Outlier Councils Now Lagging Behind Effective National Pay Rate For Bus Drivers


Following confirmation this week that Bay of Plenty (Regional) Council are the latest region to approve pay increases for bus drivers to effective national rates of $28 per hour, FIRST Union is now calling on the remaining councils including Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Christchurch, Invercargill and Gisborne to do the same as their drivers are now earning significantly below the new rate and risk lagging behind to their detriment, FIRST Union said today.

“Every region is concerned about recruiting new bus drivers and ensuring they are retaining experienced drivers by significantly increasing their pay amid a national shortage. Tauranga drivers are on $28 per hour and have vacancies to fill, Waikato drivers are just up the road on $23.50 per hour.,” said Louisa Jones, FIRST Union Assistant General Secretary.

“Ahead of the implementation of a Fair Pay Agreement for the sector that will confirm national pay rates, it makes sense for all of our councils to be on the same page so that no region is left behind in the meantime. now risk this.”

“Bus driving is a uniquely difficult job, and it is currently more palatable for many to look elsewhere in the transport industry, where pay rates are generally higher and the extra responsibilities involved with carrying passengers don’t apply.”

“But with real investment in bus drivers already shown by councils like Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga, bus driving is on its way back to being a sustainable career that aligns with our wider efforts to prepare for climate change by developing our public transport networks.”

One Waikato-based bus driver told FIRST Union that they were frustrated to be left behind in a national push to improve bus drivers’ wages and conditions.

“I appreciate the fact that Go Bus and Waikato Regional Council are already in discussions over the wage issue, however, they seem to have failed to act with any urgency.”

“As a union delegate I am constantly inundated with angry comments often interspersed with expletives. The members are in urgent need of some positive news.”

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Ms Jones also noted the petition of FIRST Union delegate and NZ Bus driver, Gurdeep Sanhi Singh, calling for better protections for bus drivers amid a spike in assaults around the country, which launched this week (HYPERLINK).

“It’s a difficult job that requires competitive pay rates to attract new people to the industry while encouraging skilled bus drivers to make a career of it, and Waikato and Northland councils are failing their communities by failing to meet the national standard.”


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