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Air NZ uses rosters to punish SFWU members

19 October

Air NZ uses rosters to punish SFWU members

Air NZ managers have told part-time check-in staff at Auckland International Airport they will be rostered-on for only 20 hours a week because they belong to the Service and Food Workers Union.

SFWU Northern Regional Secretary Jill Ovens said the Company was using rosters to punish the Union's members because the SFWU had not agreed to cuts in terms and conditions.

"Our members are entitled to meal allowances and better penal rates, so the company is trying to deny them the hours of work they need to survive."

Ms Ovens said part-time check-in staff were promised at their interviews they would get up to 60 hours a fortnight.

"Most new workers hear the 60 hours and don't realise there is no minimum. Then they find they are rostered on for 20 hours a week or less because of the Union they're in. They can't live on that."

An SFWU member said she was so shocked at the blatant discrimination, she considered going on an individual agreement.

In a written statement the Union is filing with the Employment Relations Authority, the member said: "Even though SFWU is who I am a part of, I have felt the pressure of never being rostered with my team, coming into work and finding I am not on a roster, or being put on the extra roster, feeling like a third wheel."

When she was told she would be rostered-on for only 20 hours a week, she says she was shocked.

"I felt maybe I should sign over to the individual contract and the pressure may stop. Why should I when I am in a democratic society?" she said. "The only way I can describe the atmosphere, I wonder if this is what apartheid was like?"

Last week the Authority determined that new employees who became SFWU members must be employed on the conditions of the SFWU Collective Agreement under the "join the union, join the Collective" provisions of the Employment Relations Act.

In his determination, Authority member Alastair Dumbleton said Air NZ had misrepresented the status and role of the SFWU in its communications to new employees by stating that the Union's Collective Employment Agreement had expired.

"A collective agreement is the lifeblood of a union and its members. To represent incorrectly that the collective agreement is no longer effective is a serious and damaging misstatement," Mr Dumbleton said.

Air NZ has agreed to write to all new employees in airport services to tell them they can join the SFWU and if they do, the conditions of the CEA will apply to their work in full. Also, the Company is to explain to new employees that they won't be sacked if they go onto the SFWU Collective.


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