The Wellington transport operator Metlink is telling the capital’s commuters that they might have to work from home or reduce their travel during a planned strike by Kiwirail workers on December 17.
Metlink’s general manager Scott Gallacher said the strike didn’t involve Metlink or the rail operator Transdev, but it would shut down the train control system which was run by Kiwirail, grinding the whole network to a halt.
“Regrettably, it’s unlikely we will be able to replace all of the impacted train services with buses, but will provide an update on this once we have worked through the logistics,” Gallacher said.
Where possible, Wellingtonians should consider working from home and reducing their travel. Updates would be provided on their website, social media and app. The strike will not affect buses or the East by West ferry.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union members will strike across two days in both the North and South Islands, in support of an 8 per cent pay increase demand after no pay increase in 2020.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson said the union served state-owned KiwiRail with the strike notice on November 18.
South Island members planned to strike on December 16, and North Island member the day after. As train control functions for the whole country are located in the North Island, the South Island would be affected on both days.
Butson said the decision to strike was supported by a large majority of Maritime Transport Union members.
He says KiwiRail senior management received huge bonuses in the 2020/2021 financial year. Butson argued workers should share the rewards for the huge tonnages moved during lockdown.
Rail workers were essential workers, Butson said, who had played a part in keeping New Zealand rolling through the pandemic.
“Rail workers are very aware of the importance of their work to New Zealand’s transport needs, and have taken this action because there has not been an acceptable offer forthcoming from management.”
Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/127079048/wellington-commuters-advised-to-stay-home-reduce-travel-during-kiwirail-workers-strike-on-december-17615