Striking Waikato bus drivers caused rolling delays for services after they blocked the buses from leaving the depot this morning.

The action by drivers comes after Go Bus issued a lock out notice on staff after they announced they wouldn't charge passengers after failed pay negotiations.

The lengthy, and now bitter, pay dispute has been happening for about 18 months with still no resolution in sight.

The drivers have been pushing a claim for the living wage which was currently set at $20.55 per hour, $4.05 more than the minimum wage set by the Government.


A Waikato Regional Council spokeswoman today said no Hamilton buses were able to operate for around two hours this morning due to union drivers blocking the entrances to the Go Bus depot and Transport Centre.

"Police were called and the first buses were able to roll out of the depot and Transport Centre about 7.45am.

"However, it's resulted in significant delays to our services.

"This will have impacted on our passengers across the city and in particular students, many of whom were due to sit NCEA and university exams today."

Go Bus has said its lockout notice will stand until the drivers drop their claim for the living wage.

The company has instead offered a 1.5 per cent pay rise.

Go Bus was contracted to run the bus service by the Waikato Regional Council.

Council chairman of the transport committee Russ Rimmington told the Herald on Friday the living wage was not included in the council contract to Go Bus.
"Waikato Regional Council has not got the appetite to put more money up because we have an annual plan process that we've budgeted.

"My personal sympathies are with the drivers but, actually, we are obliged to stick with what our Waikato Regional Council has contracted for."