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Union blames Regional Council for shortage of bus drivers

The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s concern about a bus driver shortage is hypocrisy at its worst says the Wellington Tramways Union.

The call comes as the council has increased its complaints about the driver shortage they helped create. Union Secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the council has no credibility on this issue after their attack on Wellington bus drivers’ terms and conditions. “The council’s hypocrisy would be comic if it wasn’t for the immense uncertainty and anguish they have put drivers through in the last three years.

“It was the regional council who tendered the work out without protecting terms and conditions, and who changed the routes to make them a nightmare to drive.

“They did this after we repeatedly warned them about the problems it would cause, now they’ve done the damage they’re trying to blame anyone else but themselves.

“It’s particularly galling to see them attacking NZ Bus, the employer who has dealt with its drivers in good faith and settled their collective employment agreement, while giving a free pass once again to Tranzit; the company that has refused to engage with its drivers or their union for over a year now.

“Chris Laidlaw and Daran Ponter need to realise they can’t get away with turning bus driving in Wellington into a job people don’t want and then whinging about shortages.

“In September of last year CTU President Richard Wagstaff told the council there is no way Wellington’s bus service can be fixed without the drivers’ having the security of a decent collective agreement. The driver shortage will get worse, he was right, but they weren’t listening.

“The answer the GWRC is after is simple. Get Tranzit to the table to negotiate a collective employment agreement, and make driving a bus in Wellington something people want to do again.”

-News from Tramways Union