The recently proposed amendments to the Employment Relations Act, ongoing Operations Strategy issues and collective agreement negotiations scheduled with Airways will mean that 2018 will be a big year for the Air Traffic Control Council.
NZALPA was disappointed to see that Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) are excluded from receiving mandatory meal and rest breaks in the proposed Employment Relations Amendment Bill. The formulation of this legislation was completed without discussions with NZALPA and without a full understanding of the implications for ATCs.
Although ATCs provide a vital service that requires full time attention, NZALPA considers that restricting the ability for ATCs to have breaks is counterproductive.
If the proposed legislation goes ahead as drafted our members will continue to work seven and a half hour to nine and a half hour shifts with no breaks. The only way for our members to have breaks is if we can negotiate them as part of the discussion with Airways or the legislation is amended. NZALPA will be making submissions to the Select Committee in an endeavour to improve the wording of the Bill.
This poses a major risk to health and safety of not only our members but also to the aviation industry as a whole. Completing long shifts without a break increases the risk of human error. Allowing breaks during work hours means that members continue to stay sharp and are able to concentrate throughout their shift. Mistakes within this essential service have significant consequences and could cause incidents or accidents.
“This issue will be part of NZALPA’s ongoing dialogue with members of parliament, including discussions with the relevant Ministers and we will continue to be an active voice in this process, ensuring that the interests of our members are heard” said ATC Director Jim Dunn.
Airways collective agreement
Our major current focus is on wrapping up the collective agreement for Air Traffic Controllers with Airways. The negotiations are well underway and we will update members as the discussions continue.
The ATC negotiators have been out talking to our membership to determine final needs and desired outcomes from the negotiations.
“Our key objective is for a quick and painless negotiation
s with Airways, that provides Controllers reasonable recognition for the role they undertake,” said Jim.
NZALPA continues to provide input into the Airways Operational Strategy (AOS). Part of the AOS are plans to expand the domestic radar to include centres in both Christchurch and Auckland and to provide approach services, where possible with surveillance rather than procedural control. This strategy continues to have detrimental effects on an already strained staff culture as it proposes many changes to existing work practices into the future. NZALPA is working to find ways to minimise this expected disruption.
Airways has gone through a number of internal changes. Pauline Lamb, the Airways Chief Operating Officer, General Manager Systems Operator and past Acting Chief Executive has resigned. We wish Pauline well in her future endeavours and enjoyed working with her. Since Pauline’s departure, the role has changed and is now split into two parts, to cover ATS and Technical. Tim Boyle has taken over the ATS aspect of this role. Tim has a pragmatic approach to his work, and we are looking forward to working closely with him.