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Apology from Greater Wellington Regional Council nice, but not enough

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) this morning welcomed the apology from the Greater Wellington Regional Council for the massive failure of Wellington’s bus network, but noted they did not appear to have a clue how to fix the problems facing bus drivers or commuters.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff said that the Council would not be able to meet their 8 week deadline for fixing route issues without acknowledging the operator Tranzit’s failure to negotiate with bus drivers. “They have said that key deliverables will be a bus ‘turning up’ at the right time at every stop, but it seems like they think their buses drive themselves,” he said.

“Well over a year after the original tender, Tranzit has still not meaningfully negotiated with their drivers, many of whom are new staff. The Wellington Regional Council is speaking out of both sides of its mouth when it says it is sorry, but did not anticipate Tranzit not being able to fulfil their bargain-rate contract- they were strongly advised this would be the case by unions before the Tranzit contract was even granted.”

“The Council is now all too keen to admit that the competitive PTOM tendering model, which unions know drives down terms and conditions for working people has contributed to this mess. But they still contend that they could not ‘find a way’ to guarantee existing terms and conditions, despite giving an assurance to drivers and the public they would do so before the changeover. Most worryingly, when asked by MPs from across three parties this morning whether they would do anything differently, the Council contended their design and process for delivering bus contracts was right.”

“We provided three simple steps over a month ago to the Council to fix this mess, as well as the signatures of over 11,000 people urging them to step in protect bus drivers. So far, the Council has taken none of them. If they are genuinely sorry, they will start listening to feedback from drivers and demand better employment conditions, stop wasting money on ineffective Band-Aid fixes and properly fund routes and contracts for Wellingtonians.”