Air NZ and unions collaborate on high performance engagement

By Fiona Rotherham

July 23, 2014 (Scoop Business Desk)

“Air New Zealand has spent the past 18 months working with its staff and unions on high performance engagement designed to lift productivity by allowing worker participation in decision-making.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) organiser Strachan Crang said he put the idea to the airline following the ill-fated “Project Choice” restructure of cabin crew in 2013. Crang said he had become “sick of banging my head against a wall” when it came to the airline’s former adversarial approach to employee relations.

Air New Zealand’s 11,000 or so staff are highly unionised and the high performance engagement initiative has involved a number of unions including the EPMU, the Aviation & Marine Engineers Association, the New Zealand Airline Pilots Association (NZALPA), the Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots, and the Flight Attendants and Related Services Association (FARSA).

Fonterra Co-operative Group and the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union were among the first to introduce a similar initiative in the late 1990s, later formalised in the 2000s after a long history of industrial disruption that had seen site lock-outs and millions of litres of milk poured into paddocks rather than being processed.

The Dairy Workers Union and EPMU set up the Centre for High Performance Work in 2008 to work with New Zealand businesses on developing work practices that lead to increased productivity and business growth by integrating workers’ shop-floor knowledge into day-to-day decisions and reaching consensus on change.” …

Read the full article.