Relief for 120,000 as Air New Zealand Xmas strike averted

December 13, 2018
Air New Zealand strike averted
Photo: Steve Creedy.

A strike that threatened the Christmas travel plans of more than 100,000 Air New Zealand passengers has been averted.

Air New Zealand announced Wednesday night that an agreement had been reached with the unions representing its aircraft maintenance and logistics workers.

This included the lifting of strike notices that threatened to disrupt travel for 120,000 customers over the three busiest travel days of the year.

Three days of mediated negotiations concluded late Wednesday with the parties reaching an agreement that the unions will take to a member vote.

Air New Zealand chief ground operations officer Carrie Hurihanganui said the airline had been focused on achieving resolution on behalf of its customers.

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She said they could now be reassured their Christmas holiday travel plans were secure.

“We know how important it is to our customers to get where they need to be, particularly at this special time of the year and the negotiating teams have been working diligently to achieve this result,” he said.

Mrs Hurihanganui said the airline was unable to discuss details of the agreement as the unions now needed to communicate it to their members and achieve ratification.

She acknowledged the good faith in which the negotiations had been conducted in helping achieve this outcome for travelers.

Workers had previously voted overwhelmingly to reject a pay increase of 2 percent in the first year and then 3 percent over the next 18 months.

The offer also contained a clawback that would reduce all overtime payments back to time and a half in a period the union said Air New Zealand was making substantial profits.

The strike had originally been targeted for December 21,  Air New Zealand’s busiest day over the peak Christmas period, but was later widened to the three pre-Christmas travel days.

The airline had accused the unions of deliberately using Kiwi families’ Christmas holidays as a bargaining chip.