Greater Wellington welcomes government contribution to driver wages and conditions
Greater Wellington welcomed news today that $61m from Government's Budget 2022 will help lift bus driver wages and working conditions across the country.
Chair of Greater Wellington, Daran Ponter, says lifting wages is one of the first steps to making public transport careers attractive and services reliable.
"Greater Wellington is supportive of Minister Wood's funding announcement. It is much needed support for a sector that is struggling to deliver at the moment," says Cr Ponter.
The funding announcement also requires operators and public transport providers like Greater Wellington's transport arm, Metlink, to make further contributions to driver wages.
"I look forward to discussing the funding further with my fellow councillors when it goes to Council. At Greater Wellington we have made it clear that addressing the national driver shortage is our number one priority to help improve reliability on the Metlink network.
"We have worked closely with unions, operators and the Government on a range of initiatives to improve driver wages and conditions over the last few years and will continue to hold up our end. We will work closely with operators and unions to work through the details and how we get the benefits of today's announcement and investment in place for place for Wellington as practicably as possible," adds Cr Ponter.
The Government's $61m announcement is timely, coming days after the Fair Pay Agreements Bill passed its third reading. Fair Pay Agreements will make it easier for workers across industries like public transport to negotiate wages and working conditions.
"Wages are just the starting point with Fair Pay Agreements. Bus drivers will also be able to work with their employers to set standards on a range of working conditions from training, Health & Safety, shifts and culture.
One of the remaining challenges for operators and public transport providers will be attracting enough new drivers in a very tight labour market. Wellington City, in particular, has been impacted by the national driver shortage, needing more than 120 drivers.
"This funding and Fair Pay Agreements provide a sensible framework for New Zealand which the Government can build on by lifting border controls and empowering operators to bring in experienced overseas drivers," adds Cr Ponter.
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