16 March 2008
Air NZ discriminates against local workers too
Air NZ has been caught out paying foreign crews at below minimum wage to work on its flights in and out of New Zealand.
But this company also pays some local workers less than others they are working alongside, solely based on their union affiliation.
Service and Food Workers Union Northern Region Secretary Jill Ovens says members of her union rejected Air NZ’s offer to settle their Collective Agreement because Air NZ had offered less money than they paid other workers doing the same work.
“They used shonky maths to do our members out of hundreds of dollars each over the term of the Agreement. Our members saw right through it.”
Ms Ovens says SFWU clerical workers in financial services, cargo and retail (call centres and Holiday Stores) were not offered any back pay or lump sum equivalent, even though the Collective expired in June 2007. Members of other unions doing the same work received $600 lump sums last September when their new pay rates came in.
Air NZ also expected SFWU members to accept a later expiry date, which would delay a pay increase at the other end of the term of the Agreement.
“Members of the other unions would be getting their next pay increase while our members would have to wait. So not only would they be paid less than other workers at the front end of the Agreement, but they’d also be getting less at the end.”
Ms Ovens says Air NZ also tried to get SFWU members to accept the company’s right to change shift patterns and shift start times without union members agreeing to such changes.
“The wording that our members firmly rejected would have undermined all workers’ ability to manage their working lives and their families.”
The SFWU is back in the Employment Relations Authority this week [Wednesday, 19 March] seeking facilitation to settle the outstanding Collective Agreement.
“The Authority has already found that Air NZ used inducements to undermine our Collective Agreement just before we went into negotiations this time last year. Since then there have been on-going breaches of good faith.
“We’ve had continuous mediation for months on end. We want outside intervention because we simply can’t trust this lot.”