Australian transport unions stopped traffic at the busiest intersection in Brisbane’s travel district late yesterday afternoon in support of EPMU Zeal 320 members who are in dispute with Air New Zealand. The protest was eventually stopped by police.
The solidarity protest by the Transport Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union Congress came against the backdrop of the triennial Australian Council of Trade Unions congress and shows anger over Air New Zealand’s behaviour toward workers in its subsidiary is spreading across the Tasman.
EPMU national aviation organiser Strachan Crang says he welcomes the Australian union movement throwing their weight behind Zeal 320 members.
“We welcome the support and solidarity our Australian brothers and sisters have shown by taking this dispute to Air New Zealand’s Brisbane HQ and hope that it signals to the company just how widely the response to their actions is travelling.
“Air New Zealand’s use of a shell company to deny workers access to a decent collective agreement is just one example of the increased use of corporate structures to undermine workers here and in Australia and won’t be taken lightly on either side of the Tasman.
“We sent one of our members from Zeal 320 to address Australian aviation union representatives at the ACTU congress yesterday and they have told us that our members will have their full support if this dispute continues.”
The EPMU is meeting with Air New Zealand in mediation today to continue negotiating a Zeal 320 agreement.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions represents two million Australian workers.
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Check out Australian transport union sit in and Zeal Air NZ worker Kirsty addressing Aussie solidarity protest on EPMU YouTube clips