Wellington bus drivers strike over unsafe conditions, lack of negotiations

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.”

(SOURCE: Wellington Tramways Union)

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