11 KiwiRail jobs to go in Dunedin; nine take redundancy

A KiwiRail employee leaves the meeting in Dunedin yesterday.  Photo by Craig Baxter.
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.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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