Key Points:

An Employment Court hearing to decide the fate of hundreds of Air New Zealand ground staff facing redundancy will continue next week after the airline's application to strike out the case was rejected today.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said the application was heard by the Employment Court after the airline had placed the application earlier this week in an attempt to stop the proceedings.

The EPMU has been engaged in legal proceedings since last week and alleges Air New Zealand acted in bad faith by deliberately misusing the consultation clause of the ground services collective employment agreement to open negotiations at a time when members could not take legally protected industrial action.

The airline wants to contract passenger and baggage handling check-in service work to Spanish company Swissport, putting the jobs of around 1700 staff in jeopardy.

Following the case, the judge will rule on whether the work can be contracted out, or if the process had been correctly observed, EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said last week.

Air New Zealand spokesmen could not be reached tonight for comment.