Air NZ contends “cherry-picker” pilot agreement

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Air New Zealand is clashing with the country’s largest pilots’ union over contract terms the company claims are unfair – now, the airline is appealing the original Employment Court decision that sparked the entire uproar.

The national carrier is seeking to overturn a 2014 Employment Court judgement that it says lets the New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association () to take specific clauses from collective agreements Air New Zealand made with other unions without having to accept the bad.

According to BusinessDesk, the dispute centres on just one, particularly contentious, clause in NZALPA's collective agreement.

Described as a “ratchet clause,”  the parties confirmed that “any agreement entered into by the company with any other pilot employee group which is more favourable than provided for in this agreement will be passed on to pilots covered by this agreement.”

The union later relied on this clause when it wanted to claim a more significant pay rise for pilots after Air New Zealand agreed with a different union – the Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots (FANZP) – to provide a pay rise of 13 per cent.

Chief judge Graeme Colgan presided over the original case and interpreted the phrase “any agreement” in the NZALPA collective as encompassing both a collective agreement in total and its individual provisions.

But Air New Zealand argue that the larger pay rise for the smaller union, FANZP, was accompanied by considerable concessions – something NZALPA should also have to take on board.

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