Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

Upfront with NZALPA President Tim Robinson

Dear Members

Our late autumn (Northern Hemisphere spring) heralds the start of pivotal international gatherings for our global industry and NZALPA’s representation. With the rapid changes in our industry and the wider aviation environment, it’s imperative that our membership, New Zealand’s ‘voice of aviation’, is heard. We’re often told New Zealand ‘punches above its weight’ on the international stage and its something our members can be proud of. 

As I write, I’m on my way to Montreal for the annual International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) Conference. Given NZALPA’s current profile, I was delighted to be asked to represent New Zealand and the wider Australasian region on behalf of our members and present on a specialist panel within the Conference’s ‘Global Pilots’ Symposium’. 

These symposiums are one-day seminars on the global pilot industry’s most important industrial, professional and government relations issues. The topic for the 2017 symposium is ‘Atypical employment models in the aviation industry’.  Along with related issues associated with Open Skies Agreement policies and the burgeoning international travel market, this is proving to be one of the greatest challenges to collective employment rights the IFALPA global membership, which includes New Zealand, has ever faced. 

The symposium proceedings will be opened by the former US State Ambassador to the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Representing the various regional perspectives on ‘atypical employment’ will be representatives from Hong Kong (Asia), Argentina (South America), South Africa (Africa), Germany (Europe) and the US (North America), who will outline their experiences and concerns with atypical employment models. The objective is to understand what is happening in each region before discussion concerning the impacts of atypical employment. 

There will be specific emphasis on job instability, uncertainty in terms of taxes, pension, annual leave, medical and so on, ‘forum shopping’ – moving jobs around for more favourable state labour law and poorer terms and conditions of employment, and the lack of the organisation and representation of pilots. 

Rather than just a ‘talk fest’, a question and answer session will be succeeded by assessing the potential avenues we can take to affect change and what actions the IFALPA is taking right now.

I look forward to discussing the Montreal proceedings and outcomes in next month’s Uplink. 

These atypical business models are likely to become more pervasive and will also be a focus of our own NZALPA Annual Conference in Christchurch, 20-22 June. We’ll be welcoming members and guests from around the world to discuss the theme: The Liberalisation of Airspace: Challenges and Opportunities’.   

We’ve invited the Minister of Transport Simon Bridges to open the conference and Patrik Peters – IFATCA President and CEO – will be delivering the key note speech. One of the highlights of this year’s Annual Conference will be an interactive industry panel, which will include Patrik, along with Airways New Zealand’s strategy head, and the CEO of Aviation New Zealand.  

The Conference agenda also features the Annual General Meeting, and the very important dinner and cocktail networking functions with key industry, government, private sector employers and legal stakeholders invited. 

As well as presentations of Honorary Life Membership and Scroll of Merit awards at the cocktail function, the Annual Dinner will include the presentation of the Jim Collins, Greg Vujcich and Stuart Cameron Memorial Awards and recognition of NZALPA Retirees for 2016-17. This is always a moving and significant part of our time together as a national membership of colleagues. 

For me personally, the Annual Conference is a yearly highpoint and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible and listening to your experiences and ideas. 

Have a safe month.

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