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Air NZ/Qantas deal welcome, says union

Air NZ/Qantas deal welcome, says union

Engineers and ground staff at Air New Zealand are welcoming news that their company is to get a cash injection and more engineering work from Qantas.

No staff retrenchment, an expansion of engineering facilities at Christchurch and a promised 20 per cent of the engineering work on the Qantas fleet are key planks of the proposal for Qantas to buy 22.5 per cent of the New Zealand airline.

Unions were briefed this morning by Air New Zealand chief executive Ralph Norris before an announcement was made to the share market.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that, if approved by the Government and the Commerce Commission, a partnership with Qantas offered the New Zealand airline long-term stability.

“We have been told that there will be no retrenchment,” he said. “Qantas will send 20 per cent of its engineering work to Air New Zealand, and there will be an expansion of hangar facilities in Christchurch. This is a show of confidence in the ability of Air New Zealand workers, and of the future of the airline.”

New Zealand aviation workers had lived under a cloud of uncertainty since early last year, when Qantas New Zealand collapsed and Air New Zealand had to be bailed out by the Government after the collapse of subsidiary Ansett Australia, Mr Little said.

“The New Zealand aviation market needs certainty,” he said. “We welcome the involvement of a major airline like Qantas to provide Air New Zealand with the capital and co-operative arrangements it needs.”

The EPMU, which represents 3000 Air New Zealand workers, looks forward to working with the airline and other unions to make sure that the new strategic releationship works in the interests of New Zealand and the Air New Zealand workforce.

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