March 12, 2004
Enough, say Air NZ engineers
Engineers at Air New Zealand say they will not accept company plans to cut their shift-work pay and drastically change their working hours.
Talks between the airline and 1200 workers from Air New Zealand Engineering Services in Auckland and Christchurch have broken down over the company’s plans.
Union advocate Bill Newson said that the company wanted the right to force workers who had been hired to work permanent day work to work shift work, and vice versa.
“This will play havoc with people’s lives,” Mr Newson said, “and on top of that, the company wants to effectively cut their pay.”
Mr Newson said that the engineers had stood by the company through its bad time after the collapse of subsidiary Ansett Australia in 2001 and accepted a pay freeze – despite the fact that Air New Zealand Engineering Services had continued to make a healthy profit through that time.
The workers – members of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and the ATA – had voted overwhelmingly to reject the company’s position, he said.
“We have been negotiating for four months and have got nowhere with the company,” he said. “Therefore, the workers are being forced to give 14 days’ notice of industrial action,” Mr Newson said.
The action would begin with an overtime ban from March 30, and the workers hoped that this would convince the company to get back to the negotiating table. If not, an eight-day strike would start on April 5.
“We are ready to talk to the company at any time in a bid to get this settled, and we have told them that, Mr Newson said.