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Air NZ avoids talks with striking workers

Air NZ avoids talks with striking workers

One week out from a possible strike by Air New Zealand ground staff, union delegates want to know why their employer hasn't fronted to mediation.

Last week the Service and Food Workers Union issued strike notice against the company for a 22 hour strike on Friday October 15th.

SFWU advocate Alastair Duncan says the company has clammed up since the notice was delivered and appears to be doing all it can to avoid meeting the union.

"It took nearly a week for them to even say they would attend the mediation.

"Now they say they cannot attend until the day before the strike is due to start.

"All the evidence points to an employer that doesn't want to work with us to try and find a way to avoid the strike."

Alastair Duncan says the union gave extended notice of the action specifically to enable Air New Zealand to sit down and try and resolve the issue.

"If they won't talk to us then we can't listen to any proposals they may have to settle this matter."

Alastair Duncan says that even if progress was made, last minute mediation would present huge practical problems in communicating the results.

"It's a classic game of brinkmanship, played by a management team out of touch with its own workforce."

The union is now considering the possibility of legal action over the company's delays as well as an approach to government as the prime shareholder.

Nearly 400 workers voted by a 98% margin for the strike which will affect Auckland and some Christchurch based services.

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