I first noticed this yesterday when looking on the MAXX site for something but the NZ Herald today has a bit more information.
Auckland commuters could be in for trying times as bus drivers respond to a pay offer that has failed to win approval from union negotiators.
NZ Bus is urging passengers to make alternative travel arrangements between 9am and 2.30pm on Thursday, when all its Auckland buses, apart from those on the Inner Link route, will be off the road. More than 800 drivers are stopping work to vote on the offer.
According to a notice to the drivers of a paid stop-work meeting at Alexandra Park Raceway, issued by the Tramways Union and the First Union, eight days of pay talks with the company have ended without agreement for a new employment deal.
To completely kill all PT to large parts of Auckland for 5.5 hours is going to be pretty disruptive for a lot of people. Even if the two parties can come to an agreement on Thursday I am also amazed at the amount of time that is allocated for this meeting. I fully understand that drivers have to get their buses back to their depots etc. but why do they all have to go to Alexandra Park. Is it not possible in this day and age to set up some video links at the depots to reduce the amount of time that buses need to be off the road. Another big concern I have is why there is simply no plan to perhaps have some other bus companies at least run a skeleton service, even if it was just at a lower frequency on key routes.
I really really hope that the two parties can sort out their differences as we don’t want to be heading for a repeat of the October 2009 industrial action between NZ Bus and its drivers. Back then it really dented the image of public transport which saw patronage drop quite a bit and it took about 6 months to recover just to back to where it was. Since that time patronage has increased by about 20% which means that if it were to happen again then a lot more people will be affected.