At the time of writing, NZALPA’s legal team is putting the finishing touches to our written submission on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill as it moves through the Select Committee stage.
Members will recall the purpose of this Bill is to restore key minimum standards and protections for employees, and to implement a suite of changes to promote and strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace. The changes, said Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, are intended to introduce greater fairness in the workplace between employees and employers, in order to promote productive employment relationships.
However, on behalf of our ATCs and pilots, NZALPA does have concerns with regard to the industry reality of minimum standards and the Government Coalition agreement to continue 90 day trial periods for smaller employers. The next step in the process will be oral submissions, and we intend to appear in front of the newly-named Education and Workforce Select Committee before it finalises its report, due back in Parliament by August.
In addressing the Committee, we’ll be backing up our submission with key data from our inaugural General Aviation (GA) survey of our membership of which analysis of the results and comments is already providing a valuable, although concerning, background to the vulnerability of our GA members. This is especially in regard to minimum standards – and should assist in gaining a wider understanding of the challenges this sector of the industry faces on a day-to-day basis.
Although we’re currently analysing the data, preliminary results show there are broad trends along the lines of what we suspected regarding minimum employment standards, and some unsettling evidence of pressure from employers to exceed flight time, duty time or minimum rest limitations. We are doing further work and will be releasing information shortly, once our report is finalised. At the same time, further preliminary feedback suggests that a quarter of GA respondents would not feel comfortable completing a fatigue report. Meanwhile we’re receiving reports from our pilot leadership group at the Links airlines that the additional work that has been added to the regional roster, coupled with an imbalance in crewing numbers, is having a negative impact on pilot welfare.
As the Mt Cook and Air Nelson Councils continue to work with the company to resolve these issues, members are urged to contact our PAN team for confidential support and assistance. Our message is please remember that if you’re feeling overwhelmed you’re not alone - the NZALPA team is here to help and we do so confidentially.
Finally, it was pleasing to see the historic signing in March of a protocol between the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and Ryanair, which will assist the European unions to achieve direct permanent employment contracts. This will hopefully ultimately spell the end of all atypical employment practices for this group of pilots.
I leave you with the words of ECA President, Dirk Polloczek.
“The world is watching Ryanair’s pilots as they strive for decent and fair working conditions. And rightly so! Precarious atypical employment and denied labour rights are not only a trend in aviation but a phenomenon that is aggressively spreading, both in Europe and worldwide. The pilots of Ryanair have shown that with immense will and unity, employees can successfully regain their position at the bargaining table.”