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Time for Fyfe to go

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 pm, March 30th, 2009 - 26 comments
Categories: activism, workers' rights - Tags: ,

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.]

26 comments on “Time for Fyfe to go”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Are you serious?

  2. Nick 2

    What reactionary rubbish. You sound like the Nats, calling for sackings. Suggest you go back and look more carefully at what AirNZ is saying. If you live in Gisbourne or Rotorua or another provincial town or city then you might see their point. In any event, Fyfe is a good guy who has a solid reputation with his workers. Before slagging him off with banal unionist trumpetings, I suggest you find out more about him.

    • Tigger 2.1

      Nick and Tom M, which workers are you talking to? None of the people I know in Air NZ (quite a few), nor those working in supporting industries (even more), rate Fyfe at all.

      My sources tell me, as TomSe points out, he carries grudges, back-stabs, bullies (while playing the victim) and take credit for the work of others. Not quite the shining CE you guys have painted.

  3. Tom M 3

    This is way beyond reason – Fyfe is one of the most highly respected and best performing CEO’s in the country. Firing him would harm Air New Zealand substantially, and calling for it only shows that you know little of what you’re talking about.

  4. “Tom M
    Fyfe is one of the most highly respected and best performing CEO’s in the country.”

    He sure as hell isn’t acting like it at the moment.

    Hopefully he with push things a bit to hard, cause a number of strikes ect (any one else here the rabid old man (Koru club no less!) complaining last night that the workers dared to wear stickers on their uniforms in protest, you’d think they were ramming it down his throat or something.

    Somewhat hilariously he then blamed them for his bags not coming off first as they are ment to for koru club members, silly man, they are not air nz stuff doing the bags, employed by the airport.

    • And what I actually ment to write there was:

      Hopefully he with push things a bit to hard, cause a number of strikes ect

      So that next election Labour can run on a “get in there and sort them out” platform to reinforce and remind people of their workers rights credentials.

  5. TomSe 5

    Fyfe has a reputation as a man who carries grudges (witness his ongoing and childish fued with Auckland Airport) and believes that if you are not with him, you are against him. Eventually, such attitudes WILL catch up with him.

  6. gingercrush 6

    Seems so long ago when the left were in love with Fyfe for criticising National’s tax policies. Though in seriousness. If you want to see him sack. How do you do that without him taking it to employment court and getting some huge payout. Which is what you would get. I agree with you that Labour would handle it differently and would expect answers. But in no way would they be in a position to sack him.

  7. Shona 7

    This is the genius manager who tried to destroy the aircraft engineering and maintenance arm of Air NZ by ceasing to fly into Singapore more than 3 or4 times a week in and instead flying to Shanghai and other locations in China so he could use poorly trained slave labour in China to maintain Air NZ ‘s aircraft. The same Chinese maintenance crews who regularly returned aircraft to Qantas with an average of 93 tasks incomplete on each aircraft and managed to blot Qantas’s accident free record with their incompetence.The same idiot who turned down the golden egg offer from Singapore airlines to go into partnership with NZ getting all their maintenance contracts. The guy is a first rate dickhead!

  8. Lanthanide 8

    I’m sorry but I have to completely disagree about the meal break situation.

    Everything I have read suggests that these traffic controllers have always previously enjoyed their statutory 10 minute and 30 minute breaks, the difference now is that some bozo has applied a weird reading of the new law and believes that they must be strictly scheduled to a roster, rather than taking them when it is convenient for everyone involved.

    What makes more sense? Suddenly changing the way business is done, literally overnight, at the expense of 25 air flights per week (think about all the pilots, cabin crew, bag handling, airport staff etc who would lose work hours or even jobs), or continue with the status quo of organising breaks as appropriate so that no one misses out and everyone wins? It seems to me that if the air traffic controllers had a problem with their breaks not being strictly rostered, they would have complained long ago about the situation.

    I used to work at the Warehouse for 4 years, 2 1/2 as a supervisor, and we always endeavoured to give people their breaks on time (the Warehouse gave people 15 minute breaks instead of the legally required 10, also), but business demands simply made this impracticable to get everyone on their breaks exactly on time 100% of the time. Occasionally some people got a bit grumpy, particularly if their breaks were 30+ minutes late, but this rarely happened (at least on my watch), and everyone understood that it was simply a result of the trading environment that we worked in.

    There comes a time when you have to be pragmatic and realise that yes, in an ideal world staffing levels would be sufficient so that no closure of the towers were required, and everyone could also have strictly rostered breaks. However this is the world we are in, and so we should deal with it, rather than pining for the fjords for some better reality that does not (and due to business reasons, likely will never) exist.

    • Brucie 8.1

      Sorry buddy you’re not even in the same industry -aviation. Said you work in a store enviro.
      S’pose your staff were doing something even slighly risky it would probably be a guaranteed rest.

      I speak first hand pal, people in these jobs get breaks when they can. That is because schedules cost big money and they have a sometimes misplaced interest in the travelling public. I suppose public includes you friend.

      PS Does being a wrong on a fact make you a business specialst?

  9. Interestingly, Andrew Little has so far escaped the conflict of interest tag. It’s lucky for him Labour are in opposition but it’s nonetheless going to be an issue that he will need to address.

  10. Bill 10

    Em.

    You can’t have planes flying with no air traffic controllers. Cancelling flights is therfore a H&S necessity. What is it that the air traffic controllers are trying to leverage? ( I assume they are utilising loose or ambiguous wording in their Agreements to take their breaks simultaneously. Why?)

    On the second point, AirNZ will get fined for each and every person employed to do the work of the striking workers. I’d guess a cost analysis was done on this and AirNZ concluded it was cost effective to flout the law.

    Beyond that. When were workers ever generally afforded respect by bosses? It’s why we organise.

    I don’t like Fyffe’s attitude, but can’t see the grounds for him being fired. He’s there to make money. Period. Of course he’s an arsehole. But can you imagine if workers were legitimately fired just ’cause the boss considered them to be arseholes?

    • DeeDub 10.1

      “But can you imagine if workers were legitimately fired just ’cause the boss considered them to be arseholes?”

      Can I draw your attention to a little thing called the ‘fire at will bill’, Bill? Could easily happen to new workers anywhere.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        Fair point DeeDub. Don’t know how that slipped my mind.

        You get my general point though.

        Adding to my previous comment, having looked through the differentials in allowances, I guess the cost analysis takes into account how much money the company makes through breaking the union completely.

        So the bastards will take short term hits in looking to secure extraordinary long term gains.

        Thing is. I can’t readily think of an example off the top of my head where a major company has embarked on union busting and failed.

  11. cocamc 11

    I think you’ll find the Government cannot sack the Board of AirNZ. It is still a listed company and board members are appointed and re-appointed at the AGM.
    This isn’t a SOE, so get the facts straight

    • Bill 11.1

      So you stack an AGM how? Do the appointments require the approval of shareholders? If so, how many shares does a person require to hold to attend, to have a voice/ a vote?

  12. Nick 12

    Thanks, Lanthanide, for injecting some sense into this thread. Seems some of the comments here are more keen on vitriol than common sense and facts.

    “…

    Of course, management, including Fyfe, had been wrestling with what to do about engineering for months. “It was just a freak of timing that it happened on my watch. I was the quy who said, ‘Unless we fix it, this business is stuffed.’ But it created an impression.”

    “I went out to the hangers and walked up to this aircraft and within half a minute was surrounded by about 30 guys. I got, “You’re putting my job at risk, I’ve done a lot for this company,’ and finger-pointing in my face. I had to respond forcefully as to why we were doing what we were doing.”

    Andrew Little, secretary fo the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, which eventually came up with a labour-reform deal that saved engienering and 300 of the threatened jobs, says Fyfe earned respect for fronting up.

    “The first real engagements I had with Rob were difficult, but I always appreciated his openess and frankness. There was no sense that you’d go to a meeting and hear one thing and in the next conversation with a senior manager things had changed.”

    For a company notorious for tense industrial relations, much of Fyfe’s watch has been relatively harmonious.

    “The other thing I admire about him,” says Little, “is that very early in his tenure he took on two big issues – the engineering and airport services restructurings – and stayed. … Rob has not only stayed to see it work out, but been actively engaged in fronting up to Air New Zealand staff.”

    Air New Zealand staff have far better access to their CEO than usual, says Andrew Little. Fyfe answers all his emails personally, and his well-publicised habit of spending a day every month working alongside cleaning crews and baggage handlers is more than threare – “He listens and takes action.”

    …”

    (North and South, April 2009)

  13. cocamc 13

    Just have to read the Air NZ constitution to work that out, all comes back to Director Nominations and the AGM process

  14. justthefacts 14

    I totally support Rob Fyfe, show me the picket line and I will gladly cross it.

  15. ben 15

    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.

    Utter bollocks. Nobody is arguing there should not be breaks. Its an attack on unions who demand rigidity whatever the cost. Having staff take breaks at specified times means planes have to circle until controllers are done with their chicken salad. Needlessly unhelpful and a complete waste of resources.

  16. Observer 16

    “he threatened to cancel flights if air traffic controllers take their meal breaks at the statutorily guaranteed times”

    HOW was this a threat? You can’t fly a plane with no Air Traffic Control, it’s bloody dangerous. In this instance, Air New Zealand’s CEO is saying he will do exactly what should be done to ensure passenger safety.

    “who just want to be paid as much as flight attendants working on the same flights who are employed directly by AirNZ”

    There are NO flight attendants on the same flight employed by anyone other than Zeal 320, which was the company formed to employ flight attendants for Freedom Air which operated all the A320s now operated by AirNZ. They are demanding equal terms and conditions with cabin staff who operate AirNZ’s long-haul flights, which have different stresses and requirements because of their time in the air.
    A typical Trans Tasman duty day has two flights, one each way, with an hour in between, the cabin staff serve their passengers for circa seven hours in that day. A typical long-haul flight is 13 hours long and the crew go out one day and back the next, meaning they have to be away from home for at least one night. Different work, different pay rates.

    AND, for the record, Rob Fyfe is the first AirNZ CEO in a very long time whose undergraduate degree was directly related to the airline business, and who has hands-on experience of aircraft operations (well prior to working foir AirNZ). AS has been said earlier ? find out about the man before you start acting like a red queen. (Off with his head!)

    • Bill 16.1

      You might want to go here, http://www.epmu.org.nz/assets/Aviation/Zeal-320-Ltd-FAQ.pdf check your facts and then revise your assertions.

      The difference between Zeal and NZ direct employed domestic flight attendants is astounding. Note. That’s Domestic…..not International.

    • Daveo 16.2

      Observer: The Zeal A320 staff fly many of the same routes as flight attendants employed directly by Air NZ. They’re paid tens of thousands of dollars a year less.

      Get your facts straight mate.

  17. James Woodcock 17

    I was saddened to learn that, given the current situation in which Air NZ’s 250 “Zeal 320′ flight attendants find themselves, Rob Fyfe was rewarded with a 93% pay increase during a successful 2007/08 financial year. As their contract has remained un-changed since 2006, should the Air NZ “Zeal 320′ flight attendants not be entitled to a cut of the spoils? Air NZ’s accusations that these flight attendants are “greedy’ when asking for an increase of up to 26%, that would only bring them in line with their “Air NZ’ counterparts, seems both discriminatory and unfounded. Given the current melt down in the global economy should the Air NZ “Zeal 320′ flight attendants not share in the success that Rob Fyfe has enjoyed for the 2007/08 financial year

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
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    6 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
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    1 week ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
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    1 week ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago