KiwiRail cuts 'big mistake' - rail union
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 2:54p.m.
The union representing railway workers says the proposed job cuts at KiwiRail will see skilled track workers leave for Australia where rail is experiencing rejuvenation.
This morning, KiwiRail revealed it needs to save $200 million over the next four years and up to 220 jobs may be culled to do so.
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union says the cuts will be a “big mistake” because significant work still needs to be done to improve the efficiency of the network.
The union’s general secretary Wayne Butson says key skilled workers will be lost under KiwiRail’s proposal.
“Workers fear that this current initiative by KiwiRail may herald another major departure of key rail skills to Australia where the rejuvenation of rail transport is a Government priority," says Mr Butson.
“Major investment and considerable work remains to be done if we are to restore New Zealanders’ track and infrastructure asset to its pre-corporatisation/privatisation standard of the early 1990s. Now is not the time to be shedding staff while this work takes place.”
The workers in the union were overwhelmingly against the cuts after being told the news by KiwiRail management, he says.
“There has been job growth with high recruitment, which has seen a lot of young people employed, especially young Maori workers. The future of the KiwiRail workforce needs to be looked after and retained,” says Mr Butson.
More meetings with staff are planned this week in Marlborough, Otago and Southland.
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