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Questions over Air NZ claim

October 17, 2006

Questions over Air NZ claim

Unions call lawyers over Qantas revelations that it hasn’t cancelled a contract

The unions representing Air New Zealand ground staff are seeking urgent legal advice in the wake of revelations that the airline might not have lost a contract with Qantas after all – the reason given for proposals to slash the payroll.

D1Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that the report in today’s Independent Financial Review was totally at odds with what unions had been told by Air New Zealand.

“If the report in the Independent is true, it raises major questions about the integrity of the company’s representations to the unions,” he said.

“That is a very serious situation and we are taking urgent legal advice.”

The EPMU, which represents about 1400 ground staff, and the Service and Food Workers’ Union, which covers about 200 ground staff, have been told that Air New Zealand has lost a contract to do Qantas’ domestic handling in New Zealand, and must therefore cut $20 million from the payroll.

The company proposes making some 1600 workers redundant and contracting work out, and it is currently involved in a 58-day consultation process with the unions.

But today the Independent quoted a Qantas manager as saying that the contract had not been cancelled, but was up for review as part of the normal business process.

Service and Food Workers’ Union Auckland secretary Jill Ovens said that workers were furious over the revelations.

“To say that they are angry is an understatement,” she said.

ENDS

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