Ritchies public transport drivers receive Living Wage

Environment Canterbury are pleased to have partnered with Ritchies Transport to pay their Christchurch bus drivers the Living Wage.

In July this year, Environment Canterbury Council approved the investigation and implementation of a base driver wage that was equivalent to the Living Wage that came into effect on 1 September 2021, of $22.75 per hour.

Ritchies will also apply the previous Living Wage of $22.10 between 1 July and 31 August. All payments will be backdated and paid by the end of October to drivers.

In principle agreement was reached with Ritchies Transport in the last week of September and contract documentation formalising this agreement was finalised on Tuesday this week.

Environment Canterbury General Manager of Public Transport Stewart Gibbon said he is pleased that all Christchurch-based Ritchies drivers will now earn the 1 September 2021 Living Wage as a base rate.

“Drivers help provide an essential service and are considered an essential service themselves.

“Seeing how graciously they’ve taken on the challenges that COVID-19 has presented is a real credit to their resiliency and commitment in providing a great service for our community,” he said.

Environment Canterbury and Ritchies are currently finalising agreements for Timaru drivers and anticipate completing this within the next week.

Contract variation process

A contract variation process is required for changes to public transport operator contracts, including new funding. This ensures that all parties are comfortable with any contract or funding changes.  

“These are complex negotiations and agreements so it’s important we take the time to make sure everyone is happy, or to make amendments if needed,” Gibbon said.

“COVID-19 slowed down this process but we’re glad that the paperwork is behind us, and the funding can be passed onto Ritchies and their drivers,” he said.

Stop work meeting withdrawn

Following discussion with Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand (AWUNZ) on the complexities of these negotiations, and recognising the fact that progress continues to be made, AWUNZ have taken the decision to withdraw the stop work meeting that was planned for Monday 18 October.