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Bus workers hopeful of resolution to pay talks

Joint Media Release: Tramways Union & FIRST Union

Friday August 24, 2012

Bus workers hopeful of resolution to pay talks

Despite being very close to reaching an agreement, Auckland bus drivers at NZ Bus have been unable to accept a pay offer, saying their work remains unvalued.

From yesterday, they have commenced light industrial action, through completing their duties to the letter of their employment agreement; known as ‘work to rule’.

“Bus drivers work long, unsocial hours, and often split shifts up to 14 hours to carry the travelling public. They feel that NZ Bus, a profitable company, is failing to respect the work they do.

“NZ Bus owner Infratil posted a 6 per cent profit increase last week. Company directors have recently been voted a 3.7% increase. This is a company that can do better in their pay offer for the workers who are the face of their organisation.”

“At the end of the 2009 dispute, the then Chief of the Employment Relations Authority James Wilson, noted in a ruling that bus drivers were underpaid.”

He said: “I have a great deal of respect for the work of bus drivers and the conditions under which they provide extremely valuable service in often trying and occasionally dangerous circumstances. It is arguable that when compared to similar occupations or occupations of similar worth, bus drivers are underpaid.”

“We don’t need to see massive movement from NZ Bus, but we are seeking parity with other NZ Bus employees,” Karl Andersen said.

The workers, represented by the Auckland Tramways Union and FIRST Union are negotiating for a new collective agreement with NZ Bus, to replace the current 2009-2012 agreement.

Ends.

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