Transport workers in New Zealand staged a rally in defence of jobs at a subsidiary of the country’s railway operator.
Some 2,000 people attended the rally on 9 July in the city of Dunedin. They were pressing the government to rethink the 40 job cuts at Hillside Railway workshops in South Dunedin, an inner city suburb. Hillside Railway, which is a subsidiary of the publicly owned KiwiRail, produces railway wagons for the New Zealand rail industry. The rally was backed by Dunedin mayor Dave Cull.
KiwiRail said that commercial reasons are behind a move to secure a standardised wagon fleet from an offshore source. This week a ship carrying some 100 Chinese-built wagons is due to arrive at the Port of Tauranga.
Following RMTU’s response to the proposed job cuts, KiwiRail management extended the consultation period with employees and union delegates. They were due to advise RMTU Hillside members of the result of their deliberations on 14 July. So far there has been no news.
Mark Davis, ITF deputy Asia Pacific regional secretary, said: "Railways in New Zealand started life under a government department that was corporatised, then disastrously sold to a private US railway operator and as a result had to be re-nationalised for the sake of the New Zealand travelling public. Whenever New Zealand transport unions and their members witness a negative impact on local jobs, resistance is demanded.”