Living wage confirmed for Timaru's bus drivers

MyWay drivers will finally be paid the living wage after contract variations were sorted by Environment Canterbury last week.
Bejon Haswell/Stuff
MyWay drivers will finally be paid the living wage after contract variations were sorted by Environment Canterbury last week.

Timaru’s public transport bus drivers are set to receive the 2021 Living Wage after Environment Canterbury (ECan) finalised contract variations with its contracted transport operators.

ECan, in a media release, said, negotiations with all its contracted public transport operators in Canterbury – Ritchies Transport (including Timaru’s MyWay service), Black Cat Cruises and Go Bus Transport - were concluded in late October with contract variations formalised last week.

ECan’s general manager of public transport Stewart Gibbon, in the release, said it’s “great news” that all the necessary paperwork is complete, and drivers will now see an increase in their hourly base wage.

“The contract variation process isn’t straight forward, with the need to work with three companies and their different sets of wage rates and conditions, but all parties were determined that we would get an agreement, and we did,” Gibbon said.

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“We’re really pleased to have this worked in partnership with our operators to complete this in time for the Christmas and summer holiday – we hope this helps support our drivers and reflects the value we place on them in the delivery of our services.”

ECan’s statement said “payments will be made to operators via our normal monthly contract payment cycles enabling operators to back pay drivers after receipt of this funding,”

“This will result in all our public transport contracted drivers and ferry crew working for Ritchies Transport, Black Cat Cruises and Go Bus Transport earning a base wage rate equivalent to the 2021 Living Wage.

“Drivers will be provided back payment, with a base wage rate of $22.10 per hour for the period from July 1, 2021, to August 31, 2021, and $22.75 per hour for the period from September 1, 2021.”

All Canterbury public transport drivers will be back paid to align their wage with the Living Wage increase from July 1 , 2021.
Bejon Haswell/Stuff
All Canterbury public transport drivers will be back paid to align their wage with the Living Wage increase from July 1 , 2021.

ECan approved funding to support public transport drivers to receive the 2021 Living Wage in July 2021.

In late September, Ritchies Transport and ECan reached “in principle” agreement to pay Ritchies Christchurch drivers the 2021 Living Wage. Contract documentation formalising this agreement was finalised in early October and drivers have since been paid.

“Work was ongoing to formalise the additional contracts with other operators and in Timaru during this time,” ECan said.

“With all contract variation processes now complete, all Canterbury public transport drivers will be back paid to align their wage with the Living Wage increase from 1 July this year.”

ECan will fund 49 per cent of the total cost and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will fund the remaining 51 per cent.