Threat of strike hits travellers
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.