The Herald reports:
A deal has been struck over paid breaks for bus drivers that will avoid the previously anticipated enormous disruption of public transport – and loss of wages for drivers.
It had been predicted that thousands of bus services a day would have been cancelled, but in Auckland that is now understood to be in the low hundreds and mainly off-peak services.
Bus companies, unions, regional councils and the Government have reached a temporary agreement “to achieve the smoothest possible transition” in the first year after changes to the Employment Relations Act come into effect next Monday.
Under the Act bus drivers will become entitled to paid 10-minute rest breaks in the middle of each work period. But a new regulation will temporarily override part of that entitlement.
The Government was warned that legislating “tea” breaks would lead to massive problems because of the lack of flexibility. They just don’t get it that you can’t treat pilots and bus drivers the same as office workers.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today the Cabinet had agreed to a new land transport rule that aims to avert thousands of bus services being cancelled and give bus drivers the rest breaks they need to keep passengers safe.
Twyford’s office said in a statement: “The changes to the Employment Relations Act require employers and employees to reach agreement on rest and meal breaks together. If agreement can’t be reached rest breaks are to be taken in the middle of a work period.”
He said the new rule gave flexibility to bus operators when scheduling rest breaks for drivers.
A daft law with no flexibility. Imagine every train and bus stopping for ten minutes halfway through a journey.
He said that without the new rule 25 to 30 per cent of bus services would have been cancelled.
A problem caused by Labour.