Auckland bus drivers to strike from Tuesday

Major disruption to Auckland's bus network is expected as drivers across the city go on strike over pay and work conditions.

The rolling strike will run from April 17-27, with the exception of April 21, 22 and 25, when services will run normally.

Strikes on the remaining eight days will take place in the morning, leaving afternoon services unaffected.

The union is calling it a "last resort" after talks with NZ Bus broke down but warned "high-level" industrial action could follow.

"We don't like disrupting services, but we have been in lengthy negotiations with NZ Bus and we simply have no other option so are encouraging commuters to leave home early, or arrange alternative transport," First Union organiser Graham McKean says.

Mr McKean says NZ Bus is attempting to cut overtime in new workers' contacts, blaming a council tendering process that he says incentivises bus companies to cut wages in order to offer the cheapest tender to council contracts.

The action comes just weeks after Ritchies Coachlines made an application to bring in 110 migrant workers because the company could not find enough locals. 

NZ Bus told Newshub that they are proposing a flat rate that aligns with the new Living Wage for new drivers joining the company, plus an added 10 percent to reflect the cost of living in Auckland. The proposal is part of an overall offer made to the unions.

"The unions have recently been very positive about NZ Bus’s success in securing tenders in the Bay of Plenty based on a Living Wage pay rate," a spokesperson says.

"A flat rate for new drivers is also consistent with what other bus companies in Auckland offer."