Greater Wellington and Metlink welcome news of new collective agreement for NZ Bus drivers
Greater Wellington and Metlink have welcomed news from today’s Tramways Union stop work meeting that a new collective agreement with NZ Bus has been reached after months of tense negotiations.
Daran Ponter, chair of Greater Wellington said the vote was good news for the public transport industry.
“We’ve been very vocal as a council that public transport across the country needs its profile raising to attract new drivers. We’ve put forward our thoughts to Government on the review PTOM, fair pay agreements and putting drivers on the skills shortage list. We’ve also been working with the Government, operators and unions to put the Living Wage on the table, boosting base rates for around 50% of all drivers across all operators,” says Cr Ponter.
Roger Blakeley, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee said the outcome was a win for drivers and the communities they serve.
“The public have been very vocal on this issue, wanting a fair outcome for drivers, so it's great to see the hard work and commitment of all parties coming to a good resolution. We worked closely with the Council of Trade Unions, the Tramways Union and NZ Bus to provide successful independent facilitation to get negotiations back on track so it’s fantastic to see such a positive outcome,” says Cr Blakeley.
Metlink General Manager, Scott Gallacher, also welcomed the news which means the region’s public transport provider can bring further certainly to passengers across the network.
“We’ll be working closely with the Tramways Union and NZ Bus to draw up new timetables to reflect some of the real wins for drivers in this new agreement. One of the most positive outcomes will be guaranteed 8-hour shifts on request, making work and home life easier to manage for drivers. This will mean a rethink for our NZ Bus timetables, which also gives us the opportunity to match current driver availability,” says Mr Gallacher.
With the vast majority of services running smoothly across the region, the timetable redesign will focus predominantly on Wellington City services.
“We’ll be looking to get agreement on a set of timetable changes that will better match staffing numbers to ultimately create a more flexible and reliable network,” adds Mr Gallacher.
Metlink aims to have new timetables for NZ Bus routes in place in the coming months and will keep passengers up to date with the network through the Metlink app and the Metlink website.