LOCKOUT Day 5- Auckland Has Had Enough!

Message to NZ Bus: Auckland has had enough

12 October 2009

ARC Chairman Mike Lee has delivered a simple and blunt message to NZ Bus, on day five of the NZ Bus lock-out of drivers.

“We have had enough. Auckland will not be held to ransom. If you can’t deliver the services that the people of Auckland rely on, then we will have to find someone else who can,” he said.

Today the industrial dispute again disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of Auckland commuters. The disruption was even worse with the start of the school term.

Despite meetings over the weekend and facilitation today, it appears that the company and the union have made no meaningful progress on settling the dispute.

“The Auckland travelling public have run out of any patience or sympathy for this on-going nonsense,” said Mr Lee.

“NZ Bus operates public transport services under contract to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). NZ Bus is currently in breach of those contracts – it is not delivering the services. Like any commercial contract, NZ Bus contracts can be terminated for non-performance.

‘If this dispute is not settled, I will be calling on ARTA to start the process of terminating the existing contracts and finding someone else who will deliver the services that Auckland expects and pays for.

“Terminating NZ Bus contracts would be a drastic step. However, it is clear that the company is not responding to other normal commercial pressure, nor in my view does it take seriously its service obligations to the public.

“Perhaps the threat of NZ Bus’s entire Auckland business being terminated will sharpen the minds of the negotiators and deliver the break through that is required.”
Press Release: Wellington Tramways Union

Open Letter to Zane Fulljames, General Manager Operations, NZ Bus:

The New Zealand Tramways and Public Passenger Transport Employees Union [Inc.] Wellington Branch

11 October 2009

Dear Zane,

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Tramways Union condemns the NZ Bus lockout of Auckland bus drivers. Members of the Auckland Tramways Union and the three other unions that are involved with this dispute have negotiated in good faith with NZ Bus. By contrast NZ Bus has taken a hard line approach against Auckland Bus drivers.

The same bullying lockout tactics were used by your company against our members at Go Wellington in 2008. On that occasion NZ Bus were forced to withdraw their lockout notice after only a day, due to overwhelming public support for the Wellington bus drivers demands for a decent living wage.

This year Auckland drivers are asking for a modest increase to their hourly rate, and the restoration of time and a half for drivers who work over 8 hours in one day – the same as drivers are currently paid at Go Wellington. But instead of considering these reasonable claims by the Auckland Unions, NZ Bus has once again chosen to take an adversarial approach towards their workers.

Instead of negotiating, NZ Bus has locked out Auckland drivers with the intention of starving union members into accepting a bad deal. However your tactics will fail, just as they did in Wellington last year

The total disregard for the thousands of commuters in New Zealand’s biggest city by your company has been condemned by the Auckland Regional Council. It has also been criticised in the editorial pages of the NZ Herald. This dispute has given further weight to calls for public transport to be under public ownership and control, rather than having the service run into the ground by private companies like Infratil.

Last Thursday Wellington unions including the Wellington Tramways Union held a picket outside the Infratil office on The Terrace to show support and solidarity for the locked out Auckland drivers. If this lockout continues further pickets will be organised in Wellington outside the NZ Bus head office on Allen St.

It is time your negotiating team listened to union members and the general public. Auckland bus drivers deserve decent pay and conditions.

Yours Sincerely,

Nick Kelly
Wellington Branch President
New Zealand Tramways Union
12 October 2009
Locked out bus drivers are offering to do school bus runs without pay.

Combined bus union spokesperson Karl Andersen says the drivers remain committed to causing the least possible public disruption and are happy to turn up and do school bus runs on Monday without pay.

“Drivers do not want to see kids missing out on their education because of this lockout” he says. “The work to rule we gave notice of would not have stopped kids getting to school and we are still prepared to turn up on Monday to get them there.

“The employment authority made it quite clear yesterday that the proposed actions of the drivers would only have caused minor inconvenience to the public and it is the actions of Infratil/NZ Bus that has stopped Auckland’s bus services.

“If there is no bus service for school runs on Monday it will be because Infratil/NZ Bus has decided to use our kids as a bargaining chip and lock them out along with the rest of the public and the drivers.”

This offer was rejected by Infratil/NZ Bus meaning that over 9000 school kids had no bus to get them to school today


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