December 8, 2005
Unions’ proposal will save Air NZ
Consultants hired by the unions representing aircraft engineers have significant concerns about elements of Air New Zealand’s proposal to send heavy engineering work overseas, and say that the union groups’ proposal can save the airline up to $12 million a year and still keep much of the work in New Zealand.
Consultants Michael Stiassny and Brendon Gibson of Ferrier Hodgson have assisted the union groups in preparing a proposal, presented to airline managers by workers outside the Air New Zealand head office in downtown Auckland this morning (Thursday).
The work done by the consultants raises concerns about elements of the airline’s proposal, including the consideration given to factors such as flexibility, safety and the benefit of maintaining the engineering capacity in New Zealand.
A counter proposal prepared by the consultants and the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and the Aviation and Marine Engineers’ Association suggests retaining a slimmed-down engine-shop and a single-line wide-body operation.
The proposal says these operations would be viable and would save about 300 of the 617 jobs currently threatened. The plants could be run by Air New Zealand or be sold.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little and AMEA national secretary George Ryde said that the unions were prepared to make significant changes to wages and conditions in order to make their counter proposal work.
“We’ve said that we’re prepared to look at things like moving workers on to salaries instead of wages and taking time off in summer when it’s not busy to balance extra hours during the busy winter months to help the airline manage its labour costs,” said Mr Little.
“However, labour costs are not the only issue here. We need to work together to make sure that we retain a credible and viable heavy engineering capability in New Zealand.”
Mr Little said that the unions’ proposal had been overwhelmingly endorsed by workers.