Commuter chaos looms on buses
Nearly 36,000 Auckland commuters will be left stranded today as city bus services grind to a halt for a drivers' union meeting.
All NZ Bus services including Metro Link, the outer link, the city link, Waka Pacific, North Star and Go West buses, will be suspended between 9am and 2.30pm.
The only services operated by the company which are not affected are the green inner-link buses, which will operate as usual.
Auckland Tramways president and union advocate Gary Froggatt said about 900 bus drivers were expected to attend the meeting, at Alexandra Park Raceway, to hear the conditions of a new employment agreement.
He said negotiators had been working with NZ Bus for months on new terms, with the current three-year agreement set to expire on July 7.
According to Froggatt, the company has made an offer of a 2.3 per cent increase, which would come into effect in November, and then a further 2.3 per cent increase in November 2013.
"The negotiating team are not recommending the offer because it's not where the drivers wanted to be," Froggatt said.
It's hoped this year's pay negotiations will not mirror a bitter 2009 pay dispute where the drivers were locked out for a week. That lockout notice was lifted after a settlement was reached.
"I'm pretty confident the company has worked out that it's not in their best interest to do that," Froggatt said.
NZ Bus and a coalition of four unions resolved the pay dispute in 2009, but disruption to services affected 80,000 commuters - including school children - daily.
Auckland Transport, who contracts NZ Bus to run services in the city, at the time also threatened to pull the plug on the contract if the lockout notice wasn't lifted.
Today's meeting will not affect services operated by Ritchies Transport, Howick & Eastern, Birkenhead Transport, Urban Express, Waiheke Buses, the Northern Express and the Airbus.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are you heading out of Auckland on the Christmas, New Year break?