Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff has called on union members around the country to donate to the lock out fund for FIRST members who have been denied their incomes by Go Bus in the Waikato. "This employer has cynically tried to tank driver’s incomes right before Christmas, because they dared to ask for a living wage," he said.
"This is a pattern we are seeing around the country, because of the race-to-the-bottom funding model enforced by the National Government, and it’s time for union members to push it out."
"The first step is donating to the people in the Waikato who have been locked out. This will help keep their resolve strong to get Go Bus back to the bargaining table - and put food on the Christmas table too."
"The next step is telling operators who tender for contracts by squeezing drivers’ wages and conditions, like Go Bus, Tranzit, Ritchies Murphy and Pavlovich, that commuters aren’t having it. Working people are firmly on the side of the drivers getting them safely around our towns and cities, and they support the living wage."
"Finally we need Regional Councils and Government to connect the dots between the public transport chaos in Wellington, the Waikato and Auckland and the budget-basement PTOM tendering system. It’s past time to dump the PTOM system that is designed to favour low wage operators, and has wreaked havoc on bus services and staff across the country."
"Union members standing strong for affected drivers and lobbying their local councils can and will get better public transport systems. We can also make sure no working people are denied their incomes by bullying employers. Go Bus doesn’t yet realise they’ve picked a fight with working people around New Zealand who believe in giving drivers a fair wage and a fair go at bargaining."