Wellington trains out of action for 24 hours during strike

by Laura Dooney / 15 November, 2017

Wellington commuters will have to find an alternative to trains tomorrow. Photo / GWRC

Wellington train workers will strike tomorrow, affecting up to 30,000 rail passengers across the region, over removal of longstanding conditions from their contracts.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union members said the strike - for 24 hours from 2am tomorrow- would be the biggest industrial action on Wellington's railways since 1994.

It will affect commuter trains across the region including Wairarapa, the Hutt Valley and Kāpiti Coast, and may disrupt the Northern Explorer and Capital Connection from Palmerston North.

In a statement, Metlink said there would be no train services for the duration, with no buses to replace them. Manager of rail operations Angus Gabara said they advised commuters to allow extra travel time on the roads as well because of the disruption.

The union's general secretary Wayne Butson said employers Transdev Wellington and Hyundai Rotem, which operate and maintain Wellington's rail network, were trying to remove longstanding conditions from staff collective agreements.

He said strike action was their only alternative after months of negotiations. "To get the regional council's attention, to get the regional mayors' attention because, remember, the regional mayors make up the transport committee of the Wellington regional council and they oversee all of the public transport contracts."

Mr Butson said the regional council at the time had written protections into the tender document.

"There was a requirement that for the rail contract the new employer would take the rail staff on their existing terms and conditions of employment. What that's shown is that that merely gave us a 12-month window of protection, and those employers, the minute they got to the table were coming after those terms and conditions of employment."

Transdev said it had accepted all the RMTU's claims and offered a package that would increase pay and allowances by 2 percent.

It said it respected its employees' decision but was disappointed the union had decided to strike.

It would continue to negotiate with union members in good faith.

Mr Butson said the union had a mandate to call a strike between 13 November and 1 December.

Union members went on strike for two hours last month over the same issue.

This article was originally published by RNZ.

Latest

The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh removal
108377 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

The new robotic surgery aiding vaginal mesh remova…

by Ruth Nichol

Women with complications caused by deeply embedded vaginal mesh are being helped by a pioneering surgical technique.

Read more
A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can teach us
108544 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Health

A beautiful mind: What people with Alzheimer's can…

by Fergus Riley

North Auckland farmer Fergus Riley has uncovered many important lessons in caring for his father Peter, who has Alzheimer’s.

Read more
Instagram's trial to hide the number of 'likes' could save users' self-esteem
108617 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Psychology

Instagram's trial to hide the number of 'likes' co…

by Joanne Orlando

Instagram is running a social media experiment to see what happens when it hides the number of likes on photos and other posts.

Read more
The Hawke's Bay farm producing meat of uncommon quality
108594 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Food

The Hawke's Bay farm producing meat of uncommon qu…

by Simon Farrell-Green

Duncan Smith and Annabel Tapley-Smith weren’t satisfied with producing meat of uncommon quality. So they bought a butchery.

Read more
When biodegradable plastic is not actually biodegradable
108562 2019-07-19 00:00:00Z Planet

When biodegradable plastic is not actually biodegr…

by Isabel Thomlinson

A study on biodegradable plastic bags found they were still intact after three years spent either at sea or buried underground.

Read more
Brexit-torn England needs the Cricket World Cup more than we do
108521 2019-07-18 10:26:20Z World

Brexit-torn England needs the Cricket World Cup mo…

by The Listener

Amid the agony of defeat, we must remember that the UK is in such terrible shape politically that it deserves to cherish this flickering flame of...

Read more
Trades Hall bombing case re-opened, evidence released
108515 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z Crime

Trades Hall bombing case re-opened, evidence relea…

by RNZ

Caretaker and unionist Ernie Abbott was killed almost instantly when he picked up the suitcase containing the bomb.

Read more
Where to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing
108504 2019-07-18 00:00:00Z What's on

Where to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing

by The Listener

On the big screen, the small screen, the page or the ceiling, here's where you can toast the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Read more