New Zealand: Union calls for audit of KiwiRail trains amid slave labour concerns

The union for rail workers wants assurances new KiwiRail locomotives are not being made with slave labour in China.

KiwiRail recently ordered 10 new DL class diesel locomotives from Chinese train manufacturer CRRC, in addition to the fleet of 63 engines it has bought from the company since 2009.

CRRC was named in February 2020 by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) as one of 82 companies “potentially directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through abusive labour transfer programmes as recently as 2019”.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council is now investigating whether 98 electric buses it is about to lease were implicated.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union general secretary Wayne Butson said CRRC’s alleged links to modern slavery were a major concern and the Government needed to ensure KiwiRail checked its suppliers were not engaged in human rights abuses.

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