Some great news has just come out that NZ Bus and the Tramways Union have come to an agreement over their industrial dispute which means that there won’t be any strikes, something that would have severely dented the reputation of public transport right at a time when we are about to start talking the most positive change in for buses in decades. Here is the NZ Bus press release:

NZ Bus wage talks reaches agreement at negotiations

NZ Bus, the Tramways Union and First Union are very pleased to announce that they have reached a proposed settlement for the Collective Employment Agreement covering bus drivers and service staff in Auckland today which will be put to union members on Monday for ratification.

Helen Kelly, the President of the CTU, who has been assisting the parties, said she is very pleased an agreement has been reached and is committed to seeing through all opportunities this settlement provides.

Both parties have been involved in constructive dialogue since May and acknowledge the significant progress made in the agreement, which will be recommended to members.

Shane McMahon COO NZ Bus said “we have built a strong relationship with the unions and we will continue to invest in the business to see public transport in Auckland grow”.

The settlement includes a commitment for the parties to work together to use the agreement to build the best bus company in New Zealand.

All industrial action has now been lifted and members will meet on Monday between 11am and 1pm for the ratification meeting.

Share this


  1. I’m sorry – I know this is irrelevant to the post – but I just read a whole post about the area around O’Connell St from Patrick that Google Reader downloaded for me. Now the post seems to be deleted. The tone of the post is quite strong – but nothing different to what Patrick usually posts. Could someone please give me an explanation to why this has happened. I hope it is a technical error and not anything else.

      1. Just thinking about it more, don’t you think that once the post had been on-line for a few minutes, and especially once it had been downloaded by Google for the 277 Google Reader RSS subscribers, it was too late to remove the post?

        277 is a lot of people left waiting to comment.

  2. Yes, well done to the Union and NZ Bus. I like the commitment to becoming the best bus company in New Zealand. How about Oceanaia? Not that hard from what I can tell …

  3. Unfortunately it was disappointing how the company approached these contract negotiations from day one. Initially they put forward an insulting wage rise offer in comparison to their competitors, then in turn produced a ridiculous power point presentation on how well they were doing ($46m profit, $60m spent on infrastrucuture, 100 new buses, 100 more to come!)….however, you may be made redundant? This on the back of the company claiming they would share profits based on drivers commitment throughout the RWC transport fiasco in 2011.
    NZ Bus were also reluctant to alter conditions for their drivers despite evidence that the job has become increasingly more difficult over recent years with an ever growing population in Auckland choosing to use public transport.
    The lack of respect was evident right from the beginning and the NZ Bus motto of ‘our people’ has never been further from the truth. The ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that exists within this company between employer and employee undermines the tireless hard work that drivers put in every day and fails to resolve a range of issues that will continue to exist – sadly it comes down to individual corporate figures that are completely out-of-touch with their frontline people…..if only they caught the bus more often?
    It takes a special person to undertake the persitant pressures of this job and navigate an 18 tonne vehicle through the streets of Auckland on a daily basis without hitting anything. You require a claim resolve and an ability to deal with a wide range of challanges. It is not uncommon in a single day to aid the elderly and young alongside the disabled, whilst similatenously dealing with the mentalily ill, drunks, drugged individuals and just the usual obnoxious few.
    It is hoped that within the short-term NZ Bus come to better appreciate their drivers and understand their basic needs as productive employees, however this will probably only ever happen if the company is not owned by infratil, but by the people of Auckland.

    1. Couple of points:
      1. Profit figures are normally quoted in percentage terms (i.e. compared to the value of the business). My guess is that NZ Bus is worth about $600 million, so $46 million ~= 10% NPBT. That’s not particularly excessive.
      2. My understanding is that NZ Bus drivers currently get paid more than drivers for the other bus companies? Please correct me if I am wrong …
      3. Are you suggesting that as more people are using PT the bus drivers should be paid more. I tend to disagree – full buses are part of the job.
      4. It’s my understanding that council-owned bus companies were too expensive because of Union wage demands.

      1. Stu – yes you are correct, NZ Bus drivers are paid more. I would expect a company that holds 70% of the market share in Auckland, carrying the majority of passengers across Auckland to pay their drivers suitably to obtain and retain the best staff to represent their company.
        Which relates to your point 3.
        If an NZ Bus driver pulls out of Britomart with a fully seated at 11:30pm on a Friday night and the Ritchies driver next to him has two whole passengers, I wonder who carrying the greater workload? The NZ Bus driver is likely to collect more far passengers at Sky City and K’Rd, then offload all the way to New Lynn, make the tight transfer connection at New Lynn and collect far more passengers throughout Henderson and beyond……there is no comparison other than the fact that they are both driving buses. The Ritchies driver receives $30 extra after 9pm and can also obtain a $1250 non-accident bonus over 12 months, meaning they can earn as much if not more for certain shifts.
        Ritchies drivers were able to negoiate a 7.1% wage rise over two years, whereas NZ Bus seem committed to pulling their drivers wages back to bring them in line with the competition (6.6%), and they stated that, but why? Pay drivers what they are worth based on their workload and overall performance. Seriously, it is not a whole lot of money, maybe $1500 over the 27 month period, but t means alot to the drivers that they are paid FAIRLY.
        The Union were given a particular mandate by the collective to take to the negoiation table and they came back with far less….it was not excessive and not beyond the investment required to seal a deal. The drivers were at that point united to strike last Monday (17th Sept) if this offer was not ratified. This did not happen and you can now see the backlash.

  4. From Helen Kelly’s Facebook page.

    “Helen Kelly
    So the Auckland bus drivers have not ratified the companies offer for their collective. They spoke passionately today about needing a step change in their wages and conditions of work to make their working life reasonable. The companies offer was improved but does not do this. They will take strike action every Monday for at least the next 9 weeks. They are disappointed and worried about the impact of this action on Aucklanders but feel they have no choice. I am sure Aucklanders will back them. They have the full support of the CTU and the union movement. Please get involved: Donate, attend the pickets and offer to help.
    Like · · Share · about an hour ago ·”

  5. Company issues aside, many of the NZ Bus drivers I encounter daily are not worth any pay rise. They are bluntly rude, arrogant, spiteful and many are terrible drivers to boot. If they actually embraced the fact that they are a SERVICE company, rather than a transport one, they might garner a bit more public support. Pretty hard though to be supportive when they do everything they can to avoid picking you up, often leaving you with long waits for the next bus.

    1. Of course, you know the full details of their pay rate, when the last increase was, et al. I am no fan of NZ Bus as I am too fat to even get an interview, but the issues you highlight reflect how much stress the drivers’ are under. How about a broken shift?

    2. It’s interesting you say that – in my experience the bus drivers in Auckland have been getting better. Nicer, more friendly, and (most importantly) not so heavy footed with the accelerator/brake pedals. Irrespective of what happens with this latest pay negotiation I think that both the union and the bus companies deserve credit for these improvements; we’ve come a long way.

      Let’s just not throw away all the good will we’ve built with the public now …

    3. The split shift issue is an interesting one. I wonder whether a greater focus on off-peak service provision will improve that by reducing the need for split shifts.

  6. The last increase for drivers was earlier this year february 2012 3.3% , the offer we put on the table last Wednesday was :

    • 2.1% $19.15 from July 2012;
    • 2.1% $19.50from July 2013; and
    • 2.5% $20.00from Dec 2013.
    • 2.1% $20.40 from July 2015
    Union advantage 2 Months
    CDO @ 1.5
    32 Month term
    Allowance by same %

    The union executive cam back with the position below which we agreed on the basis that they would endorse and recommend for agreement , suprisingly they rejected the further movement to $20.40 at the end of the term.

    The union executive even took us out for a beer to celebrate on reaching agreement last week – go figure!

    The union executive tokk this offer to the ratification meeting where as we have been advised by the union 265 drivers voted for and 352 against (627 drivers attended meeting out of 818 members).

    We also as a company had committed to working with the union to look at ways of reducing broken shifts which affect about 46% of drivers in Auckland. Broken shifts are a product of peak/off peak. The balance are on straight shifts.

    On average a driver in Auckland will work 44 hrs per week with the average income of $46k prior to any increase. Some of the top earning drivers in Auckland earn over $65k per annum.

    It is disappointing that the unions have decided that Industrial Action which will affect members pay packets and tens of thousands of Aucklanders is the way to go after we have offered to take the drivers to one of the highest pay rates in the city for drivers. I reject the nonsensical commentary from the union in media today that NZ Bus is holding the city to ransom where we have worked constructively to avoid industrial action, put an offer on the table that met the demands of the union executive and they have taken Industrial action which will affect our customers and tarnish the building image of PT ( Passenger Transit :-)) in Auckland.

    Zane Fulljames
    CEO NZ Bus

    1. Just because the Union officials have reached agreement does not mean that the membership will ratify it.

      Your argument re income is a waste of space. If the average income is $46K, then the few that earn $65K have to be doing an incredible amount of overtime. Just done the maths. To earn $65K pa at $20ph is 62.5hrs/ week! Very rough estimate I know, but seriously, who wants to do that?

      PT means Public Transport actually.

      1. Not an argument Owen a fact.

        Your fixation on assumptions and opinion explains a lot – PT can mean Public Transport, Passenger Transit , Public Transit , Passenger Transport – time to move into the now instead of living in the past.

        If you continue to look at an issue the same way you will probably continue to reach the same outcome, perhaps looking at an issue from all sides might help expand your thinking.

        Warm Regards
        Zane Fulljames
        CEO NZ BUS

        1. Is my maths incorrect? Because you “forgot” to mention it in your diatribe.

          An interesting aside would be to determine how much the salary of the NZ Bus CEO will increase by over the same period.

          1. Owen,

            Salaried staff at NZ Bus recieved an average 2.1 % increase in April this year , drivers recieved an increase in feb of 3.3% and we had offered a further 2.1 % increase from July a total of 5.4% (you can check the maths).

            As CEO I received an increase in April 2012 less than that which the drivers received in feb 2012 of 3.3% . If you run a like for like comparison over calendar years commencing 1/1/2012 running through to 1/1/2014 any increase in salary i may receive will be less than that which was offered to drivers in terms of settlement agreed last week.

            Warm Regards
            Zane Fulljames
            CEO NZ Bus

  7. Sorry did not insert position agreed to last wednesday that the unions agreed to endorse

    • 2.1% $19.15 from July 2012;
    • 2.1% $19.50 from July 2013; and
    • 2.5% $20.00 from Dec 2013.
    Union advantage 2 Months
    CDO @ 1.5
    27 Month term
    Allowance by same %

Leave a Reply