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50 Hutt bus drivers cutting their hours in protest against dangerous shifts

News from Wellington Tramways Union
Hutt Valley bus drivers employed by Tranzit have voted to take industrial action to protest unlawful and dangerous shifts and to get the new provider to actually begin negotiations that have been promised for months now.

The action will consist of the 50 drivers cutting their daily hours to a standard eight-hour day with breaks (instead of the as much as 14 hours some are currently doing). This is expected to put further pressure on Wellington’s already chaotic public transport system.

Wellington Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the industrial action is a last resort. “We have spent the last year and a half trying to talk to the regional council Chair Chris Laidlaw, to try to get the Council and Tranzit to sit down and have an adult conversation about drivers’ terms and conditions and how to have a smooth transition of services between the old and new providers. They have refused.

“Instead we’ve had Tranzit running its operations out of makeshift depots, and squeezing drivers with schedules that are unlawful and unsafe. And when we have tried to talk to members about it the company has threatened to issue us with trespass!

“By refusing to protect drivers´jobs and incomes, and by contracting a company that has no respect for its employees at all, the Greater Wellington Regional Council has created a situation where drivers are exhausted and the transport system is in chaos.

“We want Tranzit to start talking to us to sort this out, and we want the regional council to step in and make them do it. Our drivers and the public deserve better than this.”

Comments by Paul Snelgrove, managing director of Tranzit Group:
“It’s a trumped up action. Everything the union’s claimed has been proven to be untrue – our drivers are paid and treated well. That’s always been our way and it’s why we’ve been in this industry for close to 100 years.

“Our preparations for a busy week starting on Monday have gone really well, and we’ll deal with this situation too. But it’s a real shame that the union seems intent on punishing commuters.

“We’ve said we’ve got no issue discussing a possible collective agreement for union members. What we won’t do is engage with people who think scare-mongering and intimidation of our staff is the way to get what they want.”

3 comments:

  1. Alan, 20. July 2018, 19:45

    Here in Porirua I have spoken to drivers and found there are currently groups here from Wanganui and Masterton filling in. No doubt they will need to return home soon to fill their school runs next week. What then?
    I have to give Tranzit credit for some nice people operating their buses this week. Smartly turned out and polite. Big improvement. Let’s hope it can continue.

     
  2. Brian McB., 20. July 2018, 20:27

    What a shambles! GWRC should have required that staff conditions were transferred from the encumbent operator for at least one year (see for example NSW). Likewise definite bus depot locations should have been a tender requirement.

     
  3. Alan, 24. July 2018, 7:18

    And not only definite bus depots, what about these hubs that are being foisted on commuters. GWRC have known for ages what the proposals were and yet these places remain unfinished or in some cases not even started. And they have the cheek to say in their spin that most people are enjoying the new system!