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Action at Air New Zealand

Action at Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand workers concerned about the direction the airline is taking will hold major stopwork meetings over the coming week.

Meetings in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are expected to attract hundreds of members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The meetings are being called to discuss developments at the airline since chief executive Ralph Norris took over two years ago.

Mr Norris is a member of the Business Roundtable and a former chief executive of the ASB Bank, a company known for its anti-union behaviour.

Staff working at Air New Zealand say they have noticed a real change in management style since Mr Norris took control – including the fact that the company recently announced plans to axe some 1500 jobs without discussing the issue with workers first.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the Air New Zealand workforce was highly skilled and loyal to the airline. They had stood by it through bad times like the collapse of subsidiary Ansett Australia and the near-collapse of Air New Zealand itself, and deserved to be properly consulted over major changes.

“When workers are organised into unions they speak to management with one voice,” Mr Little said.

“That’s the equality that being in a union gives, and that’s why that union members are holding these meetings, to ensure that they have a strong voice when it comes to dealing with management over these important changes.”

The first stopwork meeting will be held in Auckland on Tuesday. The second will be in Christchurch on Wednesday and the third in Wellington on Thursday.

The EPMU represents 3000 Air New Zealand workers. The engineering collective agreement is currently being negotiated, and the groundhandling agreement will come up for negotiation in March or April next year.

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