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Infratil are pissing into the wind

Written By: - Date published: 4:58 pm, October 13th, 2009 - 7 comments
Categories: public transport, scoundrels - Tags:

Day 6 of Infratil’s strike

Brian Rudman had a column yesterday that clearly articulated how Aucklanders view the bus strike by Infratil management at NZ Bus.

Only a few days ago, my bus had to take an unscheduled stop outside the public toilets in Victoria Park. The driver locked his money box then made the long and very public march to spend a proverbial penny. Chances are, he was on a 12-hour plus day as well, having to work a split shift, hanging around in the middle of the day for up to four hours unpaid.

Hard as it might be for the bankers to fathom, the 80,000 passengers inconvenienced by the lockout are sympathetic to the drivers, not to those trying to label them troublemakers.

As a bus commuter myself, I’m in complete agreement with Rudman, and getting more so as I hear the PR spin from NZ Bus. The other day I heard some moronic spin as a radio ad that implied that the whole thing was the fault of the bus drivers. It isn’t. We have a company of fuckwit managers chasing a 20% dividend and screwing public transport in Auckland in the process.

The union and the employers are clearly close to agreement on wages. The union is wanting to improve the working conditions so that their members can have appropriate piss-breaks. The unions and the bus drivers have said that they will commence industrial action by working exactly to their contract – as is their right. For some reason the company has considered that to be unreasonable (and I still haven’t heard why), so they have locked out the drivers and commuters like me.

As well as screwing public transport in Auckland this week, Infratil have also apparently been whinging about having to justify the subsidies that are being put into public transport.

This year, Infratil chief executive Marko Bogoievski told shareholders they “got totally hammered” by the passage of this act. However, Infratil director Tim Brown reassured them that all was not lost. “We’ve been given assurance by the Government that they will amend it.”

The “total hammering” Mr Bogoieveski was complaining about was simply a requirement that NZ Bus open its books wide enough to prove it deserves the huge subsidies.

In other words, this is a company with its snout deeply in the trough of the public purse, who are relying on their mates in government to make sure that we can’t see how deep. But they aren’t even competent enough to keep the bus service running. This is the principle of the Double Dipton – greed, a sense of entitlement, and bloody idiotic incompetence. They’d piss in the wind for ideological reasons rather than deal with the actual issues of getting a reliable bus service running. Foremost amongst those is dealing with their bus drivers in good faith as the number of passengers rapidly increases, without shafting them with poor working conditions and low wages.

Mike Lee is getting the process started of dropping Infratil from snuffling from the public trough while failing to deliver the services. Sounds like bloody good idea to me. Much better than Joyce (our ineffective transport minister) and his futile hand-wringing. It is better to re-build a public transport service so that doesn’t have such pig-headed idiots like Infratils management involved in it.

7 comments on “Infratil are pissing into the wind ”

  1. Jeremy 1

    It’s a lock-out Lynn, not a strike.

    • Daveo 1.1

      He’s calling it Infratil’s strike, implying that the company is taking strike action. Which, essentially, is what a lockout is.

    • lprent 1.2

      Yep that is the name under the act. However it means that the employers have withdrawn their assets. Sounds like a strike by the employers to me.

  2. toad 2

    Filthy scumbags are NZ Pus

    But they are losing the public relations battle, and thanks to Mike Lee and the ARC, might have to pull their horns in a bit.

    I saw nothing wrong with the days when the ARA provided the bus service. Why can’t we go back to that, instead of contracting it to a company that pays its workers shit and cancels the service because the workers decide to enforce the provisions of their employment agreement.

  3. Akldnut 3

    “The other day I heard some moronic spin as a radio ad that implied that the whole thing was the fault of the bus drivers”

    Went something like this……….Metrolink, Waka Pacific, Go West, North Star, Link and City Circuit bus services will not….as a result of industrial action by the the combined bus unions

    Makes me sick every time I hear it, how can “Work to rule” be tearmed industrial action unless they were working outside the rules previously?

    jarbury has a good piece on this over at http://transportblog.co.nz.

    Work-to-rule: an industrial action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of a workplace, and follow safety or other regulations to the letter in order to cause a slowdown rather than to serve their purpose.

    Strike
    : to declare or engage in a suspension of (work) until an employer grants certain demands, such as pay increases, an improved pension plan, etc.

    Lockout
    : the temporary closing of a business or the refusal by an employer to allow employees to come to work until they accept the employer’s terms.What part of working to rule is going to hurt NZ Bus (Infratil)?

    Here’s the bus drivers Work to Rule conditions – Not unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

    Here’s the NZ Bus lies

    What exactly are NZ Bus trying to avoid

    a.Longer times being spent on the road?
    b.Having to employ more staff to cover for late buses?
    c.Safer vehicles & conditions for the public & staff?
    d.Purchasing more buses that may be needed?
    e.Spending more money because the rules are being followed?
    f. Embarrassment at being shown up as an unscrupulous employer?
    g. All of the above!

  4. Rudman really hit the nail on the head with his article, and it just shows how bad Infratil is for Auckland’s public transport. They are pulling strings to rip the heart out of the key public transport management act (which will ensure the best value for money spent on public transport subsidies – heck even Rodney Hide voted for it!), they are trying to have another go at getting the integrated ticketing system for Auckland (ummm.. conflict of interest with their buses?) and now this.

    To be honest, I just can’t understand the logic of what NZ Bus is doing here. They have turned public opinion against themselves, they have seriously blown their last chance at the integrated ticketing system (probably a good thing), they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies from the ARC….. it’s just illogical what they’ve done.

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