Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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Trains on Auckland's rail network will grind to a halt on Friday as the city's rail worker go on strike. Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union taking strike action to protest against a decision to introduce driver-only operations on Auckland's passenger trains. The strike would start at 2am on Friday and last for 24 hours. Union advocate John Kerr said the workers' employer, Transdev, was refusing to back down on its proposal, despite mediated negotiations. "This plan puts passengers and drivers at risk, and the only reason we can see for it is cutting costs and increasing profit." The proposal would mean train drivers had the responsibility for monitoring door operation as well as passengers, Kerr said. He believed the division of attention would significantly increase the risk of an accident. Kerr said he regrets the inconvenience the strike would cause, but workers were determined they would not compromise on safety. "Auckland Transport must bear some responsibility for what's happening: their plan to deploy so-called 'Transport Officers' on the network instead of guaranteeing there's a properly-qualified, uniformed crew member on every train is an attack on the safety culture of our railway." Auckland Transport's Chief Transport Services Officer, Mark Lambert, said Auckland Transport would not be able to put on extra buses in place of train services. Auckland Transport was seeking limited additional buses to support some bus routes and ferry and bus services would operate as normal.

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