Go Bus Says Passengers’ Being Needlessly Inconvenienced
2 October 2018
Go Bus says that it is disappointed that Hamilton bus passengers are once again being inconvenienced by industrial action, with a short-notice strike to run between 10am and 12.30pm on Wednesday the 3rd of October (tomorrow).
Nigel Piper, Chief Operating Officer of Go Bus, says First Union’s industrial action not only makes passengers lives difficult, it also distracts away from the constructive effort required to resolve the Collective Agreement.
“Currently we are in a facilitated bargaining process with First Union, overseen by the Employment Relations Authority. There is a lot of work we need to do to provide information to the ERA, and this action will delay this, and ultimately delay the resolution of the Collective Agreement”, Mr Piper says.
Mr Piper says the action will only affect Hamilton urban services and Go Bus will be making every effort to minimise disruption.
All regional services – 20 Cambridge, 21 Northern Connector, 22 Morrinsville/Paeroa, 23 Raglan and 24 Te Awamutu – will run as normal. The Orbiter will also run as normal.
As Go Bus managers will either be driving or working on the ERA facilitated bargaining requirements, and to respect those negotiations, we have no further comments to make and will not be available for any interviews.
Background to the bargaining process and Go Bus’s frustration
For the past 18 months Go Bus has been attempting to negotiate a Collective Agreement with First Union for its driver members in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and King Country areas where Go Bus provides urban and school bus services.
Regardless of the offers made by Go Bus, The Union has had a simple bottom line demand: the Living Wage. This would represent an increase of up to 16.2% on top of the 6.7% already paid earlier this year.
Go Bus has made it clear that it is not opposed in any way to the advocacy for a Living Wage for regional bus drivers, but this is different from paying competitive rates in all areas it operates, as evidenced by its ability to attract and retain good staff.
The company maintains that if a contracting authority elected to stipulate a specific wage rate or Living Wage, provided it was applied to all operators with contracts and the cost to move to a higher rate was fully recoverable, it would implement it.
However, implementing a Living Wage without recovering the costs from the authority would be unsustainable for Go Bus.
Go Bus has a proud track record of increasing wages beyond the level of inflation, the most recent being a 6.7% increase for Hamilton drivers just last December.
The latest offer that the union has rejected would have provided further increases for some staff of up to 5.6%.
Go Bus has no problems in attracting and retaining good, conscientious staff in the Waikato region.
It also has a good record of successful negotiation with the various other unions that collectively represent a greater proportion of it people than First Union.