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October 2, 2017 | by  | in News Splash |
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Transdev Undercutting Unionised Rail Workers

Wellington rail workers are building towards a strike with a stop-work meeting planned for October 4.

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) is expected to stage the stop-work meeting between 11.00am and 1.00pm, which may delay some Wellington commuters.

The meeting comes as a result of several months of disagreement over employment terms and conditions between RMTU and French-based transport company Transdev, who took over the Wellington network just over a year ago.

RMTU are dissatisfied with the revised employment terms proposed by Transdev. These would change the current system of penal rates, reducing double time payments to time and a half for work on Sundays, and could require employees to work on public holidays on request.

Organiser for the RMTU national office in Wellington, Todd Valster, told Salient that while services would wind down during these hours, the strike was designed to minimise the effect on commuters.

Buses will be made available on the day to help fill the gaps in the schedule.

He said that RMTU was not asking for big gains, “but they not were prepared to go backwards.”

“It has been very difficult to get [TransDev] around the table […] they have been trying to take terms and conditions from workers, and our members are resolute that they are not prepared  to lose any terms and conditions of their employment.”

TransDev however said they were disappointed that a strike was on the table for discussion.

TransDev told Salient, “there are two sides to every story, and we believe all our people will be better off overall as a result of the package we’re trying to discuss.”

“One key feature is working out how we can move staff so there are more people on busy services and fewer on trains that are empty — something that our staff themselves have raised. These are detailed contractual matters, and the place to discuss them is at in pay talks, not the media.”

Transdev have currently agreed to a 1.3% increase in overall pay, keeping in pace with inflation, an additional $2.00 per hour wage increase for tutors, and future wage increases based on tenure.

Valster said that RTMU members have voted and he expected the strike against the revised terms to go ahead. “They have stood together and said: that’s not going to happen.”

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