You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
It has been a bumpy ride for Dunedin and Queenstown Orbus bus drivers.
A commitment to pay them the living wage of $22.10 an hour was made in July last year, following campaigns by Tramways Union and First Union.
In April this year, frustrated drivers attended an Otago Regional Council meeting, demanding to know where their pay rise was.
It resulted in what some bus drivers called a ‘‘hollow’’ victory in May, when the council committed to back-pay drivers to July last year, but still did not provide a date on when the increase or back pay might be made.
Yesterday, Dunedin Tramways Union secretary Philip Matthews said another two months on, bus drivers remained ‘‘frustrated’’ and ‘‘upset’’.
‘‘It has been over a year of fighting and protesting ... we are still waiting.’’
Meanwhile, council transport manager Garry Maloney said ‘‘significant’’ progress had been made on rolling out the living wage to drivers.
Mr Matthews said drivers expected to wait some time for the back pay, but thought the hourly rate increase would have happened by now.
‘‘[The drivers] look up their pay slips and think, ‘It is still not here’ and they do get a bit upset.
‘‘Bus drivers deserve the increase - they sometimes get a hard time - it is not as easy as people think it is,’’ he said.
The living wage is voluntary. It is not the same as the minimum wage.
Mr Maloney yesterday could not provide a date as to when drivers would start receiving the increased wage, but said the council had been been working with operators to determine the cost of back-paying drivers to July.
‘‘There are a number of complexities involved, including departed staff, KiwiSaver, taxes, and accounting for various forms of leave, which has unfortunately made it a lengthy process.’’
Once the costs were audited and agreed, operators would be able to invoice the regional council at the new rates and pay drivers the increased wage, he said.