Greater Wellington and bus operator Kinetic, formerly known as NZ Bus, are pleased to announce an agreement has been reached to increase driver wages.
The funding agreement comes after the Government provided additional funding to increase driver wages to an effective average pay rate of $30 an hour.
Metlink Group Manager Samantha Gain says drivers are the backbone of public transport and the pay increase is recognition of the essential service they provide to communities across the Wellington region.
“The announcement is fantastic news and a reflection of the productive meetings we have had with Kinetic to work through the complexity of historic pay calculations, contractual obligations and the ratepayer and central government contributions so we can speed up payments to drivers,” says Samantha Gain.
Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport Committee, says paying drivers what they are worth has been an important focus for the council in this triennium.
“We are very pleased to have everything in place now so drivers can get the back pay that they’ve been waiting for,” says Cr Nash.
Kinetic, along with other Greater Wellington bus operators, has committed to the payment back dated to 1 April.
Calum Haslop, Head of Kinetic in New Zealand, says the agreement was welcome news.
“Today we were delighted to inform drivers that we now have confirmation of the exact funding we will receive to support further wage increases, to achieve an increase of the average hourly rate, and a flat rate of at least $30 per hour.
“We are now able to process the much awaited back pay to 1 April 2023. We expect to finalise the formal agreement with Greater Wellington and Metlink over the coming few weeks and look forward to receiving and passing on the funding,” says Mr Haslop.
In March 2023, the regional council agreed to apply money for the uplift from the Government’s $61m Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The fund is available to Public Transport Authorities (PTAs) over four years to improve driver recruitment and retention.
CERF is subject to PTAs matching Crown funding and bus operators agreeing to increase wages to at least match future wage indexation on an ongoing basis.
All parties, as well as unions, agreed to the uplift, which sees Metlink bus driver wages increase to an average of $30 an hour in urban areas and $28 an hour in the regions.