Of­fi­cials asked to be ready to as­sist in Air NZ dis­pute

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL - LUCY BEN­NETT

AUCK­LAND: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is con­cerned about the num­ber of trav­ellers who may be af­fected by in­dus­trial ac­tion planned over Christ­mas by Air New Zealand en­gi­neers.

‘‘While the Gov­ern­ment is not di­rectly in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions, I am very con­cerned it will af­fect many trav­ellers,’’ she said yesterday.

‘‘Ev­ery ef­fort needs to be made to try and pre­vent such sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion, which is why I have asked of­fi­cials to be ready and avail­able to as­sist Air NZ and the unions to get back to the ta­ble and get a res­o­lu­tion as quickly as pos­si­ble,’’ she said in a state­ment.

Nearly 1000 mem­bers of the Avi­a­tion and Ma­rine En­gi­neers As­so­ci­a­tion and E tu unions, which rep­re­sent air­craft main­te­nance en­gi­neers, air­craft lo­gis­tics and re­lated staff, plan a strike on De­cem­ber 21 over what they say are cuts to mem­bers’ con­di­tions. Air NZ has said it could af­fect the travel plans of 42,000 pas­sen­gers.

Na­tional’s work­place re­la­tions spokesman, Scott Simp­son, said call­ing a strike on Air NZ’s busiest day of the year was de­signed to max­imise dis­rup­tion.

‘‘This is ex­actly the sort of strike the Prime Minister told us wouldn’t hap­pen. Labour is tak­ing us back to 1970s­style ad­ver­sar­ial union ac­tiv­ity, ex­cept back then it was Cook Strait ferry unions dis­rupt­ing Christ­mas,’’ he said. — NZME

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