E tū, the union for cabin crew says today’s announcement by Air New Zealand of the grounding of between two and five 787 Dreamliners is a major challenge for 787 cabin crew who are currently in wage negotiations.
The airline says the grounding is the result of ongoing engine maintenance problems with the Dreamliners’ Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
“Yet more problems with engines at Air New Zealand has implications for 787 cabin crew members,” says the union’s Head of Aviation, Savage.
“Fewer planes flying means less work and more network disruptions. There is also a risk of some redundancies if 787 crews cannot be redeployed to other fleets or if lease aircraft can’t be found to replace the Dreamliners,” he says.
“We will be doing what we can to ensure all other options to redeploy crew are used first”.
Savage says the news coincides with wage bargaining for 787 cabin crew.
“We have 650 787 Dreamliner cabin crew in negotiations for a new collective agreement right now and the engine problems have changed the parameters of what has been, at times, a very tense negotiation,” he says.
“Crew are not paid enough for the work they do, and this latest round of engine problems will almost certainly see the company looking to limit costs even more.
“Cabin crew are an under-appreciated group and disruptions to the airline’s performance caused by technical problems outside their control are yet another challenge for them.
“Crew have been through a lot in the two years since the first engine problems were discovered. They are dedicated professionals and they understand how the industry works. However, they do not want to see their working conditions and aviation standards decline even more than they already have.”