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Transdev union busting risks provoking Auckland strike

Auckland train staff accuse their employer, Transdev, of devoting more energy to union busting than reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.

Hundreds of Rail and Maritime Transport Union members are currently voting whether to consider strike action, and the union warns company belligerence has increased the likelihood of Auckland trains grinding to a halt in the near future.

“Transdev say one thing at the bargaining table then do another, and it’s put negotiations on a fast track to nowhere,” says RMTU organiser Rudd Hughes.

The foreign multi-national company, hired by Auckland Transport with ratepayer money, has offered a minority of employees on individual agreements an increased number of sick days per year, despite refusing to offer the same to union members.

In exchange for more sick days a year, those on individual agreements must give up a clause in the collective agreement which allows workers to spend four hours or less at their doctor or dentist without it counting toward overall sick leave.

“It’s a blatant attempt to split the union and pressure our members onto individual contracts,” says Mr Hughes.

“Rail workers aren’t stupid, and most realise this offer gives them something with one hand while taking more away from them with the other.”

The union says ratepayers and politicians should ask Transdev hard questions about why it spends public money on dirty tricks instead of seeking a fair compromise with staff.

“We wish the company would spend less time trying to divide and conquer, and more time around a table with us negotiating in good faith,” says RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson.

“I’d like to apologise to Auckland commuters, on behalf of Transdev Managing Director Michael Ladrak, for any inconvenience he causes by provoking a strike our union has done everything possible to avoid.”

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