It’s time for Bill English, as shareholding minister in Air New Zealand, to tell the AirNZ board that either they fire CEO Robert Fyfe or he will fire them.
Yesterday, Fyfe directly attacked two government policies.
First, he threatened to cancel flights if air traffic controllers take their meal breaks at the statutorily guaranteed times. That’s an attack on the right to meal breaks, which National voted for just last year.
Next, it has emerged AirNZ is trying to hire strikebreakers to stymie a strike by flight attendants employed by an AirNZ subsidiary Zeal who just want to be paid as much as flight attendants working on the same flights who are employed directly by AirNZ. That goes against repeated statements from government ministers that they support workers’ right to organise and won’t be attacking unions.
It’s not on for a company that is majority-owned by the government to carry on attacking workers’ rights like this.
Key won’t like it. He’s mates with Fyfe and has already come out on his side against the workers. English will have to decide whether pissing off Key is worth it to stand by National’s stated policies.
[Update: The flight attendants are calling for members of the public to send in as many job applications as possible to flood Air NZ’s email system.]