Union takes KiwiRail to court over status of Chinese engineers

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Media advisory: 2 June 2015

Rail and Maritime Transport Union takes KiwiRail to court

After a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) investigation found that Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail’s imported locomotives at the Hutt Workshops were probably not covered under New Zealand employment law, the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) will now test that finding in the courts says RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson.   

“The RMTU has filed proceedings in the Employment Relations Authority. We are seeking clarity on the status of the Chinese engineers who were contracted to work on KiwiRail’s locomotives. We are also seeking clarification on whether KiwiRail has breached our collective employment agreement with them”.

Last year Trevor Mallard revealed allegations of exploitation of Chinese engineers working under warranty on KiwiRail’s imported locomotives. MBIE found that the allegations could not be substantiated, but the investigators did not view wage records before coming to their conclusions.

“After the government refused to seek a clear answer on the status of the Chinese engineers it has been left to the RMTU to clarify the law”.

“Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said that this legal question is ‘something that one can test in the courts’ and the RMTU is taking him up on that offer. We will not let this injustice remain unresolved”.

The RMTU has filed in the Employment Relations Authority with an Application for Removal to the Employment Court given the seriousness of the issues.

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Morgan Godfery
Communications and Media Officer


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1 COMMENT

  1. No doubt Kiwi Rail accepted this tender because it was the lowest. My suspicious conspiracy theory little mind tells me that the Chinese company must have been assured beforehand that their workers would NOT be covered by NZ employment laws. If these workers had been British, Australian, American or anywhere other than Asian, would they also be deemed not to be covered by NZ employment laws? I don’t think so!
    Michael Woodhouse does not act in support of workers in NZ, he works against them. He is totally incompetent and should resign.

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