The bus operator GO Bus says it will lock out Waikato bus drivers from tomorrow after being advised of fresh industrial action.
On Friday FIRST Union advised that its members will not collect fares on the company's Waikato urban bus services for two weeks, starting tomorrow.
GO Bus said it cannot allow this to happen as the situation could raise serious health and safety issues for its non-union drivers.
The company's chief operating officer Nigel Piper said the union's decision puts all other drivers at risk of verbal abuse and physical assault if passengers think they are going to get a free ride, and don't.
For the past 20 months the union has demanded that the drivers get paid nothing less than the living wage.
The company said it is not in a financial position to do that but is happy to help present a case to the authorities that fund the bus services.
But the union supporting Waikato GO Bus bus drivers said it is disgusted that the bus company plans to lock out its union members.
FIRST Union's Jared Abbott said it was not acceptable to lock out drivers just before Christmas.
"What's worst of all they're locking them out in response to a claim for the living wage and the owners of the company, Ngāi Tahu and Tainui, actually have policies of paying the living wage, so they're essentially locking out their own people for following their own policies."