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Three simple steps to fix Wellington’s bus fiasco

Bus drivers, their union, and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions addressed Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) this morning with the request it makes good on its promise to fix the region’s bus problems.

The Council can take three simple steps that will help facilitate a fair collective agreement for drivers, end the driver shortage, and get Wellington’s bus service back on track:

1) Publicly acknowledge Tranzit has failed to negotiate with the Tramways Union and instruct Tranzit to begin meaningful negotiation immediately.

2) Provide a space for negotiations and set a firm date for drivers and the company to meet.

3) Show a willingness to be flexible in its contracting arrangement with Tranzit if this is required for Tranzit to meet the terms of a fair collective employment agreement.

CTU Secretary Sam Huggard says the steps show how the GWRC can meet its promise to sort out the bus fiasco. “We’ve already had the Council acknowledge that they got this transition wrong and want to improve it. To do that they need to fix the employment issues at the core of Wellington’s bus problem.”

“The Regional Council has said lots of nice words about being concerned and wanting to ‘investigate’ the very predictable problems since their contract changeover. But if they don’t start taking the advice of the people actually driving the buses and concrete actions to fix their employment mess, their words ring hollow.”

“The ongoing shortage of bus drivers will not be fixed until a collective agreement with fair rates and reasonable conditions, such as hours of work, is negotiated and agreed. And until that happens there is zero chance of the Council getting the bus system back on track.”

“Drivers and their union have been trying to negotiate this for a year and a half and so far Tranzit has refused to participate reasonably in that process. Wellington’s bus drivers and commuters are paying for that negligence. If the Council is actually serious about wanting improvement, rather than just finger-pointing, it’s time for them to step in and take these three simple steps now.”