Kiwirail management will meet staff in Dunedin today to
deliver bad news about job cuts in its infrastructure and
The company yesterday confirmed 40 jobs would go from its
Southern operations, but did not specify from which centres
the jobs would be lost.
KiwiRail has about 45 infrastructure and engineering workers
in Dunedin, including track maintenance workers,
communications staff and structure inspectors.
It is understood KiwiRail management will talk to workers in
Invercargill at 9am, before travelling to Dunedin for a 1pm
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union had estimated 16
Dunedin jobs would be axed, but Otago Rail branch secretary
Tim Spence yesterday said it was unclear how many jobs were
on the line.
He said it would be good to finally know.
"Everybody's anxious. Nobody likes uncertainty. Everyone
wants to know in black and white how many jobs are going."
The RMTU said in July it was suggested that job cuts could be
as high as 220 nationally, but that had come down to 158.
Union general secretary Wayne Butson said that after
voluntary redundancies and not filling vacancies, the number
of compulsory redundancies was down to 29.
He said the reduction in job cuts was welcome, but they still
went too deep.
"We fought hard to save as many jobs we could. With rotting
Peruvian sleepers and hundreds of wooden bridges beyond their
centenary of service, the last thing KiwiRail should be doing
is laying off skilled workers."
Vital rail work would not get done or would be delayed which
would compromise safety and performance, he said.
KiwiRail infrastructure and engineering general manager Rick
van Barneveld said staff would be formally advised this week
about which roles would be disestablished.
Every effort would be made to find those people other
positions at KiwiRail, he said.
Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran said every job lost was
another blow to the city's economy, especially as the
Hillside Workshops were also under threat.
"KiwiRail is undertaking a programme at the Government's
behest [to find savings] which is gutting our regions, and
Dunedin is seriously afflicted.
"Where is our local National MP on these issues?
"He is accountable, what's he got to say?
"He can't pretend it's not happening."
National List MP Michael Woodhouse, of Dunedin, said he had
not heard "for all Labour's drum beating" it offering to
invest money in Hillside.
"Are they prepared to go back to the pockets of hard-working
taxpayers and tell them to pay more in order to sustain
Hillside?" he asked.
He said every job loss was hard, particularly when it was
skilled manufacturing jobs, but his Government had done more
than any other in the past 140 years to invest in KiwiRail
and turn its fortunes around.
KiwiRail is still trying to sell South Dunedin's Hillside
Last month, a leaked KiwiRail report indicated the workshops
would be closed unless sold.