Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

Negotiations Update

Current and ongoing negotiations involving NZALPA are detailed below.  For any queries related to negotiations, please email office@nzalpa.org.nz

Air New Zealand Regional Bargaining – Advocate Mark Dignan

Both Air New Zealand regional airlines are in bargaining at the moment, and have also been working with their management on developing a combined regional seniority list (RSL) for some time. This work, and the messaging from regional airline management that there would be a willingness to try and address shared regional airline pilots’ concerns, has been the driver behind several combined Mount Cook and Air Nelson bargaining meetings. As has been outlined in previous updates, the core concerns for regional pilots are:

  • RSL/Security of employment (including enhanced redundancy package for both airlines).
  • time away from home base (TAFB)
  • rest periods and time off at home
  • limits on overnights
  • accommodation
  • remuneration and allowance issues

Each airline is also currently bargaining separately, and separate collective employment agreements (CEAs) will result from this round of bargaining. If the combined meetings on the issues above can produce shared resolutions, and expedite bargaining and ratification, the combined bargaining teams will begin work on a combined regional CEA, which includes the RSL, over the term of the new CEAs.

Although the bargaining for each airline has hit some hurdles, the use of external facilitator Michael Belmont has re-focused both parties on the interest-based bargaining process, and progress on the issues has accelerated again.

Jetconnect Bargaining – Advocate Mark Dignan

The Jetconnect pilot negotiation team met with Jetconnect management to continue bargaining on 20-21 July. Time was spent tidying existing clauses in an attempt to remove some of the grey areas that have generated confusion around the intent of some clauses. Depending on the clause, or interests concerned, this can take some time, to ensure the wording clearly reflects the intent, cannot be misconstrued, and is fit for both Jetconnect’s current practice and future possible changes.

New Zealand has also undergone legislative changes to the Employment Relations Act since the last round of bargaining, and these changes were raised. While the changes discussed were more focused on shift workers and zero-hour contracts (and not currently relevant), the implications of the changes have to be looked at to ensure the CEA will comply. In particular, the company is seeking to insert a clause to clarify what payment will apply in the event of a cancellation of a duty.

The provisions protecting Jetconnect pilots’ quality of rostered days off (RDOs) continues, with both parties nearing an acceptable solution. The NZALPA negotiation team continues to stress the importance of not only the number of RDOs allocated in a roster period, but the quality of these days, by way of protection clauses. 

Progress was made around the definition of a day, protections for single RDOs, a guaranteed weekend off or a nominated two consecutive days per roster, with a minimum of 60 hours free of duty, commencing at a suitable time to allow pilots to enjoy the days appropriately. The company appears to have listened to pilot interests and the teams continue to work together to find acceptable solutions in both CEA clauses and in rostering practice. Each clause is being rigorously tested, including by taking  subject matter expert advice on fatigue risk management issues, before acceptance, to ensure as many potential consequences as possible are identified.

Early on in the negotiation process, the team raised the need to reach agreement on the ‘rest and meal breaks’ issue, and identified the need to correct the CEA to meet the requirements of the current legislation surrounding provision of rest and meal breaks, as other operators have. The current Jetconnect pilot CEA fails to address this issue; in particular there is no provision for rostered rest breaks to be taken, nor has a conversation been had with the company to determine agreed and suitable compensation if it is unable to provide these. The bargaining team has consulted with NZALPA Counsel Richard McCabe and the company has also sought legal advice, and has a differing view. The negotiation team is prepared to work through the issue to find an acceptable solution, or if necessary will remove the issue from the negotiation process entirely, allowing us to conclude the issue separately in the interests of progressing settlement of the CEA.

Virgin Australia New Zealand CEA Negotiations – Advocate Adam Nicholson

After several times reaching what we thought was settlement, an agreement has now been reached. The wording has been agreed, and members have a copy. Pre-ratification meetings will take place in the week commencing 31 August and ratification should be completed shortly thereafter.

Jetstar Regional CEA Negotiations – Advocate Adam Nicholson

Negotiations paused while we recruited a complete new negotiation team (former team members left the Company for roles elsewhere).  Negotiations resumed in mid July with the new team. Negotiations continue amicably, working through the issues of work-life balance, and will continue in mid August.

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