Auckland traffic chaos as bus drivers strike
Aucklanders should brace for traffic chaos on Friday as hundreds of drivers walk off the job to protest their latest wage offer.
NZ Bus, which operates the bulk of Auckland's bus routes, has confirmed it has been issued with a strike notice from Tramways and FIRST Union as drivers protest their employer's work conditions.
The 24-hour strike by 1000 drivers is estimated to affect 135,000 commuters and will disrupt Metrolink, North Star, Go West, Waka Pacific, City Link and Outer Link bus services.
It is thought Howick and Eastern bus drivers will also join the strike.
The strike comes after the unions rejected a 1.7 percent wage increase in early February after requesting a 2.95 percent rise plus extra allowances.
NZ Bus chief operating officer Shane McMahon said the company offered a competitive $20.40 per hour plus overtime rates to its employees, higher than most other bus companies.
"It's a very decent rate when compared to elsewhere," Mr McMahon said.
He said given the unions' stance, he was not hopeful the strike threat could be averted.
"It's really frustrating, I know, but at this stage I don't think it can be avoided," Mr McMahon said.
"We're still scratching our heads and wondering why they're using the public as a pawn in their negotiations like this."
The strike action also includes stopwork meetings at NZ Bus depots across the city throughout next week as well as rolling days of not handling cash up until April 1.