Wellington Scoop

NZ Bus drivers vote for fare strike in protest against part-time shifts

News from Tramways Union
Wellington bus drivers have voted for industrial action including a fare strike – driving buses while refusing to take fares – from the 28th of January if their employer NZ Bus continues to force part-time shifts on them.

The company’s attempts to use more part-time shifts with fewer hours would see many drivers face loss of income and increased uncertainty of hours and has become a key issue in the current negotiations.

Wellington Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says members are furious. “Up until recently we’ve had a pretty good relationship with NZ Bus but in recent months there’s been a real push from the company to undermine the people who work there.

“Alongside the hostile reaction from the other company servicing Wellington’s public transport, Tranzit, there’s now real pressure on the bus system and on drivers’ terms and conditions.

“The blame for this and the broader Wellington bus fiasco sits with the Greater Wellington Regional Council, so it is appropriate that a fare strike will hit them in the pocket.

“If NZ Bus take a sensible approach to part time shifts as the members are asking them to this dispute will settle.”


  1. Richard Holman, 16. January 2019, 20:34

    This kind of industrial action will be popular with the public; however the fare revenue is collected by GWRC, so NZBus won’t actually take a financial hit unless the council imposes penalties on them. Is GWRC the target?

  2. aom, 16. January 2019, 23:13

    If GWRC are the target of the ‘fare strike’, then one must concede that it is appropriate. The Council spent a fortune on HR contractors and lawyers in the negotiation of the service provider contracts without the protection of roll-over clauses to protect the drivers. The outcome was that the drivers became profit fodder with reduced incomes and compromised conditions. The significant plus in the nature of the union’s action, assuming there isn’t a highly probable lock-out, is that the new owners of NZBus, along with GWRC, will also be compromised both financially and reputationally. Added to that, we now have further evidence of GWRC administrative incompetence in that a Councillor is having to do the job the CEO is paid for.

  3. Andrew Bartlett, 17. January 2019, 20:03

    G’Day aom, I realize that hating on GWRC is the standard theme around here, but I can’t see how this comes back to the council or metlink if the old incumbent, continuing to employ drivers under the old employment agreements, suffers industrial action? The only link I can see is that perhaps reliable or efficient operation of the new or newer timetables requires part time operation, but otherwise what has how NZ Bus schedules its workforce got anything to do with GWRC?

    The real looser will be both the travelers and ratepayers. Why? Because any fare strike will stop the data collection (via snapper) that would confirm the anecdotal evidence of overcrowding, late running and excessive transfers. This in turn would even further postponing the hoped-for improvement to services, while requiring the ratepayer to bare the missing fare revenue.

  4. aom, 17. January 2019, 23:09

    Andrew – not sure what you mean by ‘hating on GWRC…’ Quite simply, spending a fortune on HR and legal advice that undercut and fueled the race to the bottom remuneration and work conditions of the workforce is a matter of fact. Your argument regarding Snapper data is more than a bit specious since the strike days involved will be limited, unless the new owners of NZBus decide take the further union-busting step of an extended lock-out. In that, they would be in good company with Transurban who are actively anti-collective. Your views are out of step with the PT travelling public. Has one ever seen so little, if any venom spat out on a workforce that has resorted to strike action? Perhaps you could dwell on that, along with how you might react if your employment and remuneration became as tenuous as that of the drivers.