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Backdown from Infratil?

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, September 8th, 2009 - 3 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Infratil-run NZ Bus has called off its planned capital strike for tomorrow. The company had been going to prevent bus drivers and other staff who wanted to work from working. It has withdrawn that lock-out notice and presented a better offer to the workers. The workers have also withdrawn their notice of intention to work to rule, and will vote on whether to accept the company’s offer on Friday.

It’s not clear what concessions the company has made but it must be reasonable if the union negotiating team has decided to take it back to the wider membership for a vote.

Details of what work to rule would have consisted of have emerged. Workers would have not pushed a start button on electronic machines at the beginning of trips, would have taken 10 minutes for ‘terminus duties’ between runs, and would have scrapped the final run of the day if they were running too far behind schedule. Hardly the kind of things the company couldn’t easily work around. Yet its response was to threaten to close down the whole system; attempting to break the workers by denying them work and pay and by trying to arouse public anger against the drivers by dishonestly painting the lock-out as a strike.

Perhaps the bright-spark Infratil executives in Wellington who ordered the lock-out realised that shutting down our largest city’s commuter network for an unlimited period was a bit of an overreaction to some workers wanting a 70 cent an hour pay rise.

This is another example of how unionism works. If not for the workers’ will to stand together and collectively demand better from the bosses, they would have just had to bow down and take whatever they were offered. By standing together they’ve made their voice heard.

3 comments on “Backdown from Infratil? ”

  1. Luxated 1

    And on Stuff:

    “Auckland bus lockout averted

    Industrial action by bus drivers which threatened to disrupt up to 80,000 Auckland commuters tomorrow has been cancelled.”

    It the goes on to clear the situation up with this:

    “A threatened lockout of almost 900 bus drivers and cleaners in response to a planned work to rule programme has been called off after mediation between the union and their employer.

    The Auckland Combined Union gave notice of their planned action last week and their employer, NZ Bus responded by saying it would lock them out.”

    Sounds like the headline is trying to spin it as a workers strike when really it was never going to be anything of the sort.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1

      Its Granny herald after all. There things have a way of appearing between the time the story is written and appearing in print

  2. BLiP 2

    Stuff is the Dimpost – and no doubt the last thing it would want is for its own unionised employees to get any ideas . . . assuming of course that there’s still a union in place within that multinational corporation.

    The New Zealand Fox News Herald headline is much the same. At least the sub got the comma in the right place. The story goes on to mention that among the actions the drivers were going to take was to comply with the company’s own nurse recommending that they take time for regular stretching exercises – how dare those drivers. Next thing you know all employees will be considering their ocupational health and we can’t have that – just imagine the drop in productivity!!

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