The mother of all airline workplace disputes

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Air New Zealand (ANZ) has issued a series of statements attacking New Zealand’s Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union (EPMU) which announced today it is helping ANZ’s Zeal 320 cabin crew to organise a four-day strike that starts 7 May.

Ordinarily the airline would have the public’s sympathy because the strike threatens to inconvenience thousands of passengers but the ANZ press releases are peppered with so much emotive language and attacks on workers that it would make even the most right-wing person think twice.

In one statement to the news media, ANZ accuses the Zeal 320 employees of “juvenile behaviour” and “making a mockery of the” other ANZ staff that have worked hard to get the airline in a strong position.

ANZ group general manager short-haul Bruce Parton is quoted in one statement as saying the workers’ decision to strike “defies belief [and] I’m not sure which universe they’re living in but it’s not the same one as everyone else.”

I don’t know that this sort of language really wins over the general public to the airline’s cause. Maybe a different tone of language would be more effective.

Also for some unknown reason ANZ seems to harp on the point that the strike will be coinciding with Mothers’ Day.

One statement says workers who plan to strike over the Mothers’ Day weekend will be locked out.

In another statement the airline makes it clear that it is unhappy that workers would choose to strike on …yes, you guessed it Mothers’ Day.

I’m not sure who’s mother the EPMU has offended but it seems to have certainly struck a raw nerve.

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