Government must avert KiwiRail Christmas strike

The Government must intervene to avert proposed strike action by KiwiRail workers that threatens to significantly disrupt freight and passenger transport in the lead-up to Christmas, says National’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson.

“Lockdowns and restrictions mean it’s already looking like it will be a grim Christmas period, and strike action by the Rail and Maritime Transport Union’s 2500 members would be another blow.

“There’s a massive backlog of freight already, and one of the three Interislander ferries is still out of action. The supply chain is under enormous pressure and we need all hands on deck to get goods and people moving throughout the country.

“The timing of the proposed strike action is quite deliberate by the union and is designed to hit when it would hurt New Zealand most – any time from the end of November right up to Christmas Eve.

“But it’s no wonder the union has decided on this action, which would be the first in decades.

“Thanks to inflation of 4.9 per cent, workers have seen their pay-packets gobbled up by skyrocketing costs of living. This is why we can expect a lot more strike action to come, as workers in every sector look for pay rises to keep up with higher food, fuel and housing costs.

“Unfortunately, everyday New Zealanders will pay the price for the Government’s economic recklessness. If this strike goes ahead, there’ll be fewer goods in our shops and less opportunity to travel.

“The Government needs to step in and make sure KiwiRail and the union get around the table to sort this out. Otherwise it’ll be yet another example of the Government being the Christmas Grinch.”