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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter.

Successful national campaigner returns to NZALPA

One of the rising stars of New Zealand industrial relations, Tom Buckley, has returned to serve the needs of NZALPA‘s growing General Aviation (GA) membership.

General Manager Dawn Handforth said she was thrilled with Buckley’s decision to return after serving as NZALPA’s first GA Organiser in 2012.

In his most recent role as the Unite union’s Assistant National Secretary, he was responsible for around 3000 members employed through out the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

“Tom is well-known for the key role he played in the successful industry and community campaign to organise fast food workers, which was dubbed 'supersizemypay’,” said Handforth. 

“This campaign also assisted in removing the practice of youth rates which allowed employers to pay 80% or less of the adult minimum wage.

“In 2015, Tom’s work on legislative and industrial reform notably helped outlaw the controversial zero hour contracts,” Handforth said.  “His hard work was recognised in his invitation to present on the issue to the Finnish Parliament last year in support of legislation to also outlaw the practice.”

Buckley, 35, was raised in the King Country and started working for Unite in 2005 after graduating from the University of Auckland. With his father an accountant in the forestry industry and his mother a social worker, a social conscience and interest in politics seemed inevitable.  One of Buckley’s two brothers also works for the National Union of Workers in Melbourne.

Buckley’s other loves are art and his new Triumph Bonneville. He’s also worked as a video producer and would like to train one day as a helicopter pilot.   

His interest in aviation issues helped spark his return to NZALPA, as well as how much he’d previously enjoyed working with staff and members.  But Buckley has set some firm goals.

“I’m looking forward to growing the participation of GA pilots’ inside NZALPA membership and through the wider industry.  I want to give GA’s a higher profile and work towards improving the conditions and safety for those many New Zealander’s working in general aviation.”

Buckley replaces Katie Rowsell who has transferred to Wellington to take up a senior organising role with the Public Services Association (PSA).


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