Press Release – NZ Bus
Metrolink • North Star • GO WEST • Waka Pacific • LINK • GO Wellington • Valley Flyer • Airport Flyer • NorthBus
Since May, NZ Bus, Tramways and First Union have been involved in discussion to agree a new Collective Agreement (CA) for NZ Bus’ Auckland drivers.
Throughout bargaining spread across the last 4 months there had been steady progress made. From the outset the unions demanded three essential elements to reach a settlement:
Align the first pay increase with the commencement of the new agreement in July 2012. NZ Bus had been reluctant to do so as their drivers received a 3.3% increase 5 months earlier in February 2012
Achieve an hourly pay rate for Auckland drivers of $20 per hour in 2013
Increase the penal rate for Cancelled Days Off from 1.25 to 1.5 times the hourly rate
NZ Bus agreed to these demands at mediation last week. Terms of settlement were reached and the union leadership from Tramways and First Union agreed to endorse the offer.
“The union executive even shouted the company a beer after signing the terms of settlement to celebrate reaching agreement” said Shane McMahon, COO NZ Bus
At the ratification meeting yesterday, 265 drivers voted for the agreement, 352 against and 191 drivers did not attend the meeting to vote on this important matter.
“We have given everything we had and now the unions move the goal posts. Let me be clear when I say everything we had was on the table last week. The escalation in strike action by the union’s means that whilst we will make every endeavour to reduce impact on customers, it is designed to cause the greatest possible impact on customers at a time when Public Transport in Auckland is growing and customer confidence on reliability of services increasing” continued Mr. McMahon.
The NZ Bus offer if agreed would have seen NZ Bus drivers receive one of the highest hourly wage rates in Auckland for drivers.
“The statement by the unions that NZ Bus is holding Auckland to ransom is a pretty good reflection of how these guys operate. We gave them everything they demanded in the last mediation, they sign a terms of settlement, agree to endorse and now issue strike notice” Mr. McMahon went on to say
“But given they have taken strike action in just about every negotiation over the last 20 years, the behaviour comes as little surprise”.
“The unions have said repeatedly in the media that they have done ‘better’ deals recently with the other major operators in Auckland. If they wish NZ Bus to replicate the collective employment agreement for one of these much ‘better’ agreements in its entirety, then we would be delighted to consider. If this is what it takes to get the deal done, avoid impending strike action and subsequent impact on our customers, then they should immediately lift strike action, table these ‘much better’ agreements in mediation which we will attend in a heartbeat’, concluded Mr. McMahon.
NZ Bus operates Metrolink, City Link, Inner Link, Outer Link, North Star, Waka Pacific and Go West brands in Auckland.
NZ Bus would like to apologise to customers in advance should any inconvenience be caused by this irrational escalation to full blown industrial action.