NZ Bus says it will offer a further pay increase to its Auckland drivers, starting in December 2014, in an effort to avert strike action.
More than 800 drivers at Auckland's largest bus provider, members of First Union and the Tramways Union, are set to begin strike action on Monday after rejecting a pay offer which their own union negotiators had recommended they accept.
At a stopwork meeting on Monday, they narrowly rejected the offer, saying the pay rate wasn't enough to live on.
They plan to strike one day a week for nine weeks.
NZ Bus says it can't increase its immediate financial offer as it "would make us totally uncompetitive in the market" but it is prepared to offer extra money in the future.
"What we will do, in an effort to avoid pending strike action, is retable our offer of a further increase to $20.40 commencing December 2014 through to expiry of agreement in July 2015," NZ Bus chief operating officer Shane McMahon said.
Mr McMahon called on the unions to lift strike action and resume negotiating "to see if there are any other areas we can work on that are non-financial that may help us get across the line".
Union spokesman Karl Andersen said the union was available to meet with NZ Bus on Friday, provided the company didn't insist on any preconditions.
School buses provided by NZ Bus will be impacted by the strikes along with standard bus services.
NZ Bus runs more than half of Auckland's bus network, including North Star, Waka Pacific, Go West and various Link buses.
Bus services operated by Ritchies Transport, Howick & Eastern, Birkenhead Transport, Urban Express, Waiheke Buses, Northern Express and Airbus services are not affected.