Mr Peterson.
“The failure of bus operators to prepare for this in cooperation with their staff, unions and regional councils can only be seen as incompetence.”
Bus drivers have complained with increasing urgency that they are exhausted to the point of endangering public safety.
It is not uncommon for drivers to spend over five hours behind the wheel without being able to use a toilet.
Unions Wellington considers this unacceptable, and condemns the BCA’s shameless attempts to continue mistreating bus drivers.
“A cynic might say the BCA is attempting to blackmail commuters, drivers and the government into exempting their industry from basic, reasonable employment standards,” says Mr Peterson.
“If bus companies are too inept to operate legally, they should not run our essential services. The current public transport operating model is broken and needs to be urgently reviewed.”