More than 4000 rail and port workers throughout New Zealand
are being included in a brief stop-work on Friday in support
of redundant Hillside workers.
The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) has asked all
its members to put their tools down for two minutes at 11am
on Friday, when Hillside workers will hold a ceremony at the
gates of the defunct South Dunedin workshops.
It will be the last day for 35 Hillside staff, and the end of
130 years of full operation at the facility.
Thirty staff finished work on December 7 and another 20 will
be made redundant as soon as they finish closing down all but
Hillside's foundry and heavy lift capacity.
Bradken has leased the foundry and employed 21 former
Hillside workers to staff it.
KiwiRail will keep seven Hillside staff employed for the
heavy lift, at least until its Christchurch equipment is
RMTU Hillside branch secretary Les Ingram said all were
welcome to attend the Friday ceremony outside Hillside's main
Wreaths will be laid at the WW1 and WW2 memorials on site,
which acknowledged Hillside staff killed in battle.
Members of the public were invited to lay a cut flower
alongside, Mr Ingram said.
He hoped all Hillside staff would attend, but said many were
still extremely upset about the facility's partial closure
and mass redundancies.
''There is a lot of emotion at the moment. It's quite
distressing to see people that have worked here all their
life looking around the place for the last time, and people
taking photographs,'' Mr Ingram said.
He had invited members of parliament and other Dunedin
leaders to the ceremony, and said some planned to address the
RMTU members included about 3500 rail and 900 port workers.
Associated union members were also invited to take part in
Hillside workers would have a ''last ever wind-up'' function
following the ceremony, Mr Ingram said.
''We live in hope Hillside will rise again,'' he said.