Engineers at Air New Zealand are planning to strike in the days before Christmas, which will disrupt the travel plans of thousands of travellers.
Air New Zealand says unions have given notice that about 1000 maintenance staff will take industrial action over a pay dispute on December 21, the airline’s busiest day of the year.
About 42,000 international and domestic travellers are booked to travel that day alone and now face potential cancellations, the company said in a statement on Friday.
Its general manager of aircraft maintenance, Viv de Beus, said the call for a strike was “entirely premature” and that unions were using the holiday rush as a bargaining chip.
Worker’s union E tu’, however, has rejected that, saying the Air NZ had taken an “unnecessarily aggressive” posture in talks.
The union’s head of aviation said that this is not just about pay. It’s about repeated proposals by the airline weeks out from Christmas to pay them less than colleagues who have already settled and to cut into key conditions, including overtime rates,.
The negotiations cover pay and conditions for hangar engineers, store workers and aircraft cleaners, according to the union.
The parties have agreed to meet on Monday in a bid to avoid a strike.