24 Mar 2009

Air NZ strike could ground Easter flights

5:25 pm on 24 March 2009

Air New Zealand flights at Easter could be grounded after contract negotiations between the airline and cabin crew union members broke down on Tuesday.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has served notice on the airline that cabin crew will take go on strike.

The industrial action will involve 250 flight attendants belonging to the EPMU and will affect all domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific flights by Air New Zealand's Airbus A320 fleet.

EPMU spokesperson Strachan Crang says after six months of negotiations, union members have been left no option but to take strike action.

Mr Crang says union crew are paid tens of thousands of dollars a year less than crew who work directly for the airline.

A spokesperson for Air New Zealand, Glenn Sowry, says the airline will work to ensure that disruptions to passengers are kept to a minimum.

However, he says the union's demands are outrageous, and the crew are paid above average for the hours they work.