Letter to the Editor: Bus driving Blues…

I took the bus from Westmere to Parnell yesterday evening, and had a very thought provoking discussion with the bus driver.

He stopped the bus by the Auckland Art Gallery and told me that we would stop there for 20 minutes.

I asked if I should get off and try for another bus. “I don't care,” he said. “I don't know.”

I asked what was up. He said, “this is my break. I have 20 minutes. I don't want to talk, just rest.”

I asked him how things were going in the job. His immediate response was that he had worked for NZ bus for seven years. He said that Auckland council tendered routes to private bus companies. Richies would tender with drivers wages at hourly minimum wage.

At his company entry driver salaries are $38k and he has been there seven years and is still in the low $40's.

Many of his colleagues have got jobs at council as traffic wardens and earn $60-$70k. When his union seeks fair pay and challenges the council, the council simply says that they award routes based on tenders and are not responsible for driver wages.

Right now routes are being cancelled daily as the depot at Wynyard quarter is up to 50 drivers short - they are unlikely to find new drivers at the salaries on offer and his final retort was that Council never listens to the drivers about fair pay and conditions and that The executives at Auckland transport are even worse. And with that he continued his rest break, sitting on his driver’s seat.

Puneet Dhall, Freeman’s Bay

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