Bus drivers from three regions will walk off the job tomorrow

About 200 bus drivers from Auckland and Waikato will strike tomorrow,
while drivers in Wellington will walk off the job indefinitely.

It was announced last week that Wellington bus companies Tranzurban and
Uzabus would begin an indefinite strike tomorrow, after the Tramways
Union said they had no options left.

First Union announced overnight that 100 Pavlovich and Ritchies Murphy
bus drivers in Auckland would also strike tomorrow for 24 hours,
starting at 4am.

A further 100 Go Bus drivers in the Waikato will strike from 5am to 9am.

First Union spokesperson Jared Abbott said the measure was part of a long, drawn-out dispute about pay.

"It's been a continuous process, we've been bargaining with these
companies for upwards of two years - you see all the other bus operators
have reached settlements except for these two companies that seem
intent on squeezing more and more profit out of the public service
system," he said.

"In Auckland you've got the lowest-paying operators that just aren't
willing to pay the market rate - and to be fair, they're not even paying
a living wage yet.

"[In Hamilton] We've still got people on just over $17 an hour doing a
very important service and we just don't think it's right."

He said while the strikes in the different region's were unrelated, they all stemmed from a common issue.

"These are all the result of the PTOM tendering system which requires
council's to tender for the lowest paying operators - now we've seen
that system go through and basically drive the wages and conditions of
bus drivers down across the country and this is really the flow-on
effect from that.

"It's only logical that it's going to end up in industrial action."


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