About 30 Auckland Transport contractors descended on the Viaduct this morning for their second protest, amid growing discontent with industry working conditions and job losses.

Union flags were flown and protesters held placards while chanting "fair pay, all the way".

Representatives from Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and First Union presented two petitions to Auckland Councillor Mike Lee - unions said each petition had about 5000 signatures.

Both unions had different goals but Rodd Hughes from First Union said they joined forces as they were both transport unions and had similar interests.


RMTU protested against the removal of train managers, which organiser Stuart Johnstone said could see up to 200 workers lose their jobs.

"But job losses isn't our major focus - our major focus is safety.

"We've been advocating for several years that a way to improve the safety on the network is to actually increase the number of staff on the network, not take them off," Johnstone said.

"Our train managers really are the happy face and they're a safety critical role, they're there for the safety of our passengers."

However, Auckland Transport spokesman James Ireland said in a statement that Transdev's consultation with the Rail and Maritime Transport Union was still underway, and there were no immediate changes to the train manager role planned.

"Our primary objective of the SaFE (Security and Fare Enforcement) project has always been public safety. This is why we introduced the transport officer role and are installing electronic gates at more stations. Transport officers are trained to assist customers including in first aid matters and are very much a happy face," an Auckland Transport spokesperson said.

Ireland said Auckland Transport had received the two petitions and would be looking closely at them.

The petitions would be used as part of the ongoing consultation process.


Hughes introduced Mike Lee as one of their "allies" when he got up to speak at the protest.

Lee said he was there to give support to RMTU and First Union members who he felt were being unfairly treated by Auckland Transport.

"As a councillor I believe I'm responsible, those people are working for us and they deserve better than a kick in the teeth that Auckland Transport are planning for them."

First Union called for industry standards for Auckland bus drivers across the board, fair wages and the introduction of an ethical tendering process.

First Union spokesman Phil Morgan said the Public Transport Operating Model had been unfair to all those in the industry, particularly the drivers.

Rudd Hughes from First Union said the reality of the operating model was that tendering went to the lowest possible bidders and it basically drove conditions for drivers down.

Morgan said the union felt optimistic with the new Labour Government and hoped strike action could be avoided in lieu of productive discussion.

"We know these people, there are lot of people at the top of the Government now who are ex-unionists themselves, so they know where we're coming from."

"They know what were fighting for. We're fighting for the rights of workers," Morgan said.