'Someone could die' - rail workers speak out
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 6:27p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
Kiwirail workers are warning the Government that they or the public may die because of poor maintenance on the main trunk line.
It comes as 181 workers face losing their jobs, but Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says their claims are "a beat-up".
Kiwirail workers in Hamilton arrived late today for a stopwork meeting, angry 181 workers are being laid off nationwide. Many do maintenance work on the main trunk line, which they now claim is dangerous as sleepers are loose and rotting.
"We don't want to see any one get killed, it's as simple as that," says Paul Spanswick. "We don't want to see anyone die."
The workers say there have been six derailments in six weeks.
"A train could come off and be derailed," says Mr Spanswick.
At a level crossing at Ruffel Rd, north of Hamilton, that 3 News was taken to today sleepers are loose and the line moves.
"It's a ticking time bomb," says Mr Spanswick.
One of the workers who arrived for the stopwork meeting today told 3 News: "These sleepers are bouncing up and down like a trampoline. Something will give, a wheel will jump off the track. I'm concerned for our workers and for the public – someone could die."
But Mr Brownlee says it's not a problem.
"I think the issue about the sleepers is being over beaten-up."
Kiwirail has identified 7000 sleepers that need replacing.
"I'm extremely concerned," says NZ First MP Brendan Horan. "We've got to stop this insane turnaround plan, lives are at risk here."
Ministers sought safety assurances from Kiwirail management last night.
"They tell us they are taking that very, very seriously and we're taking their advice they have got it under control," says State-Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall.
New Zealand First wants an inquiry into the state of the main trunk line, and Kiwirail workers are clearly voicing their concerns – but the Government says it's simply not necessary.
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24/08/2012 8:40:31 p.m.
as for safty it only applies when management wants it to other wise its ignored
24/08/2012 6:49:44 a.m.
@DAVID, That's a good one, can I use that, You will find Track maintenance in NZ is not simple, in fact if we new then what we no now we would never have put rail to 70% of NZ. we invest in Two super Tampers that can only manage 40% of our lines while we pay gangers 14 hour a day wages that only get 5 hours work done, The rail pumps because water get to the sub base so we get a lot of Pumping, in summer it Heat that expands the Line (heat rail) so when the rail gets to a certain temp we send a Highrailer out to inspect for breaks or line expansion, Derails happen all the time in yards, chunters are the worst, Mate I no were a chunter sent a remote unite down the main line, Sleepers are in short supply because we need them to float Christchurch, Kiwi rail does not have the gear to fix the Lines but Contractors Do and they need the staff with tickets to get the work, the men that get redundancies will be picked up by contractors.
23/08/2012 10:44:56 p.m.
@ Mike- national government is investing 30 times more of new infrastructure spending on roads and highways than all other forms of transport combined. They're saying the money for the kiwirail turnaround plan just isn't there yet they're spending 12 billion on RONS that (at their own admission) have cost to benefit ratio's of less than one. As a student I'm appalled at the decisions this national government have made that jeopardise my future and i would be very suprised if they win the next election because like many other young people my age who are just becoming eligible to vote, i'm voting green in the next election. National do not listen to or represent people like me or anything concerning my future. They are business-as usual, dithering, dallying expidents of rational utility maximisers and outdated economic theory who only act in their own self-interest in a time of radical social change. They are becoming out-dated. So is the whole concept of left vs right.
23/08/2012 4:52:49 p.m.
LOL cant attack the truth so you attack the person Brent.. thats very very weak minded.
23/08/2012 3:55:39 p.m.
Your Back Clarke, We no your rich Maori/Women/Beneficiaries Hate post anywhere, I didn't think you were allowed to post any more, Mate you have Used DAVID post name and not Told him,
23/08/2012 11:35:34 a.m.
@Mike absolute nonsense from Nationals paid mouthpiece again.
I understand that the sleepers that were brought in by National were already rotting in the containers.. and workers were told to still use them.
But we all know National are used to taking shortcuts... looking at the leaky home saga that cost us 11.5 Billion dollars in damages.. thanks to Nationals deregulation of the building industry.
23/08/2012 9:56:46 a.m.
@Mike B lol thats rich coming from you who posts hates messages against Maori, women and beneficiaries.
I stated the facts... what Katrina was doing was what she normally does... blaming the workers when it wasnt their fault.
Mike B, Aiden, and Katrina have a nasty habit of blaming workers for something that is clearly the owners or managements fault.
When it comes to Mike B he denegrates women and just about every other group he comes across.
23/08/2012 9:09:31 a.m.
More unimformed bias.Take a look at how many sleepers are being replaced each year, the number has actually risen i the last few years because national is actually do more to maintain the rail lines than Labour did.But thats real information, not a leftist beat up. Just last year the left were complaining because the govternment purchased some south american sleepers as a stop-gap measure becuase the were replacing more sleepers than they had, with the contrete sleepers the prefered sleeper of choice for replacement as they last longer than wood.If more maintanence is more dangerous, its because union labour is telling its members to do a shoddy job.
23/08/2012 8:59:22 a.m.
KATRINA, nope, in fact labour cut back on it, ad worse there is High Speed cables laid down the tracks for internet that labour abandoned. AMANDA KEY, rubbish, i go over the crossing daily, put your glass on because those crossings are well maintained in temuka.
23/08/2012 8:24:51 a.m.
If turning Kiwi Rail Round is the agenda here The sensible thing to do would be to get rid some of the Management and let the real workers get on with the job
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