Bus drivers in the Waikato and King Country regions will go on strike tomorrow for the fourth time in their current pay dispute with Go Bus.
The strike from 5.30am on Wednesday until 9.30am Thursday comes as the Employment Relations Authority is brought in for facilitated bargaining in Auckland over the dispute.
First Union says drivers will picket the Hamilton Transport Centre from 7am to 9am tomorrow.
The union says bargaining has been ongoing for more than a year with no resolution.
The relationship between Waikato, Auckland bus drivers and Go Bus has been problematic for some time and has only worsened as drivers' warnings of safety and wellbeing continue to fall on deaf ears, it says.
The union says the stalled talks now require a third party, the ERA, to step in, and the union strongly supported the request by Go Bus for facilitation.
It says the strike and picket tomorrow seeks to send a clear message to negotiators in Auckland that drivers' skills and experience needs to be valued and they won’t be settling for anything less than the Living Wage.
Drivers are severely underpaid at $17.35- $19.46 an hour despite their skills and experience, the union says.
First Union’s Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing Secretary, Jared Abbott, says many drivers can't afford the basic necessities.
"Many struggle to pay for the basic necessities such as the dentist and often can’t afford the time to spend with their grandkids and bills are a struggle," he said.
Mr Abbott says the stalemate has to end.
"We need a return to stability in the Waikato region for drivers and their communities.
"The company has signalled it would pay the Living Wage if the Waikato District Council subsidised these wages, so it’s evident the Council could play a pivotal role here too."