Wednesday September 27, 2017
Council drives bus union mad over new contracts By Jamie Adams
There is still no resolution as the union representing Wellington’s bus drivers remains deadlocked with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) over terms and conditions under an imminent new operating company. The regional council, which manages public transport under the brand Metlink, had earlier in the year awarded Masterton-based Tranzit Coachlines the tender to operate 60 percent of the buses in Wellington City from July 2018. They will replace current operator NZ Bus, which will
retain the other 40 percent, and about 200 drivers, on a new east-west route. Wellington Tramways Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan said while he didn’t anticipate job losses, his big concern was the terms and conditions that would arise from the Tranzit contracts. “Tranzit weren’t showing an interest in transferring our original terms,” he said. “We want to retain penal rates and have control over how many hours we work in a day.” While the union wasn’t happy with Tranzit’s employment contract, “the real villains in this” were Greater Wellington,
Kevin said. “GWRC failed to ensure this was a requirement in the tender process and as a consequence should be in no doubt… that unless our members’ terms and conditions of employment are transferred, bus users will not be getting any ride,” he said in an open letter. “They are being told what to do by the National Government,” he later said. Greater Wellington deputy chair of the transport committee Chris Laidlaw said the contract transfer was the outcome of an independently conducted competitive tender process
ordained by the Government. “Tranzit became the preferred tender based on price, employment practices and environmental performance,” he said, referring to its trial of fast-charge electric buses. Laidlaw said there would not be any job losses under the new operator. “On the contrary there could be additional job opportunities. Tranzit has said it is looking to employ as many NZ Bus employees as possible.” While Tranzit had different employment conditions to NZ Bus, he said there was no evidence that on average employees would be paid less.
Prestigious award to local student The $10,000 Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka premier award for 2017 this year went to a Karori student Neakiry Kivi for her presentation “Reinventing Solar: the solution is clear”. A Samuel Marsden College Year 13 student, she competed against secondary and tertiary students nationwide. Her win is the second for Wellington area in two years. Last year Scots College student Andrew Tang was the winner with his presentation featuring the use of algae as a biofuel. Neakiry received her award from the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at a black tie dinner at Government House on September 8. She was also one of five students selected by the Royal Society of New Zealand to attend the 11th Asian Science Camp held in late August in Malaysia. During the week-long event Neakiry and more than 250 oth-
er students met Nobel Laureates and distinguished scientists, attended plenary lectures and contributed to panel discussions. Neakiry was also one of 40 Year 12-13 students selected for the Royal Society’s four-day ‘Powering Potential’ event. Her musical talents also came to the fore as well this year when she was a co-winner in the Veterans’ Affairs’ 2017 Battle of Passchendaele multi-media competition. For that, she wrote a musical composition combining piano and poetry. The prize included a trip to Belgium as part of the 100-year commemorations of the battle. As well as excelling academically and creatively, Neakiry shows herself a leader, being Marsden’s Deputy Head Girl. She is a long-term netball player and has represented New Zealand in small-bore rifle competitions.
inbrief news Pet service on Sunday A ”Care for Creation” pet service will be held at St John’s Church on Sunday October 1 at 10am. Spokesperson Margaret Sissons says if it is fine there will be a railing at the back of the church where dogs can be tied up to be combed and brushed and given treats. The only limits are, she says, on elephants and cows.
Tunnel work halted Seismic strengthening on the Northland Tunnel is now unlikely to be completed until early November. This is due to what a Wellington City Council spokesperson identifies as “a slight set back”, with the discovery of cables not identified on plans and believed to date back to tram days. Work was stopped to confirm the cables were not live.
Johnsonville Bowls success Johnsonville Bowling Club’s president Grant Wakefield has been presented with Bowls NZ Club Check Gold Award, recognising excellence in club management. The club had a big turnout of members to witness the presentation of the award.
Peter Keen Memorial Trophy
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School student Neakiry Kivi with the Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy. PHOTO: Edgeline Photography.
The Peter Keen Memorial Trophy was contested at the Johnsonville Bowling Club’s opening weekend on Sunday. It was won by Merani Davis, Brent Stubbins, Lil George and Sheryn Marsh. The Eric Wallis Tankard for the first toucher was this year won by Lil George.
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Independent Herald 27-09-17