Air New Zealand is planning to make around 385 cabin crew redundant before the end of the year, says the E tū union.
The union said the airline made the announcement on Tuesday as part of its plans to cut staff numbers further.
The airline had made 3500 staff redundant since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March with another 600 taking voluntary exit and almost 400 accepting significant reductions in work hours.
An anonymous E tū member said the latest cutback was “devastating” for cabin crew.
“Every time as cabin crew, we think we are going to get a reprieve and get back to doing what we love – we keep getting hit down,” the staff member said.
“We’ve already lost 900 mid-to-long haul crew. We want to see Air New Zealand flourish and we want to save New Zealand jobs. Our goal is to see the airline bounce back as quickly as it can, so we can start getting our colleagues back.”
E tū criticised the airline’s use of a cabin crew hire company in Shanghai, China.
“The Shanghai base has always been about paying crew less and devaluing the role of cabin crew,” E tū’s head of aviation, Savage, said.
“Outsourcing is a barrier to raising standards in aviation and it needs to end. When the work comes back, it needs to come back to Auckland-based cabin crew.
“For the company to focus on immediate labour costs, without taking into account the bigger picture, is short-sighted and damaging to all aviation workers.”
Air New Zealand’s chief operating officer Carrie Hurihanganui said that in response to the decline in demand on its North American routes, the airline had reduced its Los Angeles service from daily to three return flights per week. It had also converted all of its San Francisco flights to cargo-only services.
“We recognise that a reduced schedule will require a smaller number of cabin crew going forward and we are working through what this means for the team,” Hurihanganui said.
“Any decision we make will be made in consultation with our people and the unions, with redundancies as the last resort.
“We appreciate that our cabin crew have already made significant sacrifices throughout Covid-19, but sadly our international schedule remains largely limited by border restrictions and unfortunately there is not enough flying to provide sustainable rosters for the number of crew we have.”
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