KiwiRail cuts mostly high-skill positions
Mon, 24 Sep 2012 6:06p.m.
By Tony Field
KiwiRail has confirmed 158 workers are going from its infrastructure and maintenance arms across New Zealand. The only good news for workers is that it could have been worse.
Auckland rail workers were among the first to be briefed on the job cuts but were reluctant to talk to 3 News afterwards.
Their union says it is provincial New Zealand bearing the brunt of the layoffs.
“The small rural communities – the Taihapes, the Taumaranuis, the Whanganuis – all of those small communities, and I know I am focusing on central New Zealand, but it’s those small areas that are really going to hurt,” says Rail and Maritime Union general secretary Wayne Butson.
He says workers are paying the price for a lack of investment, but KiwiRail says $750 million is being put in over three years. It says turning around the network will take years, but right now it hopes further job cuts can be avoided.
“Our job is to work this restructure though, get ourselves in the right shape so we can charge ahead,” says KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn. “You never know what could affect us in the long term, but there are no plans at this time.”
KiwiRail rejects union suggestions that cutting maintenance staff will compromise safety on its 4000km network.
“We absolutely understand our responsibilities as a company and safety underpins everything we do,” says Mr Quinn.
The union says the workers whose jobs are going are highly skilled, specialising in areas like radio control and signalling systems.
“I was talking to one last week and he put his CV together and put it up on an international skill website, and within three hours had more than 20 job offers,” says Mr Butson.
He says more than 70 staff are taking voluntary severance. He predicts many of the workers who have opted for voluntary redundancy will be heading to Australia, where he says there are plenty of jobs on offer.
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25/09/2012 8:24:07 a.m.
Rails a dead duck, it cant compete on passenger services with the govt own airlines, its freight is limited to a key core lines. With baby boomers retiring the good times are over.
24/09/2012 11:54:27 p.m.
MacDonald Paul Gourlie wrote:
Kia Ora if Jim Quinn can not think of how to keep these jobs then ought to give up his position as ceo until he can demonstrate he has the ability to be a New Zealand manger ... even the most loyal National Party member will want to look after our national railways... Yea Right!!!
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