7 Jul 2015

Union, bus company clash over roster plans

5:43 pm on 7 July 2015

A workers' union isn't ruling out taking further action if Auckland's biggest bus operator does not budge on new rosters, which the union deems unsafe and unfair.

A bus on Auckland's Queen Street

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

First Union has today filed an urgent claim with the Employment Relations Authority, alleging NZ Bus refused to meaningfully consult over the rosters, which it said could cause driver fatigue.

NZ Bus, however, has strongly denied that the new rosters threaten health and safety.

The union's spokesperson, Rudd Hughes, said the changes - which include longer hours and up to five weekends of work in a row - would put drivers under a lot of pressure.

"They're definitely not user-friendly or family-friendly. There's no work-life balance in them and we think it's a risk to drivers and to customers."

Mr Hughes said the union had offered NZ Bus alternative roster ideas ahead of Auckland Transport's new bus schedules, which take effect from 19 July, but they had refused to listen.

NZ Bus chief operating officer Shane McMahon said the new rosters were aimed at spreading the workload more evenly across the company's 1200 Auckland drivers.

He said he was perplexed by the union's claim because the changes were nothing new.

"We have a small number of typically more senior drivers in the business who work not a lot of weekends," he said.

"What we're trying to do in this roster change is to spread the weekend work that we do across all of our drivers."

He said only a small number of senior drivers who did not work a lot of weekends would be upset.

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