4 Dec 2012

Hillside job losses confirmed

12:03 am on 4 December 2012

KiwiRail says the confirmation of job losses at its Dunedin Hillside site has been a difficult process for its staff to deal with.

Employees at the workshop, which has been building railway stock for 130 years, met on Monday morning with KiwiRail managers, who confirmed the job loses.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn says 30 staff will go on special paid leave from 7 December and another 35 from 21 December, giving them the chance of redeployment within the company before redundancy takes effect on 31 January.

He says KiwiRail will also continue to accept voluntary redundancy applications.

Mr Quinn says 18 positions have been made available for foundry staff with the new owners Bradken, and positions are available for seven staff in the KiwiRail Freight heavy lift facility.

Another 20 positions have been offered to Hillside staff in the transition team.

Rail and Maritime Union spokesperson John Kerr says the workshop staff had been resigned to the job losses since KiwiRail signalled last month it was going to make some jobs redundant.

Mr Kerr says a handful of jobs will be retained in maintenance, and the 18 at foundry Australian company Bradken in purchasing. "But aside from that, it seems a bit of an industrial blood bath."

Mr Kerr says all the workers are highly skilled and confirmation of the job losses is a particularly bad blow for Dunedin and New Zealand manufacturing.