Government Ministers should explain why the worst year for strikes in three decades will be rounded out by a stoppage by Air New Zealand engineers on the Friday before Christmas, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“Calling a strike on the airline’s busiest day of the year is designed to maximise the disruption to the tens of thousands of Kiwis travelling to be with family over Christmas. It is just the latest move by a union movement empowered by its mates in the Government.

“As a result, the whole country is held to ransom. This is exactly the sort of strike the Prime Minister told us wouldn’t happen. Labour is taking us back to 1970s-style adversarial union activity except back then it was Cook Strait ferry unions disrupting Christmas.

“This Government holds Air New Zealand up as an example of best practice for industrial relations. In debate over the Employment Relations Amendment Bill this week, Labour MP Marja Lubeck said union delegates at the airline play a crucial role in ‘coming to a good, concluded bargaining that ensures that both sides of the party win’.

“Ordinary New Zealanders will certainly not be winners. Some 42,000 people are booked to fly on Dec. 21 and they don’t deserve to have their Christmas break disrupted by the Labour Party’s union affiliates. This is on top of news that petrol tanker drivers will strike in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday.

“The Labour-led Government must take much of the blame for the number of disruptive strikes this year since it has signalled that this is a time for pay increases and has imposed laws that give statutory authority to the unions, make our workplaces less flexible, drive up costs and make it harder for businesses to create new jobs.

“National believes economic growth is the best way to drive up wage growth and create employment opportunities. We will reverse this Government’s employment law changes and focus on a sensible economic growth strategy that gives all Kiwis more opportunities.”

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