Air NZ hopes to avoid Christ­mas strike

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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