RMTU Calendar:
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Welcome to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union Online

The RMTU is a union for transport workers in which all members have equal rights, whatever their job.

With rapid change, and increasing competition in the transport industry it is important that workers are protected by a strong, well-resourced union, specialising in all aspects of the transport industry; rail, road and ports.

The structure of the RMTU gives you the opportunity to be fully involved in a democratic union as collective decisions are made which may affect your job and conditions of employment.

You have the opportunity to elect your workplace union representative (delegate), as well as branch and national union representatives. You have a voice at all levels of the RMTU.

Survey on Workplace bullying and Harrassment for RMTU members



Click here or on the image above to access this survey. You can also use the QR code.


Latest Media Releases


Council Bureacrats Block Rail workers input to Working Group

Media Release Rail & Maritime Transport Union

Friday 11th September, 2020 IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Chair of Dunedin Holdings Limited (DHL) has refused to allow union representation on an important stakeholder group on the future of Dunedin Railways Limited (DRL).

The RMTU wrote to DRL on 1 September requesting membership of the Council’s reference group charged with overseeing submissions into the future of the council-owned company.

The union letter was signed by RMTU Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns, as well as Unions Otago Convenor Andrew Tait and Unions Otago Secretary Malcolm Deans, on behalf of local affiliates of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

The reply from DHL Chair Keith Cooper says the expertise of actual rail workers is not required because the work of the group ‘is very much at the strategic level versus operational analysis at this point.’

Mr Kearns says the reply is nonsense, given the sole strategic direction shown by directors and senior managers so far has been to try and close Dunedin Railways permanently.

“This is hardly strategic thinking in terms of the best interest of ratepayers and citizens of Dunedin.”

This response shows unelected managers and board chairs are firmly in charge of Dunedin’s future, not elected councillors or the citizens they represent, he says.

“This is a major issue for the future of Dunedin tourism and the jobs and infrastructure. It is a political issue. Yet the elected councillors seem to be giving managers and Board Chairs the power to make political decisions they are not qualified or entitled to make.”

The RMTU represents rail workers including DRL workers and led the recent Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign, with the support of Unions Otago and a wide number of people in the community.

The RMTU is a Union that has always operated at a strategic level not just operational and is a significant stakeholder as to why there is a national rail system in operation in NZ today, says Mr Kearns.

The RMTU led the Take Back The Track campaign which saw infrastructure renationalized and provided the momentum for the renationailisation of the whole rail system in NZ in 2008.

For more information contact:
Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns on 027 8893292
Unions Otago convenor Andrew Tait on 022 4730502


Click here to download this media release


Rail and maritime workers back improved Sick leave

Media Release Rail & Maritime Transport Union

Tuesday 1st September, 2020 IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) is backing improved sick leave for workers.

RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson says rail and maritime workers are essential workers who would benefit from changes being promoted by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).

Mr Butson says an extension of the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme, and improvements to minimum sick leave entitlements, were a “no brainer."

“These changes would provide workers with security, safety and support.”

He says if the Government and business want to show their appreciation for essential workers, this was the best way to do it.

“Actions speak louder than words.”

He says the changes would improve New Zealand's resilience and ability to manage any future outbreaks of COVID-19.

“Front line transport workers have kept New Zealand functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and must be provided with the support they need, along with all other workers,” he says.

The NZCTU is presenting a 10,000 signature petition to Workplace Relations Minister Andrew Little at 12 noon today (Tuesday 1 September) at Parliament.

The 5 issues raised by the petition are:

1. Extend the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for the next year, make it easy to access, and cover anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including those who are waiting to be referred to testing or getting results. 
2. Increase legal minimum paid sick leave from 5 to 10 days over the next year - with support from the government to help small businesses make the change. 
3. Make sick leave available if people need to care for their dependents like their children and their parents. 
4. Remove the 6-month stand down to access sick leave when you start a new job. 
5. Get rid of the previous National Government’s law change that can require a doctor’s certificate after just one day of sick leave.


For more information contact RMTU General Secretary Wayne Butson on 0274962461


Click here to download this media release


Workers on Auckland Metro Rail Disadvantaged

Media Release Rail & Maritime Transport Union

Tuesday 25th August, 2020 IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The union for rail workers has major concerns about the treatment of workers on the Auckland Metro Service through the latest Level 3 lockdown for COVID-19.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union Northern Regional Organizer Rudd Hughes says operators Transdev and maintenance contractor CAF are effectively labour hire companies for staff on the Auckland Transport owned commuter rail system.

He says workers who are at higher risk from COVID-19, who have family members or partners who are at risk, and those over the age of 70, will have to use sick leave, annual leave, and then either leave without pay or advanced annual leave, to cover their absence when protecting themselves or their families.

"This will mean those without leave have the stark choice of either coming to work and putting themselves and their families at risk, or going without pay."

Mr Hughes says this is a disgrace and companies who take millions of dollars of profit out of New Zealand every year should be giving something back to the people who work for them.

He says the RMTU is calling upon Transdev and CAF to do the right thing and show their owners understand what it is to be a team of five million by paying discretionary leave to these vulnerable and essential workers.




For more information contact RMTU Northern Regional Organizer Rudd Hughes on 027 246 4961


Click here to download this media release


TranzAlpine restarts while Dunedin Rail Limited is put out of business

Media Release Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling - IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22nd June 2020


Dunedin Rail workers are demanding to know why their business, including the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway, is being closed down at the same time KiwiRail has restarted one of its key scenic train journeys.

KiwiRail have announced the reopening of the Christchurch–Greymouth TranzAlpine service from 4 July after several months of cancelled services due to Covid19.

Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling spokesperson Dave Kearns says the decision is an glaring reminder of the failure of leadership at Dunedin Railways Limited (DRL).

Mr Kearns says the view of the DRL workforce is that DRL Board Chair Kevin Winders should be stood down so he can concentrate on his job as Port Otago CEO, given the recent loss of business at that port.

“We have seen KiwiRail management looking at new opportunities with TranzAlpine while the Board and senior management of DRL have condemned this Dunedin asset to a slow death. This is absolutely gutting for the workforce and the many local people who want to keep Dunedin Rail rolling.”

He says the failure to get a trial commuter service up and running, or secure tourism recovery funding, could be laid directly at the feet of the DRL Board and senior management.

“Everyone has been doing their jobs for them. The workers, the Council, the public, even local MPs have been working to save this asset with fresh new ideas – but the people paid to keep this business going have done nothing except undermine the future of DRL.”

DRL is being ‘mothballed’ on 30 June with the loss of over fifty jobs.

There is no detailed plan for maintenance of DRL track and assets, says Mr Kearns.

The campaign has recently called for KiwiRail to take over the track owned by DRL to ensure it was not left to rot, he says.

“As the current DRL leadership can’t or won’t do the work, they should go, and we can find new people who are prepared to meet challenges and have a go forward outlook.”


For more information contact
Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns on 0278893292
Rail and Maritime Transport Union South Island Organizer John Kerr on 027 246 4941

Campaign website dunedinrail.co


Click here to download this media release






Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling - Petition


Dunedin Workers Proposal - click here


Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling Facebook- click here


Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling Blog - click here


Railway workers protest mothballing of Taieri Gorge

Taieri Gorge workers marched through Dunedin streets to deliver the mayor a letter this morning. Tuesday 2 June 2020


City Council backing Dunedin Rail commuter trial

Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling media release Friday 15 May 2020 - click here to download media release


Workers at Dunedin Railways step up fight to protect services and jobs

Friday 8th May 2020


Workers at Dunedin Railways Limited are disappointed and angry that their Board and Senior Management are continuing to push a low quality plan putting the future of the Taieri Gorge Railway and other local services in jeopardy.


DRL management today announced they would proceed with a “mothballing” plan that would effectively close the service with no guarantee of re-opening.


Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns says the plan to mothball Dunedin Railways, including the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway, was unacceptable.


“The mothballing proposal is vague and meaningless, and the consultation process has been totally inadequate for a decision of this magnitude.”


A proposal with positive alternatives had been submitted to DRL and presented to Dunedin City Council, and workers had taken their concerns to local MPs.


Mr Kearns says after workers first found their jobs were in jeopardy through the media, their faith in the process had been shattered.


He says there is an agenda at the Board level to run down and close the business, which had been their first preference.


However, workers are determined to fight for the jobs and keep Dunedin Railways rolling, he says, with strong community backing emerging around the Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling campaign.


A Facebook page Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling had gained 1600 likes and a petition to stop the mothballing plan had gained over 1500 signatures in the last several days.



Click here to download this Media Release


Dunedin Railways workers propose positive solutions to prevent closure

Thursday 30th April 2020


Workers at Dunedin Railways Limited (DRL) have put forward a proposal to reinvigorate the company, retaining the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway and saving up to 70 jobs.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns says the union, representing about fifty workers at Dunedin Railways, has today submitted the proposal (attached) as part of the consultation process with management.

Dunedin Railways is 100% owned by Dunedin City Holdings Limited, the business arm of the Dunedin City Council.

Mr Kearns says the DRL Board of Directors had a ‘negative mindset’ and had recommended closing the railway to the Dunedin City Council, blaming falling revenues due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Dunedin City Councillors had voted to mothball the railway instead, but Mr Kearns says he is concerned that they have not been given the correct information about how this would work.

‘The DRL plan is meaningless as it is so lacking in detail. This raises questions regarding the competence and fitness of DRL’s board and senior management.’

Mr Kearns says there are a number of opportunities for rail services that have been ignored.

Options included the reconfiguration of the business away from the cruise ship market to the domestic market.

There was potential for staff and rolling stock to provide commuter services to local destinations such as Mosgiel and Port Chalmers, as well as the establishment of long distance passenger services between Dunedin and other cities on the main south line.

Other possibilities included the sale or transfer of ownership of the Wingatui to Middlemarch line to KiwiRail, with DRL to operate like other heritage rail concerns and pay a fee for track access whilst refocusing their business.

The Union was calling for genuine engagement by DRL management with staff and their union to investigate alternative options for the future of DRL, he says.

Regarding the DCC’s request for ‘options for DRL’s operating and governance structure in the interim’, the RMTU is calling for the immediate dismissal of the current board and the appointment of a new board with staff representation.

Mr Kearns says a Facebook page Keep Dunedin Rail Rolling had gained over 1200 supporters this week.


For more information contact Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns on 0278893292


Rail and Maritime Transport Union South Island Organizer John Kerr on 027 246 4941


Click here to download this Media Release


Click here to download more Media Releases





Click on the image above or here to sign the petition

RMTU / KIWIRAIL Health & Safety -

Click here to go to the RMTU / KIWIRAIL H&S page


  Listen to the Your Life for the Job song (mp3 5mb) -

written and performed by Ben Thompson - click here

Order A copy of "Your life for the job" book - click here to email

The New Zealand Locomotive Engineer's
Sickness, Accident and Death Benefit Fund:

A new advertisement for the LE SAD Fund that can be downloaded, printed and posted on noticeboards for LE's Click here to download the poster and Download application form



Save Our Rail : Northland

Kia ora to everyone in the Rail and Maritime Transport Union

Just to let you know, Save Our Rail Northland's new web-site is: http://www.saveourrailnorthland.org.nz
We'll be adding to the site as things develop, so keep checking in to see where we're at.

Alan Preston
Tel (09)4315389


Save the Gisborne Napier Rail Line



Books & DVD's of Interest


A commemoration of the 1908 miners’ strike on DVD

Review by Dean Parker - click here

To purchase a copy - click here


Samuel Duncan Parnell - A Legacy

The 8 Hour Day, Labour Day and Time Off

For more information including Foreward by Helen Kelly - click here





ITF- Affiliated to the International Transport Workers Federation which comprises 653 unions representing 4,500,000 transport workers in 148 countries
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