18 Sep 2012

Strikes likely to hit Auckland buses

6:03 am on 18 September 2012

Auckland bus drivers are likely to start striking one day a week, after rejecting a new pay deal from NZ Bus.

Tramways Union spokesperson Gary Froggatt says his union and the First Union will probably give notice shortly that members will stop working on Mondays for eight weeks from 24 September.

As well, a work-to-rule is likely to be introduced from 21 September.

The two unions represent more than 800 drivers between them.

An earlier strike notice was withdrawn last week but at a four-hour stopwork meeting on Monday, drivers rejected a proposed settlement on the terms of their collective employment agreement

NZ Bus says the drivers rejected a deal that would have taken their pay to $20 an hour by the end of next year.

The company says the outcome is hugely frustrating.

Chief operating officer Shane McMahon says it worked hard to see the drivers' point of view, and they have now rejected an offer their unions' executive endorsed.

"We would backdate the first increase to July of this year; there would be a second increase in July of next year, followed by an increase in December of [20]13, taking our drivers to $20 which would have made them amongst the highest paid drivers in Auckland."

Gary Froggatt says members weren't happy with the offer.

"They were concerned about some new rosters that had been introduced at two of the depots - having to work additional weekends; the long 14-hour shifts for eight hours' pay."