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Greens hope Air NZ deal takes off

31 January 2006

Greens hope Air NZ deal takes off

The Green Party is pleased that Air New Zealand has accepted a proposal that will see its heavy maintenance remain in this country but hopes it will not ask employees to make too many sacrifices.

Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford says she commends the EPMU and other unions on site for the huge amount of work they have done in putting up an alternative to the airline's original plan to shut up shop and head overseas.

"The airline's decision to accept this alternative will keep this heavy industry in New Zealand and save a substantial number of jobs, which is great news.

"I believe the unions and workers have compromised hugely to come up with this deal and I only hope Air New Zealand management, in its acceptance of this proposal, does not see it as an opportunity to force workers into unreasonable cuts in wages and conditions," she says.

The retention of this maintenance operation is a win-win situation - many workers will keep their jobs, Air New Zealand retains its reputation as a safe airline and the country holds on to a valuable business, she says.

"It's absolutely critical that we keep infrastructure industries like heavy maintenance and manufacturing in this country," she says.

"I despair at the number of jobs and money lost from the New Zealand economy over recent years because local businesses have closed their New Zealand operations and headed for cheaper markets in China. I worry that this situation is only going to get worse if this government continues in its relentless pursuit of free trade agreements will all and sundry," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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