Hundreds of Wellington region bus drivers have voted for an "ongoing" strike if a collective agreement is not reached by October 23, just under a month away.
Tramways Union Wellington says companies facing industrial action are Tranzurban Wellington and Hutt (Tranzit), Uzabus and NZ Bus.
Drivers have also passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the Greater Wellington Regional Council and called for a commissioner to take over the region’s public transport.
Tramways Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the strike is a matter of last resort.
"We have been trying to get Tranzit to negotiate for months and still have no offer from them or any indication they are taking the bargaining seriously. This is why we have now had to set a deadline," Mr O'Sullivan said.
"Meanwhile the GWRC has been telling us everything is fine and refusing to hold their contractors to account for their lack of good faith. It’s become clear that the council has no intention of fixing the industrial dispute or the public transport system. They need to have it taken away from them before they make matters worse.
"There is no way that Wellington’s bus system can be fixed without a fair deal for drivers. Until this is settled the driver shortage will continue, the industrial action will continue, and drivers will continue to have no reason to even try to make this broken system work," he said.
"We don’t want to make life harder for Wellington commuters, the council has already done enough of that, but if we don’t take a stand things are only going to get worse for everyone. I think the people of Wellington understand that which is why our members have had so much support."
Mr O’Sullivan said he wanted to wait and see if a collective agreement is reached before commenting on how long drivers were prepared to strike for.
A spokesperson for bus operator Tranzit said negotiations have been underway with Tramways Union Wellington for two weeks, following talks between both parties that started last year.
The spokesperson, who did now want to be named, denied the union comment that Tranzit is not taking negotiations seriously.
"Tranzit is not involved in tit for-tat. Negotiations are just that - dialogue. The onus is on getting it right," he said.
The spokesperson said he didn’t think a strike by Tranzit members, if it were to happen, would have a significant impact.
A Uzabus spokesperson said negotiations were underway between the company and Tramways Union but referred further questions to Greater Wellington Regional Council.
NZ Bus has been contacted for comment.