New Zealand: Bus union ends Wellington strike


New Zealand: Bus union ends Wellington strike

Tom Peters

3 November 2018

The Tramways Union, which covers bus drivers in the Wellington region, called off a strike on October 30, ending four days of industrial action that caused minimal disruption to commuter services in the New Zealand capital.

In September, more than 230 bus drivers in Wellington and nearby Porirua and the Hutt Valley voted to strike over low wages and attacks on working conditions by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and its new private bus operator Tranzurban, owned by Tranzit. The strike was set to run until November 30.

Union leaders, however, called off the action without a resolution, calling the move “an act of good faith,” and resumed talks with Tranzurban, facilitated by the Employment Relations Authority.

The Wellington action followed a 24-hour strike in Auckland on October 23, involving 100 bus drivers employed by Pavlovich and Ritchies Murphy Transport. Another 100 drivers at Go Bus held a four-hour strike in the city of Hamilton, their fifth industrial action this year.

The strikes are part of a growing movement, involving thousands of workers who are seeking to fight back against a wage freeze and attacks on conditions since the global financial crisis of 2008.

About 30,000 primary teachers and 30,000 nurses and hospital workers have held nationwide strikes this year to demand better wages and staffing levels. There have been significant strikes also by rail workers, public servants, fast food workers, and at Bluescope Steel and Auckland University of Technology.

The strikes are part of an international upsurge of the working class, including strikes by teachers and delivery workers in the United States, Latin America, India and Europe.

Bus drivers are paid only a…

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