KiwiRail to slash 220 jobs

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 11:30 11/07/2012

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Workers at Blenheim's KiwiRail Infrastructure and Engineering (I&E) depot face job losses after KiwiRail announced it could cut up to 220 jobs by the end of October.

About 10 I&E staff work out of a depot in Blenheim, but KiwiRail had not yet decided where in the country the job cuts would be made, said KiwiRail senior communications advisor Candice Johanson.

KiwiRail staff in Picton and Kaikoura work in other areas, such as freight and the Interislander, and will not be affected by the staff cuts, Ms Johanson said.

I&E responsibilities include upgrades, track maintenance, rail traffic movement, major infrastructure projects, and design, installation and maintenance.

I&E general manager Rick van Barneveld said its I&E business had reassessed its operations and budgets and, as a result, planned expenditure of $950 million would be reduced by $200m over the next three years.

Proposed measures include a cut of between 170 and 220 staff from the 1000 current I&E staff numbers.

"While I&E has made solid progress over the last couple of years in upgrading the national and metropolitan rail networks we are now operating in tough trading conditions compounded by the Christchurch earthquakes," Mr van Barneveld said.

"Reducing our network spend over the next three years helps to bring our investment curve back behind our earnings growth. Making these changes to our original plan will help ensure KiwiRail remains on target to achieve financial sustainability by 2020."

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union was unable to comment, but a meeting between KiwiRail and the union will be held this week and more information will be available on Friday, a union spokeswoman said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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