Spirit of Xmas ab­sent in Air NZ staff ’s strike

Weekend Herald - - Viewpoints -

Strikes have their place in in­dus­trial re­la­tions but some­times they can be cruel to the in­no­cent. The strike threat­ened by Air New Zealand staff for De­cem­ber 21, the Fri­day be­fore Christ­mas, is in the cruel cat­e­gory. It is one of the air­line’s busiest days of the year, when peo­ple are fly­ing from far and near to join fam­i­lies for Christ­mas.

They will have made their plans and book­ings long ago and yes­ter­day all those plans were thrown into doubt. The strike might not go ahead if the air­line agrees to what­ever the unions are de­mand­ing with this gun to its head. But the risk will be too high for many who will be try­ing to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments this week­end.

The air­line was yes­ter­day look­ing at what it could do to put on more flights be­fore and after the sched­uled one-day strike but to cause in­con­ve­nience on this scale is rep­re­hen­si­ble.

Strikes are le­gal when the term of an agree­ment has ex­pired and it is be­ing rene­go­ti­ated. It is stag­ger­ing that Air NZ would agree to con­tracts that ex­pired around this time of year. The E Tu¯ union, rep­re­sent­ing air­craft en­gi­neers and clean­ers and store work­ers, is ag­grieved at pay of­fers it says are less than agreed with col­leagues who have al­ready set­tled, and amount to a cut to E Tu¯ mem­bers’ con­di­tions. The two sides are in me­di­a­tion on Mon­day to try to avert the strike. But many booked trav­ellers will have an anx­ious week­end won­der­ing if their Christ­mas re­unions with loved ones are ru­ined.

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