Wellington Scoop

Defence of Tranzurban’s pay to its bus drivers

Media release from Bus and Coach Assn
It is unfortunate the media coverage has so far only told one side of the story about Wellington bus driver conditions. One of the new operators of the Wellington urban routes, Tranzurban has actually improved the wages of many of drivers when compared to previous arrangements.

Contrary to what the public have been led to believe, only 30 per cent of Wellington’s drivers were ever covered by a previous Tramways Union collective agreement (CA). There were several CAs active in the Wellington region before new operators were introduced. Now, less than 9 per cent of current drivers were likely ever on the CA version this Union is using as a basis for comparison.

The majority of Wellington drivers have been offered and accepted an hourly pay rate up to $3 per hour more than the starting rate in the CA the Tramways Union keep referring to. This previous CA has a lower starting rate with a number of allowances, service payments and different rates for different shifts. The new conditions pay a higher flat rate without the complexity and payments based on length of service.

This flat rate is required as it:

manages the contract requirement for additional weekend and evening services – it is also common practice for drivers in other urban centres like Auckland, and most other service industries
recognises bus services need to be operated from early morning to late evening, 7 days a week
simplifies payroll administration and shift allocations

Of those drivers who moved from the incumbent operator to the new operator, many are in fact earning more or the same. The minority who earned more under the previous CA quoted by the Tramways Union, did so due to seniority. These drivers previously got first preference on day-off call backs as well as being allocated the best shifts based on their representation in rostering. If no longer needed by the incumbent operator, these members were entitled to substantial redundancies and are most likely still enjoying a well-earned holiday before deciding their future.

It is difficult to engage in meaningful dialogue with the multitude of organisations now claiming to represent driver interests when facts are being distorted and reported without balance. Tranzurban are working hard to assist in the implementation of the new bus network, and the constant, inaccurate stories circulating in both print and other media require rebuttal to ensure the public is properly informed.


  1. Joanne Perkins, 7. October 2018, 18:18

    If it was true that drivers were almost universally earning more with Tranzurban than with the previous operator, then Tranzurban should have no problem extending the terms and conditions provided by the previous operator to their own drivers as obviously they would cost the company less. The simple fact of the matter is that this article is spin by the Snelgrove family who are anti union and therefore want to control their workers’ every moment of life. Most drivers at that company don’t even know what shift/routes they will be driving until they turn up at the beginning of their shift, basically making it impossible to organise any sort of life outside the work place.

  2. Joanne Perkins, 7. October 2018, 20:39

    In the pursuit of full disclosure, let me say that I am a bus driver for the old company and the Bus and Coach Assn is an employer group which has one of the Snelgrove family as the president of the Taranaki branch of that organisation

  3. Jonny Utzone, 8. October 2018, 7:40

    I wonder what the bus and coach association’s stance on the government’s Contracting scheme PTOM was and now is? I think NZBUs left the organisation in protest.

  4. Trish Fenaughty, 9. October 2018, 13:41

    If they pay better why won’t they come and negotiate?! Why did they go around telling their drivers they couldn’t afford a collective agreement? Come and ask us and we’ll show you what we get under the collective and let’s compare that to what the drivers get with tranzit. Happy to show all that info. The only people who are possibly doing better off at tranzit are the people training or in middle management positions and these are the people who don’t care about work life balance or about the people who work under them.