Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Airport security staff to hold rolling strikes over collective agreement

Aviation Security Service staff have voted to hold rolling strikes later this month, which could cause major disruptions to passengers. Photo / Doug Sherring
Aviation Security Service staff have voted to hold rolling strikes later this month, which could cause major disruptions to passengers. Photo / Doug Sherring

Airport security staff at New Zealand's biggest airports are likely to hold rolling strikes later this month causing major disruptions to flights.

The vote to walk off the job came from workers this evening after they failed to reach an agreement with their employer, Aviation Security Service, over pay rises and claw-backs in a new collective agreement.

The planned industrial action will impact the country's main domestic and international airports with a trio of three-hour strikes at Auckland and Wellington airports between July 20 and 27.

There will also be a ban on overtime and extra hours at those two airports and at Christchurch Airport.

The striking staff work for the Aviation Security Service which is part of the Civil Aviation Authority and contracts workers at airports around the country to screen passengers and carry out other surveillance services.

It's estimated up to 75 per cent of its staff are members of the E tu and Public Service Association (PSA) unions.

E tu Aviation spokesman Kelvin Ellis said the workers didn't want to take the industrial action, the first in 30 years, but felt they had no other option after almost a year of negotiations.

"They've reached absolute frustration ... they don't want to but they don't think they have any other choice. They've had enough."

Mr Ellis said the strikes would likely have a "significant impact" on screening times and would impact flights being on time, but he didn't think it would result in cancellations.

National secretary for the PSA, Glenn Barclay, said their members were reluctant to carry out the industrial action but felt they had no choice because the latest offer meant some would go three years without a pay rise.

Mr Barclay said it was clear the service has the money to make a better offer, since its annual report showed a surplus of $5.8 million in 2014-15.

"Aviation security workers are law enforcement officers, who help make New Zealand's aviation industry one of the safest and most highly regarded in the world."

The strikes could be prevented by the service making its staff a "fair offer" which addresses their concerns and ensures they are fairly rewarded for the crucial job they do, Mr Barclay said.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mike Richards said airport security would not be compromised by the strikes and there are contingency plans in place. He hoped the issues could be resolved amicably.

AUCKLAND

Wed 20 July: 1000 - 1330 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

Mon 25 July: 1530 - 1830 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

Wed 27 July: 0530 - 0830 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

WELLINGTON

Wed 20 July: 1000 - 1330 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

Fri 22 July: 1530 - 1830 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

Tues 26 July: 0530 - 0830 plus overtime/extra hours ban all day

CHRISTCHURCH

Wed 20 July: overtime/extra hours ban all day

Mon 25 July: overtime/extra hours ban all day

Wed 27 July: overtime/extra hours ban all day

- NZ Herald

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