"A million and one questions" are being put to KiwiRail
by Hillside workers wanting to know conditions of their
redundancy, exactly when they will be expected to finish and
how outstanding work can be completed in time, union members
About 95 of Hillside's 115 staff are members of the Rail and
Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) and almost all attended a
meeting at the South Dunedin workshops yesterday morning.
It was the workers' first opportunity to discuss collectively
last week's announcement by KiwiRail that 90 staff would be
made redundant in a partial closure of the workshops.
RMTU Hillside branch secretary Les Ingram, who is facing
redundancy, said workers had "a million and one questions"
for KiwiRail and the meeting was a chance for those to be
received by the union and put to the state-owned enterprise.
RMTU South Island organiser John Kerr said workers also
needed a chance to "vent" because the announcement was still
He said KiwiRail's consultation period with workers ended on
November 28, and a final announcement would be made by
KiwiRail on December 3.
He did not expect KiwiRail's proposal of 90 redundancies to
change significantly, but there could be a chance to save one
or two more jobs.
"We talked about the seven jobs being kept in the heavy lift,
and whether that would be enough to operate it. There is also
a fair amount of work to be done before KiwiRail closes the
project and fabrication shops, and we want to know whether it
is realistic to get work completed by December 21," he said.
Work included building rail wagons.
Mr Kerr said union members were also curious about the terms
and conditions of working for Bradken, which has leased the
Hillside foundry amid plans to consolidate its Dunedin
operation at the site.
The union would make sure Hillside workers got everything
they were entitled to from KiwiRail, he said.