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Unions plan more bus service disruption

NZ Bus drivers will walk off the job in Auckland on Monday to vote again on whether to strike over stalled pay talks.

The agreement covering Tramways and First Union drivers expired in July, and months of talks – including the threat of strike action – culminated in NZ Bus making a "final offer" of a staged pay rise to $20.40 an hour.

While a strike was called off last month, the more than 800 drivers covered by the two unions have already rejected the offer and, according to NZ Bus, will vote again on strike action on Monday.

"It appears some drivers will simply not accept that a fair or final deal has been struck until they have gone on strike," NZ Bus chief operating officer Shane McMahon says in a statement.

Karl Andersen of First Union, speaking for the combined bus unions, says it is "highly probable" a strike vote will be taken on Monday but he did not want to predict the outcome.

"It depends on a number of things and one of the things is how many people turn up.

"The voting's very split."

The company says all Metrolink, North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific, and Link buses will halt between 9.30am and 2.30pm on Monday, but school buses will not be affected and full services will resume from 2.30pm.

The Infratil-owned company runs more than 650 buses across the city covering more than 200 routes.

Infratil shares (NZX: IFT) are unchanged today at $2.16, and have risen 15% this year.

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Comments and questions

Give it about another 2 month's and *surprise surprise* the inter-island ferries will no doubt be on strike too over some imagined slight manufactured by the unions so they can go on strike again...

When will legalised extortion in the workplace by a 3rd party forced upon the workers by this 3rd party, to the employer, be illegal?

$20 an hour when are consistantly late and rude to passengers, and in some cases have no idea where they are going, I can't take these idiotic unions seriously.

They dont get all of that $20. They have to pay for union officals who recommend offers they dont accept - money well spent.

or is the Union being two faces - accepting the offer from NZBus and then recommending against it behind closed doors?

As the wife of a former bus driver and a regular bus user, the problem with lateness is that management and Auckland Transport who set the timetables do not allow for traffic congestion, tight turn around times etc when setting timetables. I do not think it is fair to blame the poor driver for these delays. As to rudeness, I have never found a driver to be rude, the ones I have come accross have always been polite and welcoming. I would suggest maybe you try being a bus driver for a week and having to put up with drunks, rude passengers, people who don't understand english etc etc and see whether you think $20/hour is enough! On that subject, they get no penal rates for working weekends or public holidays. In relation to having no idea as to where they are going this is most likely due to insufficient training on the routes and they are only doing their best.

New Zealand just gets worse and worse every year.

$20 per hour is rubbish money in Auckland. Try raising a family on that. And working split shifts that run from 7am to 8pm. Lateness, rudeness and lack of knowledge are company operational and training issues that the company won't deal with. And as for Harvey Specter's claim of two faced behaviour - rubbish. Such bad faith behaviour would see NZ Bus take the Unions to the Employment Court.