Officials asked to be ready to assist in Air NZ dispute
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