Fifty-eight jobs in the central region will be chopped as KiwiRail slashes staff across the country, although it is not yet known how many jobs will go in Manawatu.
The government-owned rail operator will shed 158 infrastructure and engineering jobs by the end of October, cutting its infrastructure and engineering workforce from 714 people to 556.
Staff will this week be told which jobs are to be affected.
The central region, which stretches from Wellington to National Park and includes Manawatu, will see 58 jobs go, while 186 will stay.
The southern region loses 40 people and will have 153 employees, while the northern region will see 42 jobs go, leaving it with 213 staff.
The track maintenance and railweld team, which operates around the country, will be reduced to 46 staff, from 64.
A KiwiRail spokesman said the company would not be breaking down those figures further until staff were fully informed.
When the cuts were first flagged in June, it was thought as many as 181 jobs would go, but that figure had since been reduced.
KiwiRail infrastructure and engineering general manager Rick van Barneveld said the restructure took place against a background of economic uncertainty.
‘‘Like most businesses, we haven’t been immune to the effects of a sluggish economy.
‘‘Delivering the kind of news to our people is never easy. But it’s a necessary step for us to achieve the savings we need to make improvements to the rail network.’’
Mr van Barneveld said $750 million would still be spent on the rail network over the next three years, about four times what was spent in 2004/5, three years before the government buyback.
The state-owned enterprise is looking to shave $200m from its books over the next three years and there is talk of a second round of job cuts in March.
Labour’s transport spokesman Phil Twyford has hit out at the job losses.
“KiwiRail is desperately trying to save $200m by deferring network maintenance over the next three years.
"It is a stupid decision that has been forced on the company by a short-sighted Government policy that is setting KiwiRail up to fail, while it pours billions of dollars into uneconomic motorway projects.’’
KiwiRail employs 4100 staff nationwide.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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