TODAY |

Wellington bus commuters having to find other ways to work today as bus drivers strike

Bus commuters in Wellington are having to find other ways to get into the city today, with a 24-hour strike by 280 drivers under way in the capital.

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The drivers are in a dispute with NZ Bus and Tramways over sick leave and holiday pay. Source: Breakfast

The drivers are in a dispute with NZ Bus and Tramways over collective agreement conditions on sick leave and holiday pay.

Around 40 per cent of the bus network will be down, affecting an estimated 35,000 people.

"This is a calculated move by NZ Bus and it really, I think, slaps Wellingtonians in the face, it's declaring war on Wellington,"Greater Wellington Regional Council's Daran Ponter said.

However, negotiations with the transport operator broke down last month after NZ Bus signalled plans to change its union agreement to be in line with that held with Auckland union members.

Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan said last week that while the Auckland agreement has a higher base rate, it has “minimal penal rates, one week less annual leave, far fewer protections for hours of work and less fair disciplinary procedures”.

Wellington City Transport Ltd and Cityline NZ Ltd routes through Kilbirnie, Karori, Kaiwharwharra and Eastbourne will be affected.

Bus in Wellington (file picture). Source: istock.com

The strike kicked off from 4am and will be “continuous”, the union says.

NZ Bus said it was "very disappointed" with the strike.

"We believe we have made a good offer which would see our drivers remain the highest paid in the industry, but after 8 months of bargaining, the union has refused to move at all. The offer would provide full-time employment for all our drivers and allow us to recruit new full-time drivers to solve the driver shortage in Wellington."