KiwiRail looks to cut 220 jobs
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 8:06a.m.
KiwiRail will axe up to 220 staff this year as it looks to cut its planned expenditure by $200 million over the next three years.
The company is consulting with staff on a proposal to cut between 170 and 220 staff from its infrastructure and engineering (I&E) arm, which currently has 1000 staff responsible for maintaining rail tracks, signals and level crossings, and providing mechanical services.
KiwiRail's I&E general manager Rick van Barneveld says that arm will reduce its previously planned $950 million expenditure to $750 million over the next three years after reassessing its operational plan and budgets.
"While I&E has made solid progress over the last couple of years in upgrading the national and metropolitan rail networks, we are now operating in tough trading conditions compounded by the Christchurch earthquakes," he said.
"To achieve these savings we are doing a thorough assessment of all costs across the I&E business and this includes a full consultation process with staff which is now under way."
Mr van Barneveld says the consultation is at the "very early stages".
"Making these changes to our original plan will help ensure KiwiRail remains on target to achieve financial sustainability by 2020."
He confirmed the cuts after NZ First MP Brendan Horan released slides from a KiwiRail presentation to staff about the cost-reduction plan.
The document says a decision on staff cuts will be made by the end of July, with the cuts in place by October.
Further staff cuts will take place in 2014.
Mr Horan believes the cuts are the start of a bigger plan to prepare KiwiRail for privatisation.
"This is a repeat of National's tired 1990s thinking when it sold the railway to a private owner which ran it into the ground," he said.
However, Finance Minister Bill English last week denied the Government planned to sell off the company, which was privatised in 1993 and bought back by the last Labour Government for $665 million in 2008.
Mr English's comments followed the announcement that KiwiRail's land and network assets will be written down from about $13.4 billion to about $6.7 billion.
The Rail and Maritime Union says it would be a “big mistake” to cut staff numbers while there are still major restoration efforts underway on the country’s rail network.
Union general secretary Wayne Butson says the organisation’s members are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposals.
“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,” says Mr Butson.
“Now is not the time to be shedding staff while this work takes place.”
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23/07/2012 2:48:29 a.m.
So rail isn't needed? I beg to differ. The problem isn't rail it's this attitude that everything except motorways are a burden.
18/07/2012 9:16:17 p.m.
How do you know they are 'unneeded'?
11/07/2012 9:05:46 a.m.
Man the UK is in a job predicament, word on the street? Is it a bit more denecnt to first ask the people/staff who would like to leave, maybe they have other skills or interests, or want to study, and keep the ones who are heppy in their job there, they will be the harder workers
10/07/2012 10:51:06 p.m.
Sounds like assert stripping to me.
This sounds like a rerun of last time
10/07/2012 8:50:57 p.m.
Back in days of sensible pickup / drop-off locations and logical fares, I used to catch the Trans Alpine maybe 10 or more times a year. With the existing regime I have travelled on the same, just once in the last 19 years! Very sad for me and my extended family....
10/07/2012 12:12:16 p.m.
Well, there goes another 300 to Aus. Last one out turn out the lights.
10/07/2012 12:11:32 p.m.
I hate it when stories like this are published in a vacuum. How about giving us some solid figures on how much KiwiRail lost in the last year and what it's annual profit/loss projections are until 20/20? While privatised it was run into the ground and of course there have been huge infrastructure costs since it was bought back. It's importance can only grow with fuel costs. Doing things like renaming the Overlander and cutting stops at places like Marton shows enormous lack of imagination. They'd be better to consider the Bay of Islands Cream trip as a tourism model, make more stops and encourage more local travellers. For me, it's 15 minutes to Marton and 15 minutes to Wanganui Airport but an hour to Fielding which is now the closest stop. I was really looking forward to my train trip to Auckland next month but I'm not going to leave our car in Fielding for a fortnight. Get real Key and Co. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
10/07/2012 10:36:58 a.m.
Where is the governments common sense? - One engine with 20 containers behind it must cost less that 20 trucks, Also passengers - Long distance travel for comfort and viewing, rail is the only way to travel. The problem is the price. Bring down the price to be competitive with buses and more people would travel by train. I know that I would.
10/07/2012 10:28:41 a.m.
good for kiwirail, it is there to be sustainable, not to waste money on unneeded jobs.
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