From the picket line

Written By: - Date published: 2:52 pm, May 8th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: ,

A Zeal worker on the picket line in Wellington explains why she and her workmates are taking strike action at Air New Zealand:

There’s also a report from the picket line at The Hand Mirror, photos from the pickets here and a timetable of when pickets are happening around the country here for those who want to offer their solidarity. Great stuff.

Update: Donation details here.

18 comments on “From the picket line”

  1. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 1

    Banned for life. Take your filth elsewhere. – Eddie.

  2. Ephemera 2

    @Peter Johns

    Talk like a grown up or shut up.

  3. MikeE 3

    Theres a recession/depression going on – and these guys are on strike?

    I could understand this in a strong economy etc, but with layoffs going on all around us, you’d think the next 12 months or so would be the ideal time ot hunker down and work.

  4. Tripod 4

    That would make sense Mike E except Air NZ is still a profitable company and can afford to pay people doing an equivalent job far higher wages. Even when a company’s profits are booming this does not mean wage increases for workers; it means greater profits for shareholders.

    Air NZ has been laying workers off for years, even when there was no recession and its profits were increasing (groundstaff restructuring in 2007, cleaners being outsourced, threats to outsource finance to Fiji)

    The workers didn’t cause the recession they shouldn’t have to pay for it. Why are you telling them to “hunker down and work” as if they don’t do this anyway? Their pay claim is probably eclipsed by the increase given to Rob Fyfe in any event.

    I say all power to the flight attendants and good on them for sticking up for each other and the rest of us. They’ve got my support 100%. (Plus the attendants in the EPMU ads are babes which always helps)

  5. coge 5

    Heck, some would say they are lucky to have a job right now. The people who claim to represent them are really representing themselves. Thankfully most Kiwis already understand this.

    • Eddie 5.1


      The union officials are employed by the members of the union. The union officials don’t stand to gain anything by pushing workers out on strike.

      Strikes only happen when the workers vote to go on strike after bargaining has broken down.

      The workers choose to go on strike, they are the ones out there picketing. They’re not being driven into anything by the union officials, their employees.

      And, so what if there’s a recession, that’s no excuse for them not to get fair pay. Air NZ is profitable and it could afford to give Rob Fyfe a pay rise of $1.5 million last year. The Zeal320 staff only want $1.5 million between the 250 of them.

      Face it you are opposing the strike out of blind ideology.

  6. Eddie 6

    MikeE. The pay rises they want total to the same amount that Rob Fyfe alone got last year.

    You read that right – 250 people wanting about $6,000 each, as a step towards pay parity with people doing the same work. Comes to $1.5 million. That’s the pay rise Fyfe alone got last year.

    It’s just $1.5 million a year for a profitable company with a turnover in the hundreds of millions.

    The flight attendants aren’t asking much. It’s Fyfe and his henchmen who are the problem, this is the first step for them in lowering wages and conditions for other Air NZ workers.

    • MikeE 6.1

      Eddie, with your obvious managerial excellence and business skills, and the obvious ease of running a large firm such as air NZ, can you please explain why you don’t have the top job, if its so easy?

      • Maynard J 6.1.1

        Piss poor response MikeE. Eddie did not say that Fyfe’s job was easy. If you are going to resort to petty answers try have them bare some resemblance to what has been said.

      • bilbo 6.1.2

        I’m sure Fyfe’s job is just as hard as it was when he was on 1.6 million per year – I’m not sure why he deserves a 1.5 million pay rise ……. I mean to say I could understand this kind of pay rise in a strong economy etc, but with layoffs going on all around us, you’d think the next 12 months or so would be the ideal time ot hunker down and work not take extravagant pay rises.

  7. Donation details are up here.

  8. Eddie 8

    Updated. Thanks I/S.

  9. Nikki 9

    More pics from Welly yesterday if anyone wants to use them (in support!)


  10. jagilby 10

    I’m willing to be informed here but $43,000 seems like reasonable pay to serve a muffin and coffee (and granted be responsible in the very unlikely case that a tragedy were to occur). I know alot of people down at my local coffee shop who do earn alot less and actually prepare the food too.

    Could be wrong but I saw AirNZ’s reply on TV and it indicated that these workers are comparing their pay to long-haul stewards when they bring up the whole “$30,000 less pay for the same job” argument. Those (very public) statements to me seem to be very misleading given the far greater commitment (flight times, away from family etc) of long haul stewards.

    • itbit 10.1

      Jagilby, cast your mind back to a time just a few months ago when Rob Fyfe was telling the public that the flight attendents were offered a 4.5% pay increase to $41,000 for a new entrant and up to $60,000 for ISM/trainer/checker. Then try to think again (I know this might be hard but just try) about Bruce Parton’s appearance on Breakfast when he claimed that the Zeal attendants were on, and I say ON, as in implying that they are currently paid, $43,000 for a new entrant FA. Now read that again and think, does this add up? Perhaps Fyfe got confused and Bruce had a bit of a slip of the tongue? Or maybe neither of them have their facts right?

      Seems they don’t.

      The Zeal FA’s starting rate is $25,695. With the $4.87 allowance (about $40 a working day). Doesn’t look like $43,000 to me. Or $41,000, whichever it was because I don’t know because none of the Air NZ big wigs who get their faces on TV seem to know either.

      And serve coffee and muffins? Well maybe when your mother has just had a heart attack on board you’ll be thanking your lucky stars the cabin attendants can work the defib, the oxygen, the various drugs and bits and pieces in the emergency equipment. You’ll be glad for their calm headedness in the all-too-over-whelming-for-you situtation and their patience, kindness and compassion, which for the most part is an essential “skill” when dealing with a lot of people, many of whom aren’t all that grateful for it.

      Perhaps you’ll laugh at that but that’s what they’re trained for and maybe one day you’ll learn to be grateful too for the people who are just there to serve you coffee and muffins.

  11. JD 11

    You are misinformed jagilby.

    Air New Zealand are lying about the wages. That’s part of the reason why the crew are so angry. The base rate is $28,000 plus $4.87 per hour in allowances to cover food, clothing, drycleaning, transport, everything. You can’t trust a thing Fyfe’s goons say.

  12. coge 12

    Eddie, funny how there were buggar all strikes under Labour, when in essence nothing has really has changed. Still got to be careful striking, not great PR when there has been a general re-aligning of the broader electorates politics. Interesting to see how the MSM covers it.

    • Ephemera 12.1

      Coge, are you implying that the EPMU is striking out of spite of the ruling party?

      “Funny how New Zealand always enters recession under a National government, when in essence nothing really has changed. Still got be careful overseeing a shrinking economy, not good PR…”

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