GO Wellington lockout: Day One

Written By: - Date published: 5:21 pm, September 25th, 2008 - 18 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

A reader sent in this photo from the Wellington bus drivers’ picket line at the Kilbirnie bus depot. The workers are said to be staunch in their claims and are refusing to be intimidated by the company locking them out without pay.

The Council of Trade Unions and the International Transport Workers’ Federation have now also weighed in on the side of the drivers. The bus drivers’ union is small, it has no financial reserves and is not affiliated to the CTU. This may have led GO Wellington’s HR team to believe they would buckle under the first sign of pressure.

But if there’s one thing the New Zealand union movement won’t tolerate, it’s locking out and bullying low wage workers. The unions will now swing in behind the drivers, and, like with the Progressive lockout, they will back them to the hilt.

I suspect GO Wellington may have bitten off more than it can chew.

18 comments on “GO Wellington lockout: Day One”

  1. outofbed 1

    Where can we send a financial contribution ?

  2. Johnty Rhodes 2

    Gee, and the greens want to outlaw the automobile, at least you can drive to whatever you are doing if these lazy pricks decide to take the day off.

  3. Tane 3

    0900 LOCKOUT will be back up soon, but not yet.

    I’ve also just heard unconfirmed rumours that the lockout is about to be lifted.

  4. Anita 4

    Radio NZ said it has been lifted on their 5:30 news.

  5. Santi 5

    You cannot have your cake and eat it. Work harder or quit and find employment somewhere else!

  6. Scribe 6

    Glad to hear the lockout has been lifted.

    Looking at the sign the guy is holding in the photo, and recalling a comment someone made on another thread on this topic, I decided to look at the Working for Families website to see what a driver making $12.72 an hour would get if he/she had two kids (under 12) and were the sole income-earner.

    The answer is $199 per week, increasing to $206 next week (Oct. 1). So that’s basically a $5/hr pay rise — or $10000+ per annum.

  7. Anita 7


    “$5/hr pay rise”? I think you mean that their WFF contribution will rise about 17.5c per hour from next week.

  8. Scribe 8


    Sorry, I was unclear. The $206 per week WfF payment equates to a pay rise of $5/hr.

    In other words, the guys asking “How do you raise kids on $12.72 an hour?” could be getting, if he’s the sole bread-winner in his house, an extra $5 an hour if he was getting WfF. Or $10,000+ per annum.

  9. Tane 9

    WFF is not the same thing as a wage rise. The taxpayer should not have to subsidise low wages, and workers should not be reliant on the state for a decent living wage.

  10. daffodil gal 10

    Santi, care to explain your stellar reasoning?

    None of this has anything to do with working harder. It’s a freaking pay dispute. It doesn’t matter how hard they work, the point is that they’re still paid sweet f-all.

  11. Scribe 11


    No, it’s not the same thing. But when it comes to raising the kids, which is the question asked in the placard, it sure as heck helps.

  12. Tane 12

    Scribe. No doubt. I take it you support Working For Families then.

    My point is simply this: workers should be paid a decent wage that allows them to support their family in dignity. The state should not have to subsidise low wages, and Working For Families (or any other tax cut) should never be used as an argument for workers to dampen down their pay demands.

  13. Worker 13

    Tane says ‘The taxpayer should not have to subsidise low wages, and workers should not be reliant on the state for a decent living wage.’

    Tane what are your real political views? Under this Labour/left wing government, this is exactly what they have engineered. If you don’t like it what are you doing at the standard?

  14. yl 14


    I agree with Tane, I think what he is trying to say is that.

    We need to get to a place where people do not have to rely on the state for welfare. But because wages are not at a level to do this then the state does need to help out. Otherwise, increases in poverty, increase in medical bills that will also fall back onto the tax payer.

    I dont think that any one wants WFFTC the fact is that they need it, because they are not being paid high enough wages.

    If that is not Tane’s view, then it is mine

  15. Tane 15

    I don’t have an issue with WFF, I do have an issue with people who think it should be a subsitute for higher wages. Labour’s failure has been to complement WFF with a proper mechanism to raise wages for low-income workers.

    In any case, I don’t vote Labour, and don’t see why supporting Labour policy or even the party should be a prerequisite for writing on The Standard. Perhaps you should read our About.

  16. Tane is right – WFF is subsiding low-wage employers. It also excludes those who don’t have a family to support.

    I wouldn’t suspect he endorses WFF wholeheartedly but as a measure to allievate child poverty in the short term until a better mechanism for raising wages in the long-term becomes politically palatable.

    My response to those who diss WFF as welfare, should remember that prior to 1990 all families were entitled to a means-tested family benefit. However, there was a problem in some cases that was too small a gap between work and welfare, and thus little financial incentive to work.
    National’s approach then was to slash entitlements and benefits received, which led to a reappearances of typically third-world diseases not seen since the 1930s and $1 billion less spending in the local economy.
    Labour’s approach has been to make work worthwhile, and if the employer isn’t coming to the party, and you have a family, you will at least get a reasonable remuneration.

    Since I hear so many analogies from the right, I’d thought I’d post one from the left:

    Take socialism to be water and capitalism to be cordial. Like anything else, its a personal preference on how strong you like your capitalism. But add too much, and its really bad for you. Water by itself can be a bit bland, so that’s why most like a mix. I myself like a weak cordial.

  17. Swampy 17

    “I agree with Tane, I think what he is trying to say is that.

    We need to get to a place where people do not have to rely on the state for welfare. But because wages are not at a level to do this then the state does need to help out. Otherwise, increases in poverty, increase in medical bills that will also fall back onto the tax payer.”

    I think Labour wants WFF for the simple fact it is an electoral bribe. They want everyone to sign up for this new welfare scheme and become state dependent.

    There are very many economic factors which are within Labour’s control which they have failed to address; such as, promoting an economic boom that depends on higher property prices that hurt a lot of traditional Labour supporters. Increase in electricity prices that has been used to feed election year bribes as the government owns most of the power generation capacity in this country.

  18. T-Rex 18

    Swampy – at the risk of engaging a known troll and proven idiot…

    1) What were Labour supposed to do to stop people speculating on housing prices rises? Since it is, of course, now abundantly obvious that speculation was driving the price increase (if it was, as is frequently argued, “immigration, slow approval process, tax advantage (etc etc)” then why the property price crash?) What’d you want them to do – legislate a maximum rate of increase in value? Sure you did. In the words of wannabeCaptain Key: “It’s a market”.

    2) Electricity prices were high because the lakes were low. Build a f*cking bridge. The alternative would be for Labour to FORCE generators to build generation capacity that was, on average, unnecessary, resulting in long term prices being too low to deliver an appropriate return on capital (that is why all the generators aren’t falling over themselves to construct massive new capacity). If you think power prices are high enough to deliver a massive return on investment, start a power company!

    If you’re going to criticise Labour, please try not to do it in a way that’s demonstrably retarded.

    As for WFF – Electoral bribe or targeted tax relief if purely a matter of whether the complainer is a recipient or not. I’m sure Nationals proposed tax breaks for high earners have nothing to do with attempting to get the high-income vote, right? At least WFF has a sound underpinning social benefit.

    Can you think of any reason why people with children SHOULDN’T get tax relief? Cliched though it is, they ARE the future. Someone has to have them. Why shouldn’t a person who’s going to benefit from the contribution of someone elses children, but isn’t interested in having their own, contribute to the costs?

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