Just a day after boasting of record-breaking new ticket sales, Air New Zealand has confirmed plans to slash a further 385 cabin crew jobs which will bring total redundancies to 37 per cent of its pre-COVID workforce. The E tū aviation union has blasted the airline over the planned new redundancies, saying the job losses were a cynical ploy to offshore work to a cabin crew base in China.
In a statement, Air New Zealand said the job losses would come from its widebody aircraft cabin crew fleet because long-haul international flights remained severely disrupted and demand was unlikely to pick up for some time. Last week, the airline confirmed plans to keep its Boeing 777 long-haul fleet in longterm storage until September 2021 at the earliest.
“In the foreseeable future, we have around 385 more widebody cabin crew in the business than we have work for,” a spokesperson for the airline confirmed. “Any decision we make will be made in consultation with our people and the unions, with redundancies as the last resort,” the spokesperson confirmed.
Air New Zealand has already lost around 900 long-haul cabin crew, with one anonymous crew member describing the latest cuts as “devastating”. But while Kiwi cabin crew face the risk of redundancy yet again, the same threat isn’t hanging over the heads of cheaper China-based crew claims the E tū union.
“The Shanghai base has always been about paying crew less and devaluing the role of cabin crew,” commented E tū chief spokesperson, Savage. “When the work comes back, it needs to come back to Auckland-based cabin crew,” he continued.
Finnair also stands accused of retaining cheaper foreign-based crew while furloughing thousands of Helsinki-based crew without pay. And the union that represents flight attendants at American Airlines has criticised the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier for allegedly offshoring jobs to Latin American while 8,100 U.S.-based flight attendants face being furloughed on October 1.
After COVID-19 restrictions were eased across New Zealand earlier this week, the airline sold a record-breaking 110,000 tickets in a single day. While Air New Zealand’s international network has been decimated by the Corona crisis, the airline is now flying a domestic schedule of between 70 to 75 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
Air New Zealand has already axed more than 4,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
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