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March 12, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Union Rail Strikes Resolved

After four Rail and Maritime Union strikes in the four months since the Labour Government took office, the strikes were resolved on 5 March 2018 through negotiation with French rail company Transdev. The new collective contract has been ratified by both parties.

The fourth strike commenced on 27 February 2018. It was originally planned as a three-week strike to protest train drivers working overtime in Auckland. Services ran at twenty minute intervals rather than the usual ten minute intervals during peak hours.

In order to cope with the strikes, additional carriages were added to the Eastern, Western and Southern lines where it was possible, as well as extra bus services being added to bolster the less frequent train services across Auckland.

The Rail and Maritime Union has been in debate with Transdev over their plans to do away with train managers, in favour of driver-only trains. After a week of deliberation, a joint statement was released to say that Transdev and the Rail Union plan to work together “constructively and cooperatively” to resolve these issues.

National’s spokesperson for transport Judith Collins says that the Labour Government has “emboldened” unions to protest the system.

Labour writes in their transportation policy that they aim to create a “modern transport system, to make our country even better after nine years of under-investment…under National”. No specific measures for achieving this are outlined in the policy.

Labour Transport Minister Phil Twyford has floated the idea of cheaper public transport fares to reduce traffic and congestion in both Auckland and Wellington.

Neither Twyford nor the media representative for Auckland Transport could be reached for comment, however Twyford’s proposition has received support from both Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and Auckland City Councillor Chris Darby.


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