No fare deal for bus drivers

In an act of what can only be considered to be crass stupidity, Waikato bus drivers are protesting their low wages… by driving their employers into financial hardship. Yes, you heard that right.?Stuff?reports: quote.

Bus drivers will be refusing to accept payment for passengers on services provided by Go Bus from Monday as part of their wages protest.

Around 120 drivers won’t be taking payment from passengers on Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Otorohanga and Katikati fares.

Drivers voted to stop taking fare money from customers this week as the dispute between Go Bus and workers continues.

The bus drivers said that they can’t continue on such incredibly low wages. end quote.

So, just let me get this straight. They want a pay increase, and admittedly their campaign has gone on for about 18 months without a settlement. However, driving the bus company into financial hardship is not the way to get themselves higher wages. It is the way to put their employers out of business. Indeed, it is sabotage. quote.

FIRST Union?and Go Bus are?now engaged in facilitated bargaining through the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).

“Drivers are determined to achieve a Living Wage.?We welcome the opportunity for an Authority member to assist with the bargaining, but if the outcome of those talks is that drivers are recommended to accept less than they can live off, we will continue to fight for what is fair,”?FIRST Union divisional Secretary, Jared Abbott said. end quote.

What is fair? How do you determine what is fair in a case like this? Sure, bus drivers are not exactly handsomely paid but, to be paid the Living Wage, they will need to be bringing in plenty of money for their employers. Giving free rides to passengers is not the way to achieve that.

I confess that I use buses as rarely as I possibly can. Surly drivers, unhygienic conditions and inconsiderate passengers all contribute to that decision. One of the problems with buses these days is that a lot of them drive around at non-peak times with only a?few people on board. It is a hazard in a small country where people expect regular services but there are simply not enough passengers to make it worthwhile all the time.

I really do not know if bus drivers deserve to be paid the Living Wage but I do know one thing. Deliberately sabotaging their employer’s revenue stream is not the way to get a pay rise.