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Otago bus drivers are still not receiving a pay increase promised to them last year due to a bus company deeming it "difficult" to implement without causing issues in other regions, an Otago regional councillor says.

A commitment to provide funding to pay Orbus drivers in Dunedin and Queenstown the living wage of $22.10 an hour by July 1, 2020, was made by the council when it approved funding for it in its 2020-21 annual plan in June last year.

Cr Marian Hobbs said she was "dismayed" when bus drivers came to councillors at the beginning of this year to say they were still not receiving the wage increase.

"Several councillors asked questions about that ..."

As she understood it, one of the bus contractors had advised the council that it would be "difficult" to implement the living wage for Otago bus drivers, as the company also operated in other regions, she said.

She believed the company was concerned that paying only its Otago bus drivers the living wage, and not its bus drivers in other regions, could cause complexities.

Transport manager Garry Maloney did not confirm that was the reason, but said the council understood the inter-regional pay parity was an obstacle that operators and councils had encountered throughout the country.

Go Bus operations director Nigel Piper said that it was not his company that had made the particular pay parity comment and Go Bus was supportive of paying its workers the living wage.

"We certainly, if it was made available, would take that offer up.

"I know there is a lot of activity going on around [the living wage] at the moment, and hopefully it comes to fruition for the drivers fairly soon. It would be great."

Ritchies bus company did not respond to questions from the Otago Daily Times.

Mr Maloney said the council was negotiating with its public transport operators and was expecting to implement the living wage through the upcoming re-tendering of its PTOM Unit 3 contract.

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

Comments

Once again an utter failure on behalf of the ORC.
Pay them! You made a promise and have effectively "robbed" them and their families of a fairer reward for a tough job!
#livingwage
#fairpayforbusdrivers

Certainly hope the ORC refuses their pay rises this year!

 

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