Here we go again: Dodgy union threatens strike around holiday period. How 1970s of them

Don’t you just love public transport.

When the system breaks it affects everyone, and it can also be held to ransom by dodgy unions.

Unions intend balloting Auckland bus drivers about taking strike action unless their employer allows a city-wide stopwork meeting three days before Christmas.

They intend distributing postal ballot papers tomorrow, failing a guarantee from NZ Bus that the company will support an all-up paid stopwork meeting on Tuesday, December 22, without recriminations against their members.

The Auckland Tramways Union and First Union, representing about 1000 drivers and service staff employed across the Super City by the company, earlier gave it notice of a two-hour meeting to discuss negotiations for a new collective employment agreement.

Although the meeting at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall is scheduled for the off-peak hours of 11am to 1pm, drivers will also need time get back to their depots for evening commuter bus runs. ?

But the company has indicated it would prefer depot-by-depot meetings to minimise disruption to passengers, and last week said a refusal by drivers to work as rostered “could be treated as misconduct”.

That has upset the unions, which told the company in a letter on Friday they will run a secret ballot calling for industrial action unless their request for the stopwork meeting is granted.

A ballot running from tomorrow until Thursday would determine whether drivers would take industrial action for about three hours on December 22, covering the time they would need to be off work to attend the meeting anyway.

“The failure of NZ Bus to facilitate our members attending an all-up paid stopwork meeting on this date, and the threat to discipline our members if they attend, has meant that we have had to resort to this action,” First Union organiser Rudd Hughes said in the letter to the company.

Mr Hughes told the Herald today that the threat of a strike ballot was simply to give the unions and their members another option to hold their meeting, short of an agreement by the company to support it.

“We’re not wanting to shut the company down or shut the buses down,” he said.

Oh but they will if they have to.

One company employee warned the Herald in an email message this morning that “the mood of the drivers at present may well bring a large percentage of Auckland to a standstill”.

When the unions start living in a time period that isn’t the 1950s or 1970s people might start thinking they have relevance again.

Until then enjoy your holiday carnage courtesy of the unions….or the bus company replaces drivers with robots…chances are that will happen sooner rather than later.


-NZ Herald