In the lead up to Friday's bus strike, Auckland Transport says it's been accused of conspiring with a bus company to reduce pay for drivers.

A release from the agency says the content of a pamphlet being handed to passengers by Howick & Eastern Bus drivers is "blatantly untrue."

"In the pamphlet it is claimed Auckland Transport is working with Howick & Eastern to reduce weekend and extra hours pay rates," the AT release states.

A copy of a pamphlet provided by AT and addressed to "all Howick & Eastern bus passengers" apologises for inconvenience caused but says drivers were "forced to take industrial action."

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"The reason for this is that our wages and conditions are under attack from the management of Howick & Eastern and Auckland Transport.

"Now the company and Auckland Transport want to make things even worse by reducing our pay for weekends and excessive hours...

"All we are asking from the company is to be able to negotiate our agreement without reducing out work conditions and pay."

But AT bus services manager Brendon Main said the agency was not involved in pay negotiations between Howick & Eastern and its drivers.
"This dispute is solely between the drivers and their employer."

First Union organiser Rudd Hughes said the pamphlets were not accusing AT of conspiring with Howick & Eastern against workers.

"What we have said is that the tendering process is problematic for drivers because it works to drive their wages down."

More than 100 Howick & Eastern drivers, who are members of First Union, plan to strike on Friday.

More than 1,000 NZ Bus drivers will also strike on Friday.

The strike comes after almost two months of industrial action by drivers, including a week of continuous "work to rule" action and stop-work meetings.

NZ Bus, whose staff are represented by Tramways Union, has offered drivers a 1.7 per cent wage increase, taking hourly rates to $20.75 an hour. However, the union is asking for $21.

Bus services affected:

From 4am Friday 19 until 5.30am Saturday 20:

• Link

• MetroLink

• GoWest

• NorthStar

• Waka Pacific

• Most NiteRider services

• Some Howick & Eastern Buses.

For more info visit: www.AT.govt.nz or ring the AT call centre: (09) 366 6400.