It’s been a big year for NZALPA and, with the Christmas season upon us, it’s of course one of our busiest periods.
As well as the frantic pace of this time of the year, it’s also a season of reflection and I’d like to share, for me, the significant events for NZALPA in 2017.
We actively participated, including on two high-profile panels discussing the reality of ‘atypical employment’ and ‘flags of convenience’ issues at the IFALPA international conference in Montreal, Canada. This was an eye-opening experience learning about the erosion of workers’ contracts and conditions in other jurisdictions, and reminded me of the old Fred Dagg adage – ‘we don’t know how lucky we are’. It is so important that we continue to both maintain and improve our employment standards here in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, our battle over the length of the proposed Wellington Airport runway extension safety area (RESA) awaits the ruling of the Supreme Court. Wellington Airport and the CAA have appealed the prior NZALPA Court of Appeal ‘win’, which has also led to the postponement of the runway’s resource consent process.
There was disappointment, however, at the loss of the Second Officer pay equity ruling in the Supreme Court earlier this year. There has been subsequent progress though, and we’re now working through discussions with Air New Zealand to investigate ways to equalise pay across all Air New Zealand jet fleet ranks.
We hosted two highly successful Conferences and welcomed international aviation colleagues to both the NZALPA Annual Conference, this year held in Christchurch, and the IFATCA Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting in Wellington. A big thank you to the NZALPA members and staff who worked tirelessly to make these events so informative, collegial and memorable.
We’ve grown our membership by welcoming a number of helicopter and fixed-wing pilots as part of our campaign to grow our General Aviation representation. Along with pilot training, it’s a burgeoning industry and NZALPA is best placed to assist and represent workers’ interests in this sector.
On the negotiations front, we welcomed the settlement of Virgin, Jetstar, Mount Cook and Air Nelson Collective Employment Agreements (CEAs). Mount Cook and Air Nelson contracts are currently out for ratification. There was also continued participation and development of the Air New Zealand Group High Performance Engagement with successful completion of the 18-month Jet A320 Work Rules Improvement Team engagement process.
Care and support of our members and colleagues is NZALPA’s highest priority and I’m delighted at the continued development of the NZALPA Peer Assistance Network (PAN) programme, including commitments of support from Air New Zealand, Jetconnect, VANZ and XT Catlin insurance, with endorsement from our regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority. Airways is also considering how they will support the ATC’s own programme, developed by a number of our dedicated and highly professional air traffic controllers. Much time and expertise has been given by the membership to also develop the Women’s Assistance Forum within the PAN programme.
NZALPA continues to have a high profile in the national media and received considerable coverage this year on key aviation issues such as pilot training, proliferation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and the need to support workers in smaller aviation operations. We also had the successful launch of the new NZALPA Smartphone App and revamped and improved communications through Uplink and the NZALPA website.
Following on from the formation of the new Labour-led Government we expect employee-driven changes and formal amendments to employment legislation in 2018. With a renewed focus on ministerial, government and regulatory engagement, NZALPA is well placed to continue building close and informative relationships to make sure NZALPA, as the ‘Voice of Aviation’, is heard loud and clear.
Finally, after Air New Zealand was awarded Top Airline in the World by prestigious US magazine Condé Nast Traveler, in this last Uplink for 2017, we welcome a guest editorial from Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon. It was pleasing to see that, on receipt of the airline’s latest accolade, Air New Zealand firstly thanked the consistent hard work of its 11,800 employees.
On behalf of all the NZALPA officers and staff, I wish you and your families a happy and safe festive season.