16 May 2017

Bus service delays for Wellington commuters next week

7:23 pm on 16 May 2017

Some daytime bus services in Wellington will be cancelled next Thursday, as bus drivers stop work to discuss a pay dispute with the company favoured for a major tender for next year.

Wellington Go Bus bus.

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The regional council gave the nod earlier this month to the Masterton-based Tranzit Group.

Tranzit said it would pay all its drivers a flat rate that was more than they were previously earning.

Managing director Paul Snelgrove said nothing was set in stone yet because the company was still negotiating the contracts with the regional council.

But he said drivers would have a better work-life balance because they would earn more during their 40-hour week.

Once the contract was agreed, Tranzit would look to hire about 380 new drivers.

However, Tramways Union, which represents about 500 bus drivers in Wellington, said it was worried the company would not guarantee fair working conditions.

Spokesperson Kevin O'Sullivan said while Tranzit had said it would offer a higher rate of $22 an hour, there were concerns working conditions would be sacrificed.

"Our Valley Flyer members are pretty close to that as it is, with significant conditions around hours of work and lengths of breaks and that type of thing, and that's just as important to our members as the actual hourly rate."

Mr O'Sullivan said the regional council had failed by not forcing Tranzit to keep drivers on the contracts they had with their previous employer.

All Go Wellington, Valley Flyer and Airport Flyer services will be cancelled on Thursday between 9.30am and 2.30pm.