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Lock-out Notice Issued to EPMU

Media Statement
21 April 2009

Lock-out Notice Issued to EPMU

Zeal has today issued notice to EPMU that it will lock-out Zeal flight attendants who intend to strike around Mother’s Day weekend from 7 May.

“Air New Zealand will not be held to ransom by a union who is not interested in coming back to the mediation table and working out a deal with Zeal,” says Air New Zealand Group General Manager Short Haul Airlines Bruce Parton.

“Strike notices are often issued and then pulled at the last moment to maximise disruption. So to ensure customers can count on Air New Zealand to get them where they want to go over this period, EPMU Zeal members will be locked out so as to protect the Air New Zealand schedule and enable us to commence implementation of a crew roster using alternate staff that we have ready to go.”

Air New Zealand has approximately 100 trained Air New Zealand staff, many of them volunteers, to work as cabin crew on the A320 aircraft operating trans-Tasman and Pacific Island routes.

“EPMU Zeal members are making a mockery of the 11,000 Air New Zealanders who have worked too hard to get this airline in the strong position it is in today,” says Mr Parton.

“Up until this point we’ve been respecting members’ rights to strike and have put up with juvenile behaviour, such as dressing in costume, but enough is enough. Zeal is now exercising its rights under the bargaining process to issue a lock-out notice against the strike notice period to ensure customers can expect the level of service they look forward to when they fly with Air New Zealand. Certainly they can’t count on Zeal staff at the moment.”

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The EPMU walked out of mediation one week ago and has not been prepared to re-enter negotiations.

“The EPMU’s approach to this whole process has been quite extraordinary. They’ve made themselves available for only three days of mediation with Zeal in the past two weeks, the last occasion a week ago,” says Mr Parton.

“They’ve walked away from pay offers from Zeal of several thousand dollars for members including a base pay increase of nearly 4% and allowance increases of almost 8%. They say they want a pay rise and we’re offering a good one. Now is not the time for them to look a gift-horse in the mouth.”


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