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Union explains reason for today's rail strike as Wellington commuters brace for congestion

Live updates for this event have now concluded, but you can review them below. 1 NEWS will bring you any further developments as they take place.

Motorists were warned to expect delays due to a railway worker’s strike Source: 1 NEWS

9.04am Traffic speed maps from Google indicate that rush hour has passed without major incidents in Wellington, with road speeds largely normal across SH1 and SH2. Some light congestion remains coming into the CBD near The Terrace.

8.57am The RMTU is distributing a dlyer outlining their position in the industrial action and apologising to commuters for the disruption.

8.34am Wayne Butson, spokesperson for the RMTU which initiated the rail strike, says the industrial action is about fighting for the working conditions and pay rates of the workers operating the trains. "We are not going to have money taken out of the pay packets of working New Zealanders and transferred to the balance sheets of foreign-owned multinationals," he told TVNZ 1's Breakfast programme.

8.21am Current travel times into the city, according to NZTA, are still not too bad as of 8.20am, with an estimated time of 45 minutes from Melling Link to the Wellington CBD, and 20 minutes from Johnsonville to the CBD. NZTA still advises that heavy congestion is expected, and motorists should allow extra time.

A Google traffic speed map showing road conditions as of 8.10am on November 16 as a rail strike takes place.
A Google traffic speed map showing road conditions as of 8.10am on November 16 as a rail strike takes place. Source: Google

8.15am Google Traffic speed maps show the southbound lanes on SH1 and SH2 are experiencing some slowing leading up to the merge points at the Ngauranga flyover and Petone interchange.

8.10am Morning rush hour traffic is just hitting its peak and police are asking motorists to take it easy on the roads.

Background:

Commuter trains across the Wellington region were at a standstill this morning, leaving thousands of commuters scrambling to get to work, with more than 400 rail workers on strike.

Tens of thousands of commuters are likely to be affected. Source: 1 NEWS

Employees of Transdev Wellington and Hyundai Rotem began a 24-hour stoppage at 2am over what the Rail and Maritime Union says is an attempt by the companies to remove long-standing terms and conditions from their collective agreement.

No replacement bus services are being provided.

Trains at Wellington Railway Station sit idle as a strike takes place.
Trains at Wellington Railway Station sit idle as a strike takes place. Source: 1 NEWS

Wellington City Council urged commuters to share rides with neighbours or work colleagues and warned of delays on the roads.

And when commuters get to the CBD, parking will be the next challenge because the Kaikoura earthquake has meant fewer off-street parks and more demand for the council's limited on-street spaces. 

Council officials have warned normal parking rules will apply and the two-hour time limit will be enforced throughout the CBD.

Supporters of the rail strike outside Wellington Railway Station.
Supporters of the rail strike outside Wellington Railway Station. Source: 1 NEWS

People wanting to park for longer than two hours have been told to look for off-street options or use coupon parking on the fringes of the city.

The train strike also means early rubbish and recycling collections in the city's southern suburbs this morning.

The council's rubbish and recycling trucks and crews are based at Seaview in Lower Hutt, and are on the road earlier than normal this morning to avoid heavy traffic into the city.

The rubbish crews will do a second sweep of the southern suburbs such as Newtown and Island Bay later in the day.

Wayne Butson from the Rail and Maritime Transport Union spoke with Breakfast’s Jack Tame. Source: Breakfast