A KiwiRail employee leaves the meeting in Dunedin
yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Just two of KiwiRail's Dunedin workers will be forced to
take redundancy, as nine other infrastructure and engineering
employees are voluntarily leaving the state-owned enterprise,
the Otago Daily Times has been told.
KiwiRail had about 70 infrastructure and engineering staff
based in Dunedin, half of whom attended a meeting with
management at the company's Strathallan St depot yesterday.
KiwiRail would not confirm the number of Dunedin
redundancies, but others spoken to after the meeting said 11
Dunedin staff would be lost in total.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) Otago Rail Branch
chairman Brian McKay said nine Dunedin workers had
volunteered for redundancy.
Mr McKay said it was a good result for those happy to take
redundancy packages and move on, allowing others the
opportunity to stay employed.
"It opens up positions for some of the other guys whose
positions will be disestablished," he said.
But, for Dunedin, the loss of11 skilled workers was
regrettable, Mr McKay said.
He blamed the Government for putting KiwiRail in a
"frustrating" financial position and forcing 158
infrastructure and engineering redundancies, 43 of which were
in the South Island.
"KiwiRail feels like the orphan child that the Government
doesn't want anything to do with.
It is effectively being starved of finances," he said.
Nine Christchurch workers also volunteered for redundancy
from KiwiRail's infrastructure and engineering division, and
four from Greymouth.
It meant an additional five redundancies in Christchurch, two
in Greymouth and three in Southland, Mr McKay said. He did
not have the Southland voluntary redundancy figure.
Nationwide, the division's 714 employees are being whittled
down to 556.
KiwiRail infrastructure and engineering general manager Rick
van Barneveld said redundancies were necessary to achieve
savings needed to make rail improvements.