July 25, 2002
Aircraft engineers vote to accept deal
Air New Zealand engineers have withdrawn threatened strike action and accepted a pay offer – but they’re not happy.
Nine hundred aircraft maintenance engineers who are members of the EPMU have narrowly voted to accept an 18-month settlement which includes a 12-month wage freeze. They will get a 2.65 per cent payrise in 12 months’ time and another 1.3% three months later.
Union advocate Bill Newson said the fact that just 57 per cent of the workers voted in favour of accepting the offer and settling the three-month dispute showed how inadequate the deal really was.
“They’ve accepted it because the company threatened the workers with the loss of a valuable maintenance contract with Qantas,” he said.
The engineers work for Air New Zealand Engineering Services, a subsidiary of Air New Zealand, which operates heavy maintenance hangars in Auckland and Christchurch.
“Air New Zealand Engineering Services is consistently profitable and has a full order book,” Mr Newson said.
“Despite this, Air New Zealand has imposed a 12 month wage freeze through these negotiations by threatening the workers with the loss of the Qantas work.”
Mr Newson said that the negotiations were the worst he had ever experienced at Air New Zealand.
“A number of times the company made offers then took them away again at the last minute, and was confrontational and incompetent. The process has been regrettable and we expect better from one of New Zealand’s major companies.
“These negotiations have brought into focus the fact that there are no penalties under the Employment Relations Act for failing to negotiate in good faith.”