Wellington Scoop

Union blames Regional Council for shortage of bus drivers

News from Tramways Union
The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s concern about a bus driver shortage is hypocrisy at its worst says the Wellington Tramways Union.

The call comes as the council has increased its complaints about the driver shortage they helped create. Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the council has no credibility on this issue after their attack on Wellington bus drivers’ terms and conditions. “The council’s hypocrisy would be comic if it wasn’t for the immense uncertainty and anguish they have put drivers through in the last three years.

“It was the regional council who tendered the work out without protecting terms and conditions, and who changed the routes to make them a nightmare to drive.

“They did this after we repeatedly warned them about the problems it would cause, now they’ve done the damage they’re trying to blame anyone else but themselves.

“It’s particularly galling to see them attacking NZ Bus, the employer who has dealt with its drivers in good faith and settled their collective employment agreement, while giving a free pass once again to Tranzit; the company that has refused to engage with its drivers or their union for over a year now.

“Chris Laidlaw and Daran Ponter need to realise they can’t get away with turning bus driving in Wellington into a job people don’t want and then whinging about shortages.

“In September of last year CTU President Richard Wagstaff told the council there is no way Wellington’s bus service can be fixed without the drivers’ having the security of a decent collective agreement. The driver shortage will get worse, he was right, but they weren’t listening.

“The answer the GWRC is after is simple. Get Tranzit to the table to negotiate a collective employment agreement, and make driving a bus in Wellington something people want to do again.”


  1. John James, 19. February 2019, 23:54

    Here we go again, Kevin O’Sullivan trying to blame others for a fault of NZ Bus. If NZ Bus signs a contract saying they will deliver, and they don’t, the problem is clearly theirs.

    If drivers are so desperate to retain their old outdated terms and conditions why are they leaving NZ. Us in droves? Perhaps it’s down to you approving 4 – 5 hour shifts for the majority, and only gaining a chicken feed 2% increase. Perhaps if you spent time right for your membership instead of grandstanding in the media you might actually do done good.

  2. David Mackenzie, 20. February 2019, 10:11

    An interesting, but inapt rant from John James. When NZBus signed a contract they had a reasonable expectation that they would be able to employ drivers. However, a furore, not of NZBus’ making, has intervened. Furthermore, recent adjustments to the routes may well have exacerbated the shortage. Do not blame a company that is well-intentioned towards its workforce, compared with Tranzit, which is out of contact with goodwill and decency.

  3. Roy Kutel, 20. February 2019, 11:18

    It’s not just a bus driver shortage. There’s a train driver shortage too. Why, the Union insists on 9 months to train a train driver to increase the monopolist position of the Union. It must be easier to drive a train than a bus. The main task being to hold on to the dead man’s handle!

    The organisation of Wellington public transport is convoluted madness with too many white collar analysts, overpaid CEOs, ex-celebrity councillors and union leaders involved.

  4. David Mackenzie, 20. February 2019, 13:49

    I would also beg leave to disagree with Roy Kutel. It seems odd that his argument includes union leaders who know the job, the routes, and the customer-base well, alongside “white collar analysts, overpaid CEOs, [and] ex-celebrity councillors”. I promise you if unions had been involved in the process, the reorganisation of bus routes would have been done better.