According to trade union E tū, Air New Zealand cabin crew are striking for improved pay and working conditions in support of colleagues who are now receiving minimum wage after being laid off during the COVID-19 outbreak.
E tū said 44 cabin crew members in Air New Zealand’s Boeing 787 and 777 teams have been on strike for more than 37 days since March 7, 2022, in an emailed statement to union members viewed by Stuff.nz on April 14, 2022. According to the union, the walkout was called “for the sake of their fellow crew” who are paid minimum pay.
E tū further alleged that, in an effort to deal with strikers’ unhappiness, the airline had suspended some employees from work for six days, leaving them without pay “for initiating collective action.”
“The 44 are not striking for themselves. They are striking for the sake of their fellow crew,” the union said.
“Times have been tough for all of us at the airline and still too many of us are on minimum wage and below the living wage,” the email continued.
Nikki Dines, Air New Zealand’s chief people officer, said the strike is interfering with the airline’s training programs, which are being structured so that staff can return from redundancy. The strike, according to Dines, “is a prohibition on teaching other employees, recording findings, and signing off on the training of other employees.”
“This strike action is affecting our ability to train our returning crew and operate our international network, just at the time borders are opening, and we are rebuilding our team,” Dines told media, explaining that more than 100 cabin crew training and sign-off events have been affected so far.
The current minimum wage rate in New Zealand is $21.20 per hour, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment’s official website.