Threat of strike hits trav­ellers

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS -

Christ­mas plans for tens of thou­sands of peo­ple may be­come clearer to­mor­row when Air New Zealand and union of­fi­cials meet.

Work­ers have threat­ened to strike over pay and work­ing con­di­tions on De­cem­ber 21, af­fect­ing up to 42,000 cus­tomers.

Air New Zealand, E Tu¯ and the Avi­a­tion and Marine En­gi­neers As­so­ci­a­tion are due to en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions to­mor­row. Nearly 1000 members of the unions plan to strike over cuts to members’ con­di­tions, in­clud­ing over­time rates.

The air­line said the group had re­ceived pay in­creases an­nu­ally for the past 12 years, and had re­jected a re­cent of­fer of 2 per cent fol­lowed by a fur­ther 3 per cent af­ter 12 months. Its main­te­nance en­gi­neer­ing and lo­gis­tics staff earned an av­er­age of $115,000 and about 170 earned more than $150,000, the com­pany said.

Air NZ re­ported its sec­ond high­est profit this year, $540 mil­lion be­fore tax, and chief ex­ec­u­tive Christo­pher Luxon earned about $4m.

The air­line said if a deal could not be reached, it would get in touch with pas­sen­gers when that was known.

Many peo­ple have been left scram­bling with wed­ding and grad­u­a­tion plans as well as Christ­mas fam­ily re­u­nions up in the air.

Raina Ng, who is to marry her fi­ance, Trent Young, a day later, said it was a night­mare sce­nario. She was try­ing to find a Plan B for guests from New Zealand and Malaysia booked to fly into Welling­ton on the day of the threat­ened strike.

Sev­eral Can­ter­bury Univer­sity fac­ul­ties also have grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies that day.

Brent Thomas, com­mer­cial direc­tor for House of Travel, said the im­pact would con­tinue well be­yond De­cem­ber 21 and cause is­sues for peo­ple con­nect­ing with in­ter­na­tional flights.

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