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Viable alternatives to Air NZ cuts - unions

December 6, 2005

Viable alternatives to Air NZ cuts - unions

The unions representing 617 Air New Zealand aircraft engineers facing redundancy say that their investigations show there are viable alternatives to the company’s plans to out-source heavy engineering overseas.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that top Auckland financial consultants Michael Stiassny and Brendon Gibson of Ferrier Hodgson analysed the situation on behalf of the unions and had come up with a viable alternative.

“The details of our proposal will be presented to Air New Zealand on Thursday,” he said, “but it is clear that simply closing the heavy maintenance operation down and shipping the work overseas is not the only option.”

Mr Little said that the unions’ key message to the company and its major shareholder, the New Zealand Government, was that the future of such a crucial piece of New Zealand infrastructure should not be decided lightly.

“The engineering expertise at Air New Zealand is world-class, the peak of the engineering industry in New Zealand,” he said.

“If we let it go we will never get it back. This decision is too important to our future to be rushed, and we will be asking Air New Zealand and the government to take the time necessary to make the best decision.”

Mr Little said that the workers were prepared to be flexible about pay and conditions.

“We have held a series of meetings with members this week to outline possible changes to employment conditions, and have received a mandate to go ahead and talk to the company,” he said.

The full proposal will be presented to Air New Zealand in Auckland on Thursday.

ENDS

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