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Air New Zealand says Strike Action by FARSA Cabin Crew is Unnecessary and an Extreme Reaction

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com 22 January 2003

Air New Zealand has said that planned strike action next month from one of its cabin crew unions FARSA (Flight Attendants and Related Services Association) is totally unnecessary and that the health and safety issues should be resolved in their proper context outside the industrial forum.

Chief Executive Ralph Norris said the concerns of FARSA include issues around health and safety of cabin crew working on long haul international flights which are unrelated to pay bargaining.

FARSA has made it clear that it is unwilling to discuss secondary issues, including allowances until the health and safety matters have been resolved to the satisfaction of the FARSA executive.

"Health and safety, if that's how FARSA wants to term their rostering concerns, is a separate issue to remuneration. Any issue of crew fatigue raised in discussion requires a serious examination by the company.

This matter should be addressed by an objective review outside pay bargaining which should not, in the public interest, be the vehicle for working through health and safety issues.

"Air New Zealand views health and safety as a critical issue. In this regard the company has committed to participating in an objective study of crew fatigue and has given a commitment to abide by all recommendations reached by such a review.

"We have invited FARSA to discuss their health and safety concerns in an objective forum - but it is not appropriate to do this under threat of industrial action. Striking is an extreme reaction to the situation," said Mr Norris.

"It is the view of the company that the proposed industrial action is unlawful given the fact that the airline concluded bargaining last week.

Currently we are looking at all the options open to us to avert the strikes. While we very much hope the strikes can be avoided, we will deliver a contingency  plan which minimises the impact on our customers.

"This action by a small minority places exceptional burdens on many of the company's other staff who have to deal with the consequences of this selfish action by FARSA. It creates an extremely difficult situation for the 90% of the Air New Zealand workforce, whose efforts have strongly contributed to the company's financial recovery programme. This crew dispute threatens to undermine the sacrifices and hard work of these staff," he said.

The proposed industrial action involves a 24hour strike on Wednesday 5th February followed by 48 hour strikes on the following days in February: Friday 7th & Saturday 8th, Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th & Friday 14th.

"This timing is clearly intended to undermine New Zealand's current high profile at the beginning of the America's Cup campaign and following our positive exposure to tourism markets generated by our Lord of the Rings promotions." said Mr Norris.

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