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KiwiRail blocks new work for Hillside and Hutt workshops

Dunedin South MP

23 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

KiwiRail blocks new work for Hillside and Hutt workshops

KiwiRail’s deliberate blocking of new contracts at its Hillside and Hutt workshops is preventing the creation of new skilled Kiwi jobs and is putting the Hillside workshop’s future in serious jeopardy, Labour MPs Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran said today.

This is the direct result of Government policy which is forcing KiwiRail to make bizarre and unsafe decisions - putting workers at risk and destroying highly-skilled jobs, says Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard.

“At a time when New Zealand is crying out for industries to create new jobs and to build our manufacturing capacity, KiwRail is advising potential new clients that both workshops are fully booked and cannot undertake new work,” he said.

This is despite the forced redundancy last year of 44 skilled rail workers from Hillside and threatened redundancies from the Hutt workshops, said Dunedin South MP Clare Curran.

“A damning internal KiwiRail report obtained by Labour shows that despite clear warnings about the impact the company’s current plans will have on jobs, safety and the viability of its business, the KiwiRail Board, driven by Government policy, is determined to run our national rail network into the ground.

“KiwiRail has refused to allow Dunedin’s Hillside Workshops to bid for new work, such as refurbishment of the Ganz Mavag trains for the Wellington metropolitan line and the modification of the Wairarapa train service.

“Since then, Hillside workshops have been put on the market and a KiwiRail business plan says that ‘in order to attract a suitable purchaser we will have to make available on-going rail work normally carried out at Hillside on contract…otherwise we will have to close the facility’.

“Is it the Government’s policy to deliberately turn new contract work away from Hillside workshops? If so, then this Government is gutting Dunedin’s core manufacturing and engineering industry, and compromising the safety of the KiwiRail workforce,” Clare Curran said.

ends

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