Unions seek injunction over lockouts

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Two of New Zealand’s leading unions filed legal proceedings in the Wellington Employment Court yesterday, desperate to halt the proposed eight day lockout of aviation security staff.

"We are asking the Employment Court to deal with this urgently and issue an interim injunction to restrain these unlawful and irresponsible lockouts," said Glenn Barclay, national secretary of the New Zealand Public Service Association.

"We consider the lockouts are unlawful because of uncertainty coming from the employer about who is locked out, how long for and the reason for it,” he added.

The Aviation Security Service gave notice of potential lockouts last week but both the PSA and E tū have since questioned the legality of the move which could affect staff at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Dunedin airports.

Mediation between the unions and AvSec is currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Barclay called on the organisation to “focus all its energies into bringing an offer to mediation that can settle this dispute and resolve in all action being called off."

AvSec representative Mike Richards declined to comment on the injunction but indicated a response could be expected later today.

Last week, active chief executive John Kay suggested AvSec would pursue mediation where possible.

“Our primary focus is to ensure that this matter is brought to a conclusion in a timely fashion and to ensure safe and secure flights – especially during the school holiday period,” he said. “We will do all we can to maintain our service and minimise disruption.”

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