KiwiRail, union extend redundancy talks

KiwiRail and the union representing some of its workers have agreed to extend talks on a proposal to cut 40 jobs. File photo / Bay of Plenty Times
KiwiRail and the union representing some of its workers have agreed to extend talks on a proposal to cut 40 jobs. File photo / Bay of Plenty Times

KiwiRail and the union representing some of its workers have agreed to extend talks on a proposal to cut 40 jobs at Dunedin Hillside Railway workshop after deciding to spend $29 million on 300 Chinese-built wagons instead of havingf them built locally.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) organiser John Kerr today said both parties had agreed to extent the consultation period by one week to July 8.

"Whilst the talks were generally constructive, the RMTU is clear that we have to maintain the pressure on the Government to save these jobs and the future of the workshops," he said.

"We've called a rally in Dunedin on Saturday July 9 to send a message to the minister (Transport Minister Steven Joyce) that his Government, as the shareholder of KiwiRail, has a responsibility to these workers and to Dunedin."

Mr Kerr said "hundreds, if not thousands" of jobs depended on Hillside to keep operating.

"Hillside is very much the beating heart of south Dunedin, there are dozens of small and medium size businesses that rely on Hillside for their livelihoods," he said.

"The business community, the mayor and the local opposition MPs are supporting us, environmental groups like Greenpeace are on board and the people of Dunedin have been tremendous. All we have to do is convince the Government."

Mr Kerr said the union had agreed to address the workshop's productivity in return for more information to make submissions.

KiwiRail is also consulting on a proposal to cut 30 jobs from its Woburn workshop in Lower Hutt.

- NZPA

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