This time last year, work was well underway on a number of significant projects, including: preparation for the introduction of the Civil Aviation Bill, which had been flagged to pass through all stages of Parliament during the third quarter of 2020; Board endorsement of the Membership Working Group’s recommendations regarding new NZALPA membership eligibility rules and categories and subsequent membership approval; and the celebration of NZALPA’s 75th anniversary in October 2020.
Suffice it to say, only one of those projects was able to be completed this year. As it turned out, the timing of the new membership eligibility and categories coming into effect (they were officially approved by the Registrar of Unions at the start of September) was fortuitous. This was an important project that arose from a Remit at Conference 2018, at a time when no one could have envisaged a pandemic occurring of such scale and impact on our industry and lives. Thankfully, those rule changes have assisted us in our efforts to support and retain those members who have lost their jobs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily), or have elected to take leave without pay or furlough, or have retired from aviation. Whereas under the previous rule categories some of these members would have been ineligible for continued membership, under the new rules we are now able to offer affected members a number of different options better suited to their circumstances. The effect of the new membership categories has also meant only a very small net reduction in overall membership numbers this year.
Behind the scenes, the NZALPA Secretary, James Jarvis, has worked tirelessly to ensure affected members have not fallen through the cracks. Thanks must also go to Leo, our Finance Manager, who has spent the better part of the year ensuring that affected members have had their subscriptions amended or reimbursed where required, pursuant to the Board’s directions in this regard.
In the wake of reduced revenue, like many other organisations and businesses in New Zealand this year, NZALPA has had to restructure its operations. This has led, sadly, to the departure of three long-standing staff members who took voluntary redundancy. With combined service of 65 years, Eliza, Pamela and Adam will all be greatly missed. We thank them for their service and, in particular, we wish Pamela and Adam all the best for their well-earned retirement. Another casualty of this upheaval was the departure of Mel, who left NZALPA last month to progress her career in the education sector. She too will be greatly missed.
Looking to 2021, as we approach the New Year we have asked to meet with the new Minister of Transport and Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Wood, to apprise him of our desire to see aviation infrastructure that is more carefully designed and to have a more nuanced approach to workplace relations that takes into account the particular difficulties that the aviation sector faces. This includes proposals concerning the legal test for employment status; regulation around training bond arrangements; stronger protections for wage entitlements in the event of subsidiary company insolvency; portable individual redundancy accounts and minimum redundancy entitlements; and restrictions around any legislative furlough provisions, to name a few. We also plan to continue our dialogue with the Civil Aviation Director as we seek policy and legislative settings that enhance resources available to, and that ensure better oversight of and by, the regulator.
Happy holidays to you all.
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