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Fight to Save KiwiRail Jobs Goes Countrywide

Fight to Save KiwiRail Jobs Goes Countrywide: BOP Workers Vote to Picket Arrival of Foreign Built Wagons

The battle to save KiwiRail
workers’ jobs at Dunedin’s Hillside workshops has spread
across the country.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union
members in Tauranga held a mass stop work meeting yesterday
and unanimously voted to take direct action to stop the
arrival and commissioning of the first batch of overseas
built wagons, which are due to arrive imminently.

“Our
members are calling upon KiwiRail and the Government to
abandon their plans to cut jobs at Hillside and Hutt
workshops. There are 40 jobs under threat in Dunedin and
another 30 are being targeted in the Hutt. This is a direct
consequence of KiwiRail’s decision to buy rolling stock
made overseas,” said RMTU National President Aubrey
Wilkinson, who works at the Port of Tauranga.

“Yesterday our members in the RMTU Rail and Port
branches in Tauranga voted to mount pickets to prevent
foreign built rolling stock getting on the track here in New
Zealand. We understand that the ship carrying the first
batch of overseas built wagons is due to arrive in the Port
of Tauranga any day now. We’re not going to let that
happen without putting up a fight,” said Aubrey Wilkinson.

“We have the support of our fellow members in the
Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ) and other RMTU branches
across the country. We’ll be calling meetings in Port
Chalmers and Wellington to hold similar votes as we
understand the ship carrying these wagons is also calling at
those ports.”

“This is a fight for jobs and skills in
New Zealand. The Government is the shareholder of KiwiRail.
They can, and they should, direct KiwiRail to stop buying
rolling stock overseas. We have the expertise to build the
wagons here and the flow-on benefits to the New Zealand
economy are huge,” said Aubrey Wilkinson.

“Hundreds
of jobs and dozens of businesses depend on work generated by
our rail workshops in Dunedin and the Hutt. This work
sustains our communities. All we’re asking the Government
to do is listen to us and to do the right thing for New
Zealand,” said Aubrey Wilkinson.

Full Text of
Resolutions:

This meeting of RMTU Bay of Plenty Branch:

• Directs KiwiRail to abandon its plans to slash jobs
at its Hillside and Hutt engineering plants and to invest in
the future of Hillside, Hutt and Rail Engineering in New
Zealand with a view to securing and creating high skill,
high wage jobs that help build and expand a sustainable rail
network

• To legislate for a government procurement
policy that ensures all SOEs and other government owned and
controlled entities take into account the interests of the
wider NZ economy and society in the purchase of goods and
services.

• That this combined meeting endorses the
call from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Rail Branches and
the Bay of Plenty Port Branch to organise a picket led by
our KiwiRail members at Tauranga when the CNR built wagons
arrive.

• That this combined meeting calls upon the ITF
to ban all CNR built wagons that are destined for NZ.

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