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Auckland's main bus operator, Stagecoach, has listed almost 400 services it says passengers should not rely on until drivers lift work bans.
The bans start today and will be compounded tomorrow when bus services throughout South Auckland to Pukekohe halt between 11am and 3pm for a stopwork meeting at Stagecoach's big Wiri depot.
Full strikes are threatened from next week.
Most of 394 services listed on the company's website as being at greatest risk of disruption from work bans from today are those normally running between about 4.15pm and 8pm, meaning potential headaches for commuters trying to get home.
The company says it has identified the services as those most likely to be affected should a driver running late elect not to complete the last trip of the day's work.
"Stagecoach advises that you should not rely on these services and, if possible, please plan on using other services on the timetable that will not be affected by the current industrial action," it says.
But it also notes that the list is not exhaustive, and there are other services throughout the day which may be affected.
Evening travel after the times of greatest risk could in particular be affected if extraordinary problems on the road cause delays and the company says that "for safety reasons" these should not be relied on.
Almost 1000 drivers represented by four unions started working to rule last week and are today also adding a ban on voluntary overtime to their campaign for a 14.8 per cent pay rise to $16 an hour, compared with $13.94 an hour now.
The company is offering an initial 7.6 per cent, lifting the hourly rate to $15, to be followed by 2.2 per cent next year and the same percentage rise in 2007.
A stopwork meeting today at the company's small Panmure depot is not expected to cause much disruption. But a repeat action tomorrow at the much larger Wiri depot has the company warning passengers there will be no services in South Auckland from 11am to 3pm.
Services will reduce progressively from 9.30am as drivers start making their way to the meeting, but the unions have given the company an assurance school buses will run normally.
This will not be the case if drivers press ahead with plans for a one-day strike across the Auckland region next Monday, and for stoppages at two depots throughout each of four consecutive days the following week.
Combined unions advocate Gary Froggatt expressed disappointment yesterday that the company had not responded to an offer he made on Friday to resume pay talks over Easter, after 26 weeks of negotiations which the unions walked away from this month.
His approach implied that the company would be wasting its time unless it had something new to offer, however, and he told Stagecoach in an email that drivers' expectations indicated at a stopwork meeting last week were "fairly high".
But Stagecoach operations director Warren Fowler said last night that the company intended "actively seeking" a meeting with Mr Froggatt today.
Mr Froggatt said he looked forward to the meeting.