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Who can live on $12.72ph?


RAM - Residents Action Movement

Media release 24 September 2008

Who can live on $12.72ph?

Industrial action by around 300 Go Wellington bus drivers starts today, after
the company withdrew its pay offer late yesterday afternoon.

"RAM is organising a People's Procession to Parliament, calling for GST off
food", said RAM industrial relations spokesperson and Wellington Central
candidate Grant Brookes. "But to make ends meet, low-paid people at the
grassroots also need pay rises."

"Company profits have soared in recent years, but the invisible majority have
been left out in the cold. A lot of people are saying 'good on the bus
drivers', and so is RAM."

Go Wellington cut weekly take-home pay in 2007 by changing rosters and
overtime. Average earnings this year are down around 9 percent on 2005.

"Harsh legal restrictions on the right to strike during the term of a
Collective Employment Agreement meant the drivers couldn't take action to
defend themselves at the time. Cases like this show why RAM is campaigning to restore to workers their full and free right to strike."

"Go Wellington's current starting rate of $12.72 an hour is not enough to live
on. Their earlier pay offer, rejected at a mass meeting on Monday, did not even make up for last year's pay cuts. RAM thinks no-one in New Zealand should earn less than $15 an hour, which should be the new minimum wage."

"Wellington drivers have voted two to one to exercise their legal right to
strike. It's grassroots democracy and People Power in action," said Mr Brookes.

Roger Fowler, RAM transport spokesperson and Mangere candidate, added: "We need free and frequent public transport in our main cities. Clogged motorways and rising climate-changing exhaust gases demand this common sense solution."

"More buses and more drivers will be needed. But the Go Wellington bus company has lost over 150 drivers in the last 18 months because their pay rates are too low."

RAM calls on Go Wellington to re-enter negotiations with the Tramways Union and address their moderate claim.


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