Workers at Dunedin Railways Limited (DRL) are demanding to know why their management have not applied for Government funding that could save the iconic Taieri Gorge Railway.
The Minister for Tourism Kelvin Davis recently announced $400 million of funding for the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
Under the plan, operators could qualify as a strategic tourism asset if they were nationally or internationally recognised, were a key attraction for New Zealand or a region, if visitors to a region would reduce if the business closed, and if there were significant spill-over benefits for the business’ region.
A meeting of the affected workers at DRL today condemned the senior management and Board of Directors of DRL for neglecting to take basic steps to preserve the business by applying for the funding.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union Otago Branch Secretary Dave Kearns says a cornerstone of Otago tourism has been the victim of management and Board ‘sabotage by dereliction.’
“This group of workers are facing redundancy on 30 June when the company embarks on a poorly conceived mothball plan which gives no confidence at all in their ability to get this enterprise back on track.”
Mr Kearns says it was appalling that in the face of major public support for Dunedin Railways, those tasked with protecting and building the business have gone all out to finish it off.
This included not applying for further wage subsidies that could have kept workers in jobs for longer.
He says the workforce are not going away and letting those responsible off the hook.
‘The RMTU will continue to campaign for this asset and the jobs and livelihoods it creates, and will be taking further action to demand accountability and transparency on the decision making process.’