Air NZ hopes to avoid Christmas strike
premature. We remain committed to working closely with the engineers’ unions to reach a reasonable agreement and avoid strike action if at all possible.’’
E tu¯ ’s head of aviation, Savage, said the unions were disappointed with ‘‘misleading information’’ released by the airline in relation to the strike notice. ‘‘Air New Zealand had taken an unnecessarily aggressive approach.’’
It would bargain from Monday in the hope of reaching a deal, he said.
‘‘This is not just about pay. It’s about repeated proposals by the airline weeks out from Christmas to pay them less than colleagues who have already settled, and to cut into key conditions, including overtime rates,’’ he said.
‘‘This affects line and hangar engineers, but also store workers and aircraft cleaners, who are covered by the same document and who are struggling to get ahead.’’
Members felt under-appreciated and under attack, he said.
‘‘In aviation, there is a constant downward pressure on costs driven by airlines. The result is a race to the bottom on wages and conditions,’’ Savage said.
Air New Zealand will communicate with customers booked to travel on December 21 closer to the travel date.
Jetstar said it was too early to comment on whether it could expect a rush of bookings on that date.
Customers are asked to avoid calling Air New Zealand’s customer contact centre in the meantime as no further information is available at this stage.
Customers booked to travel on Air New Zealand’s regional turboprop aircraft fleet will not be affected as this fleet is maintained by a separate work group.
House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas said the strike would have a ‘‘significant impact’’ on travel if it was to go ahead. ‘‘There would be a number of very grumpy people.’’
Because the days leading up to and following December 21 would be extremely busy for Air New Zealand, the ability for the airline to move people would be limited, Thomas said.
‘‘A lot of industries will be shutting their doors on that day and a lot of people will be travelling.
‘‘The problem they are going to have is if it does go ahead there will be a compounding impact.’’
He said the airline might need to put bigger planes on some routes.
If the strike goes ahead, bookings for December 21 will be affected.