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Strike over for now, with mediation scheduled

Wellington bus drivers taking strike action returned to work from 2.00am this morning as a sign of good faith ahead of mediation tomorrow.

Wellington Tramways Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the strike, which began last Thursday, resulted in a withdrawal of labour by around half of the drivers employed by Tranzit’s subsidary businesses Tranzurban Wellington and Tranzurban Hutt.

Tranzurban claimed the strike had a minimal effect on bus services in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, with about 98 percent of all services running as scheduled each day, and no impact on school services.

The union claims that around 120 services in the Wellington region were cancelled during the course of the strike action

Kevin O’Sullivan says the strike should never have happened.

“Right from the start of this process, before the new contractor was appointed, we’ve been telling the regional council to protect drivers’ terms and conditions. We have been warning of industrial action for months.

“We have a straightforward claim for people who work at Tranzit’s Tranzurban operations to have the same terms and conditions as those working at NZ Bus’ Wellington operations. Same job, same council, same deal is a fair claim and it’s one we asked the regional council to make a bottom line in their tendering process right at the start. They didn’t listen.

“If we can’t settle this we may be forced to take more industrial action; we don’t want to create difficulties for Wellington commuters, but the huge public support we’ve had shows they know what’s happening here and they’re on our side.”