Auckland's passenger trains might grind to a halt after train workers voted overwhelmingly for strike action.
About 500 members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union who worked for the French multi-national company Transdev backed the strike, as part of their resistance to a proposed scrapping of train managers and ticket inspectors.
Union organiser John Kerr said a ballot on the strike returned an 84 per cent vote in favour of industrial action, a clear message to Transdev that unless they abandoned the idea to introduce driver-only operation his members would strike.
Kerr hoped talks with Transdev would occur as early as tomorrow or Monday.
"We have been in collective bargaining since May and the sticking point is our claim rejecting driver-only operation.
"We have requested urgent talks with Auckland Transport and Transdev today to try and resolve this issue through discussion, however our members are resolute: they do not want to inconvenience passengers but they will not compromise public safety,'' he said.
Kerr said if the plan went ahead the railway would become a "criminal's paradise".
"Uniformed staff deter criminal and anti-social behaviour and it's vital they are on every train. Furthermore, getting rid of on-board staff endangers the travelling public as these people are first responders in the event of medical emergencies and on-board and trackside incidents."
Meanwhile, Wellington's rail workers are striking again tomorrow - the second time in two weeks.
Workers will strike from 2am until midnight over dissatisfaction with how they are treated by their employers - Transdev and Hyundai Rotem.
"Despite going into mediated bargaining, there's been no meaningful change from Transdev and Hyundai," Wayne Butson, rail and marine transport union advocate, told the Herald.
The first strike, for two hours on November 16, was the first to hit the Wellington rail system for 20 years.