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Wellington bus drivers begin indefinite strike

A strike by some Wellington bus drivers has forced the cancellation of about a dozen services, according to Tranzurban.

One of the new
buses being rolled out in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Richard
Tindiller

One of the new buses being rolled out in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Unionised drivers who drive for Tranzurban will strike over a dispute over pay and conditions.

Tranzurban said 14 drivers have walked off the job, causing nine Hutt Valley services to be cancelled, as well as four in Wellington city.

The Tramways union said about 40 Tranzurban employed drivers in Wellington, and about 90 drivers in the Hutt Valley, were unionised.

But Tranzurban, which is one of four bus service providers in the region, said relatively few of its drivers were union members.

Metlink was unable to say just how many buses would be involved, or how much chaos the strike would cause - until it knew how many drivers would show up to work, or only to picket.

It advised people to check services online.

The strike would also affect some school routes - but the regional council said they would be given priority.

Tranzurban spokesperson John Mitchell said there was no significant disruption.

About a dozen people from other bus companies have also turned up to the bus depot in Rongotai to support their striking colleagues.

However, Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O'Sullivan told Morning Report those figures were incorrect and it was too early to see how many drivers were on strike and how many services were disrupted.

He said it was "definitely more than 14" people on strike.

A Tranzurban spokesperson said it had about 300 people working across Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

He said only 29 employees went to the union stop work meeting where the strike was ratified late last month.

The company did not intend to cancel routes, instead running fewer buses on each route.

"We will move heaven and earth to get people where they need to be," the spokesperson said.

Tramways spokesperson Kevin O'Sullivan said there was talk of a potential date for mediation between the two parties, but that would not stop the strike.


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