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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.

Campaigns -   Save Our Electric Trains

RMTU Advertisement for SAVE OUR ELECTRIC MAIN TRUNK TRAINS - click here

The Greens are running an online petition -

"We request that the House of Representatives review KiwiRail's decision to replace its electric freight trains with diesel locomotives"

Click here to go to the petition

Rail union urges goverment to  keep promise, save electric trains

Media Release Rail & Maritime Transport Union

Monday 15th October 2018

The Rail & Maritime Transport Union calls on the government to honour it’s campaign pledge of maintaining electric locomotives on the North Island Main Trunk.

Almost a year after the Labour-led government was formed, and despite statements while in opposition from Labour, the Greens and NZ First, there is deafening silence from the Beehive as KiwiRail prepares to mothball its electric machines in favour of Chinese diesel engines.

Todd Valster, acting RMTU General Secretary, warns that the Labour-affiliate union will raise its concerns loudly at the Party’s November conference if required.

“We were thrilled to see Jacinda and the team elected, on a strong platform of protecting workers rights and tackling climate change,” says Mr Valster.


“I remember her describing it as the challenge that defines her generation. Well, this is a chance to make that slogan a reality. It’s time for a government of action.” ¬†

15 DL class diesel engines were unloaded onto the Tauranga wharves last week, with KiwiRail intending to deploy them as replacements for the EF class electric locomotives currently in use between Hamilton and Palmerston North.  

The Chinese-made diesel engines have previously been criticised for asbestos contamination and “extraordinarily poor” performance. ¬†

They are expected to burn through eight million litres of diesel a year, adding an extra 12,000 tons of pollution to New Zealand’s carbon footprint. ¬†

Without electric locomotives operating, this may only be the beginning; it is easy to imagine KiwiRail asking why they should maintain an electric-capable section of track, without engines to match.  

“KiwiRail haven’t properly maintained the EF engines for years, but it would still cost only $12 million to get them ready for another decade of operation. Compare that to $35 million for just eight of these diesels,” says Mr Valster. ¬†

“Our union has always fought hard to keep secure, well paid jobs in New Zealand, and it’s difficult to see how importing dodgy diesels from China will help with that.¬† For once, the cheapest option is also the greenest and the most forward thinking.”


Since KiwiRail’s diesel plan was first announced in 2016, concerns have been raised by the RMTU, industry experts, and environmental groups such as Generation Zero. ¬†

Green co-leader James Shaw spoke recently of broadening the government’s plans to spend millions in support of electric vehicles. ¬†

“Perhaps he should let us know if his opinions on electric locomotives have changed since he was in opposition,” says Mr Valster. ¬†

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First have promises to keep and a $5.5 billion dollar budget surplus to keep them with. If the government cares about secure jobs in Palmerston North, Taihape, Taumaranui, Ohakune and the Hutt Valley, if they care about saving our planet, the time to act is now.” ¬†


For further comment, please contact acting RMTU General Secretary Todd Valster.  

Mobile: 027 445 4961

Office: (04) 473 4215

Click here to download this media release




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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