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Go Bus still going despite strike

20 November 2008

 

Media Release

Go Bus still going despite strike

Key bus routes are still running in Hamilton on Friday despite a strike from Northern Distribution Union drivers seeking a pay increase of 26% when last at the negotiation table.

Go Bus Managing Director Calum Haslop says drivers from other areas, those not with the union, and managers with driving experience will fill most spaces left by those on strike.

“We will work hard to ensure our Hamilton customers are not inconvenienced too much by this action, particularly at peak, so they can still get on board with Go Bus this Friday.”

The union has also advised Go Bus its drivers will not be collecting fares once they come back from the Friday strike, forcing the company to suspend these drivers until the situation changes.

“We are on contract to Environment Waikato to collect fares, which are a contribution to the overall cost of the service.

“By telling its drivers not to receive fares the union is putting drivers and Go Bus in the position of breaking contract which we can’t allow.

“Suspending these drivers is our only option to ensuring we operate to contract. It’s a commercial decision, not a personal one,” Mr Haslop says.

“In our view these wage claims are not a Go Bus specific issue but instead represent an industry wide objective to lift the pay rates for all drivers, which we support.  Go Bus has lifted pay rates by 51% over a five-year period and we remain committed to lifting pay above the rate of inflation.”

Go Bus has offered a 5.6% increase while the union is seeking 26%, down from the first demand of 68%.

“Due to the nature of our fixed contracts we are unable to fully recover such an increase by raising revenue and must therefore take a stepped approach to this to ensure the survival of the business and our drivers’ ongoing employment” Mr Haslop says.

“We respect the union’s right to strike and will welcome them back to the negotiation table as soon as they are ready to advance the interests of our drivers in a reasonable fashion.”

Ends

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