Like many of you, we’ve had a busy start to the year and we’re rolling into autumn with a full agenda of priorities for our members – a lot of which are based around negotiations of both existing and greenfield Collective Employment Agreements (CEAs).
Last month we concluded our negotiations with Jetstar and the ratification process will commence later this month.
Meanwhile, we continue our CEA negotiations with Virgin Australia and New Zealand (VANZ) after a positive three-day meeting in February. We are confident that the next meeting will keep us tracking in the right direction and will keep you updated.
Following an initial bargaining meeting with Jetstar Regional in February, to negotiate our first CEA with this employer, we look forward to progressing discussions at our upcoming meeting this month. For our Air New Zealand Link members, Mount Cook and Air Nelson pilots, we’re preparing for imminent negotiations with both employers over a large number of common issues – including scheduling and fatigue concerns.
For organisations such as ours, we are delighted that the remaining hours of work and availability provisions under the amendments made last year to the Employment Relations Act are coming into effect on April 1. These changes, that essentially abolish zero-hours contracts, will impact many of our members in the General Aviation (GA) sector particularly, as requirements to have agreed and documented hours of work will become compulsory.
The changes are further explained in this Uplink edition by General Aviation Advocate Tom Buckley, who was instrumental in getting the changes across the line while in former employment at another union.
The amendments have helped highlight that not all members are employed on industry standard terms and conditions. We will soon be commencing an audit of our GA members and discussion with relevant representatives to ascertain to what extent their employment agreements are compliant with minimum-standards legislation.
We have anecdotal evidence that some of our members’ conditions currently do not comply with minimum-standards legislation (e.g. Holidays Act, Minimum Wage Act, Employment Relations Act). Our pilot members, for example, can spend upwards of $100,000 on flight training to gain employment in aviation, making it even more imperative that their employment agreements meet regulatory standards. We prefer, wherever possible, to work collaboratively with employers on fixing such anomalies, therefore an audit will assist us in our goal of educating employers who do not comply with minimum standards, in order to have any deficiencies corrected.
This month we also offer further information on widely reported concerns regarding the interpretation by employers around the Holidays Act. We are focusing on driving awareness for our members and applying significant pressure on employers to ensure that holiday pay entitlement is calculated and paid correctly.
For all of the negotiations we are currently working on, our advocates are using interest-based bargaining techniques. We have found this very useful for creating constructive working relationships and sustainable change and NZALPA is launching courses for its members to learn interest-based bargaining skills themselves. These courses will provide valuable insight and instruction, which has helped our organisation achieve better outcomes and relationships.
As the first Board meeting of the year approaches, we continue to work on our governance initiatives, which will be reviewed again at the NZALPA Annual Conference in June. Good governance remains a focus for our organisation and is at the centre of ensuring that the union works proactively, efficiently and effectively for its membership.
The Board agenda will also include budget considerations and recommendations to be presented at the June conference.
As the President mentioned, plans for the upcoming Annual Conference are well underway – one of our most ambitious and far reaching we’ve ever held. The Liberalisation of Airspace: Challenges and Opportunities has already attracted speakers who will discuss the future local and international implications of increased open skies, trans-national airlines and the consequent impacts on safety and employment standards, as well as security of employment. We are in the process of confirming panellist and keynote speakers from a list of national and international influencers for the event. There will be more details online and in future editions of Uplink.
I hope NZALPA members from throughout the country can join us in Christchurch in June as we look to discuss, debate and decide on issues that very much impact our immediate and long-term futures.
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