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

NZALPA veteran Jim Dunn returns as ATC Director

NZALPA ATC Director Jim Dunn.

More than five years since last serving as ATC Director, highly experienced Christchurch-based air traffic controller Jim Dunn returns to the position to fulfil principal officer duties.

“Thirty years as an air traffic controller (ATC) more than qualifies Jim for the job,” NZALPA President Tim Robinson said.

“But beyond that Jim has a full understanding of the industry, the workings of the union and the challenges aviation faces. He also knows the importance of working together with employers and members to achieve the best results.”

A committed union supporter since the beginning of his career, Dunn served on the ATC Council for 18 years until 2012, and has been a trustee of the Mutual Benefit Fund (MBF) for the last three years.

Dunn began his career in general aviation (GA) as a flight instructor and moved on through GA to become an Air Transport Pilot. When his dream of flying for Air New Zealand was hindered by recruitment freezes, he decided to retrain as an ATC.

When he moved from flying planes to controlling them he joined New Zealand Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NZATCA). In 1989, NZATCA joined with NZALPA due to the requirement under the old Labour Relations Act to require registered unions to have 1000 members.

NZALPA’s membership is now close to 3000, with 99 percent of all of New Zealand’s ATCs members of the organisation. 

“I’ve always seen the value of being part of the union,” Dunn said. “When we came together with NZALPA, it just made sense – there were a lot of synergies – we were working with the same regulators and the same rules.

As an industry, there’s power in collective strength, too.”

Dunn has returned to the role for the same reason he did the first time round – to “do good”.

“It’s crucial that when important issues come up we don’t just sit on the side-lines and throw bricks,” he said.

“Real change comes when we get involved and get things sorted.”

For Dunn, it’s an “interesting time” in the industry and it’s also the moment to “get things right”.

With his son Adam now an ATC too, Dunn senior believes that long-term NZALPA members must relay the need for industry professionals to band together and convey the values of being part of a professional association.

“Those involved in our industry have an understandable interest in collective bargaining, but being in the union is about more than that,” he said.

“It’s about collective strength and support, and it’s about the safety and technical issues that effect controllers worldwide.”

Dunn looks forward to the appointment of a new Airways Chief Executive Officer and hopes Ed Sims’ successor shares similar qualities with the team with which he worked in 2004.

“The CEO at the time, Ashley Smout would sit down with us and together we would nut out a deal that suited both parties.”

Dunn thanks Jon Brooks and Tim Robinson for the promising communications they have had with interim Chief Executive Officer Pauline Lamb thus far.

In this fast changing environment, better collaboration is likely to be key,” Dunn said. 

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