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Little Thought for Bus Drivers

Labour leader Andrew Little has missed the bus on pay and working conditions for Wellington bus drivers, says Tranzit Group – preferred bidder for the city’s bus services.

Masterton-based Tranzit has been selected to take over a large portion of the city’s bus services from current operator NZ Bus, which declined to seek the bulk of contracted routes.

Tranzit plans to employ 380 new drivers in Wellington and to pay them well above the current hourly base rate paid by the current operator.

“Bizarrely, Mr Little and the Tramways Union seem to think a pay rise is, somehow, a pay cut,” says Tranzit managing director Paul Snelgrove.

“The current operator pays its Wellington City drivers between $18.65 - $19.35 an hour. We will be paying them $22 an hour – more than they’re getting currently.

“So Mr Little’s right when he says every ‘Kiwi deserves to be paid fairly and treated fairly for the work they do’. We agree wholeheartedly. That’s why we’re paying our drivers more.”

Mr Snelgrove acknowledged that Tranzit did not pay penal rates for extra shifts and weekend work.

“We want our drivers to be paid fairly for a standard 40-hour week, rather than having to hunt out extra shifts to get by. Again, that’s why our base rate is higher.

“A Tranzit driver on $22 an hour will earn $880 a week. A driver on the current, lowest rate of $18.65 an hour would get $746 a week.

“So it’s odd that the union and Mr Little see an extra $134 a week as ‘driving down wages and conditions’. We pay our drivers more and want them to earn a decent living for a standard working week.

“The best conditions anyone wants is to be paid fairly for a 40-hour week and to have enough downtime outside of work for themselves and their families.”

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