Rail strike: Peak traffic for an extra 30,000 Auckland commuters

A strike by train workers doesn't appear to have caused any major issues in Auckland so far.

There were fears of major commuter chaos with another 30,000 people on the roads, with the trains out of action for 24 hours from 2am on Friday.

However, traffic flows are much as normal, with Aucklanders seemingly heeding advice to take a bus, share a car with a friend or work from home.

The union behind Friday's rail strike in Auckland says if they don't take action, people will die.

Rail and Maritime Transport Union organiser John Kerr says it's the only option, as French-owned train operator Transdev plans to cut down staff on rail services.

"We all know you can't take shortcuts on safety," Mr Kerr told The AM Show.

There are currently one or two staff on each train as well as the driver, monitoring both the platforms and the trips. A proposed 200-person job cut means these support staff would go.

"We believe if this goes ahead there will be fatalities. Your mum gets her handbag caught in the train... gone."

Ms Kerr says Transdev is notoriously difficult to deal with.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett told Newshub he expects many businesses will be affected by Fridays' strike.

"The biggest issue for businesses is actually going to be getting staff to where they're employed and so I think there'll be huge concern many offices will need to make compromise about arrival times."

He says the timing of the strike is especially frustrating with Christmas on the horizon.

"For the unions to be imposing this frustration on the economy right as we come in to Christmas, is annoying to retail sector."

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union says it doesn't like to hold strikes but it's concerned about plans to introduce driver only trains in Auckland.

The union says these trains would be unsafe for both drivers and passengers.

"Given that passenger trains can have up to 1000 people on board if there's a safety incident or medical emergency, antisocial behaviour, you can imagine the consequences," said union advocate John Kerr.

Train services halted at 2am on Friday, with only limited replacement buses being arranged due to late notice.

Rail services will return after 24 hours.