INDEPENDENT NEWS

Ansett Pilot's Information Sheet On Lockout

Published: Fri 24 Sep 1999 09:32 AM
The travel plans of thousands of New Zealanders have already been disrupted by Ansett’s decision to lock out pilots. The pilots have been LOCKED OUT, they are not on strike. Ansett have refused our offer to fly for no wages during the period of the school holidays.
ANSETT WILL NOT LET THE PILOTS FLY.
The lockout follows nationwide concern amongst pilots about the way they are being pressured to sign controversial new contracts with fatigue related issues causing safety concerns.
Background
The employment contract between Ansett New Zealand and its pilots expired in February this year.
Since then, the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association (NZALPA) has attempted to negotiate with Ansett New Zealand, in good faith.
Throughout these talks, the pilots have offered to make concessions aimed at addressing company concerns about the future of the airline. Despite these efforts, Ansett’s response has been uncompromising.
Ansett has chosen to present pilots with a new non-negotiable contract. Pilots have been bluntly told to take it or leave it.
The new contact will:
Remove restrictions on flight and duty times and rest periods with possible safety implications.
Reduce job security for New Zealand pilots.
Since Thursday the 16th of September, Ansett New Zealand pilots have been locked out of their jobs. They have been told they will remain out of work until they sign the non-negotiable contract.
Ansett continues to reject all attempts to communicate or negotiate.
Ansett New Zealand pilots want to get flying again. But like all working New Zealanders, they deserve the right to be consulted about new and dramatic changes to their conditions of work. All they ask for is an opportunity to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract.
Is Ansett really struggling?
Ansett claims to have lost $250 million and the company has warned this is not sustainable. However, over the last 5 financial years (to June 1998), Company’s Office (Department of Commerce) records tell a different story. They reveal:
1994 Deficit ($9,709,000)
1995 Deficit ($324,000)
1996 Net surplus $28,425,000
1997 Net surplus $4,100,000
1998 Deficit ($1.520,000)
Net profit $20,972,000
FACT: Over five of the ten years in question, Ansett made a net surplus of more than $19 million.
FACT: Ansett stated it has suffered a loss of over $11 million for the year to June 30 1998. The Company Office (Department of Commerce) records show a loss of $2.91 million.
FACT: Ansett’s aircraft leasing arrangements are through an associated company. Ansett pays approximately $10 million per annum more to lease its aircraft than if would if it leased them on the open market. The lease money goes off shore with tax avoidance implications.
FACT: Only Ansett management can determine when, and how often, a pilot can fly. Any productivity issue is in their hands.
Is Ansett really in financial difficulty?
Is this really about a large and wealthy foreign corporation driving down its New Zealand employees' conditions to improve the sale price of the airline?

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