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Union to Air NZ: Abandon Fiji outsourcing

Union to Air NZ: Abandon plans to outsource finance jobs to Fiji

The union representing 70 Air NZ clerical workers whose jobs are to be outsourced to Fiji is calling on the airline's board to immediately abandon its proposal in light of increased political tensions.

The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota says Air NZ has been restructuring union members' jobs as it works to secure a contract with an outsource provider.

SFWU Northern Regional Secretary Jill Ovens says the last time the company communicated with the union about the outsource location was in September. At that stage, Suva was the preferred option.

"The idea of outsourcing to Fiji has got to be in doubt given the likelihood of a coup there."

Ms Ovens says this illustrates the potential for loss of control if Air NZ operations are outsourced off-shore.

"Several years ago Air NZ outsourced about 20 jobs to Fiji and later had to move to another provider in Mexico because of political instability in Fiji at the time.

"That was a disaster as the Mexican outsource provider didn't do the jobs properly and Air NZ had to bring them back in-house before sending them off to Fiji again."

Ms Ovens says Air NZ Finance justified its latest outsourcing proposal as a cost-saving measure, yet the company has recently established 43 new positions on higher salaries because of additional requirements to manage or monitor the service level agreement with an outsource provider.

"Outsourcing is actually resulting in cost increases. As well as the new higher salaries, there are also salaries of corporate managers whose time for the last six months or so has been spent devising outsource plans and negotiating with outsource providers."

Meanwhile those who have not been selected for the new positions have to keep on working alongside the successful candidates until Air NZ decides to let them go.

"Some staff who provided an expression of interest because they wanted to stay on have been told there is no job for them within the new structure. But the company is telling them it could be any time up until April 2008 before they are given notice and collect their redundancy payment."

Ms Ovens says those who missed out on a position are now working in a very difficult environment, as they have to watch people being trained to do their job.

"This is another example of the management incompetence that we see at Air NZ. They blindly adhere to their contracting-out agenda while the real business of running the airline is left to the employees.

"Senior management in Air NZ Finance should be held accountable for this debacle."

ENDS

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