26 May 2017

Wellington drivers want conditions maintained

5:38 am on 26 May 2017

Wellington's bus drivers have decided they will not work for a new company unless their pay and conditions are maintained.

no caption

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Greater Wellington Regional Council earlier this month named the Masterton company Tranzit as its preference to take over the running of most local buses.

Tranzit pays drivers a flat rate of $22 an hour. That's more than current operator Infratil, which pays a base rate of $18.65, but Infratil also paid bonuses for working weekends, nights, or overtime on top of that - payments which many drivers rely on to make ends meet.

The Tramways Union's Wellington secretary, Kevin O'Sullivan, said about 300 members voted unanimously for the union to begin talks for a collective agreement with Tranzit.

Mr O'Sullivan said they also decided that no union member would work for any company unless their terms and conditions were maintained.

He said there would be another meeting in Porirua next week for drivers who currently work for Mana Coachlines.

Buses in Wellington were off the roads from 9.30am until 2.30pm today as the drivers held a stopwork meeting about their pay and conditions.

One of those at the meeting, Wendy Parsons, said drivers relied on overtime and weekend boosts - such as double-time on Sunday, and time-and-a-half on Saturdays - to support their families and pay rent.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs