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Bus drivers vote for strike next month; they want the Regional Council to be dismissed

Wellington.Scoop report from Roy Murphy
The Wellington Tramways Union today voted overwhelmingly for bus drivers to strike because of the breakdown in negotiations with the Wellington bus operators.

The strike is due to start on Tuesday 23 October, the day after Labour Day, unless or until collective employment agreements are signed between the union and the bus operators.

The drivers voted 233 in favour of the strike, with 3 voting against.

The union also voted that it had no confidence in the Greater Wellington Regional Council to operate a regional bus network. It asked the government to dismiss the Council and appoint an independent commissioner.

News from Tramways Union
Hundreds of Wellington region bus drivers have today voted for an ongoing strike at any and all of the region’s public transport bus companies that have not settled a collective employment agreement by October 23. Drivers also raised a unanimous vote of no confidence in the Greater Wellington Regional Council, and called for a commissioner to take over the region’s public transport.

Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the strike is a matter of last resort. “We have been trying to get Tranzit to negotiate for months and still have no offer from them or any indication they are taking the bargaining seriously. This is why we have now had to set a deadline.

“Meanwhile the GWRC has been telling us everything is fine and refusing to hold their contractors to account for their lack of good faith. It’s become clear that the Council has no intention of fixing the industrial dispute or the public transport system. They need to have it taken away from them before they make matters worse.

“There is no way that Wellington’s bus system can be fixed without a fair deal for drivers. Until this is settled the driver shortage will continue, the industrial action will continue, and drivers will continue to have no reason to even try to make this broken system work.

“We don’t want to make life harder for Wellington commuters, the council has already done enough of that, but if we don’t take a stand things are only going to get worse for everyone. I think the people of Wellington understand that which is why our members have had so much support.”

Companies facing industrial action are: Tranzurban Wellington and Hutt (Tranzit), Uzabus, and NZ Bus.

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5 comments:

  1. City Lad, 26. September 2018, 13:47

    Strike action is the only way to force GWRC to fix this mess. Their main reason for having excluded the Tramways Union in any negotiations has been to disrupt them and cut costs. Chairman Laidlaw needs to resign immediately and allow someone with commonsense to take over.

     
  2. MC, 26. September 2018, 15:40

    I fully support Wellington bus drivers for thinking about industrial action to try and remedy the poor hand dealt to them. They will not disrupt public transport in Wellington as much as the poor decisions by GWRC already has! [via twitter]

     
  3. Max Burke, 26. September 2018, 16:54

    I see the city council is going to take three months to ‘review’ the state of the new bus network. The Auditor General is waiting for everyone else before deciding if he’ll take any action; the GWRC chairman has promised a lot but hasn’t done anything yet…It sure sounds like all those that can fix the bus network are either passing the buck, making delaying tactics, or just speaking ‘weasel words’ in the hope we’ll just give up and accept it as it is. How many more times do they have to be told by us, their customers/users that it’s broken – just fix the damned network! Maybe it’s time we start public protests outside parliament, outside the WCC and the GWRC offices, user boycott (not use the buses for a day or until they fix it).

     
  4. Rumpole, 26. September 2018, 21:31

    Hilda and I agree with City Lad. And if the GWRC chairman doesn’t step down immediately, court action is the only way to remove him from office. I’m happy to help.

     
  5. Cavin Shakesheave, 30. September 2018, 21:57

    The people need a safe reliable service and this contract was doomed to failure and the people responsible should be bought to book. We should all support the bus crews. It is sad that it has come to this but it’s the only way to get the attention of the people responsible.