Groundstaff at Queenstown airport are to strike after mediation today failed to settle their pay dispute.
Fifty-five baggage handlers and ticketing staff employed by Mt Cook Airlines will walk off the job just after midnight on Friday morning.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union advocate Ged OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Connell said that the workers were extremely disappointed that the dispute had not been settled.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have been negotiating with the company for some time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Two weeks ago we gave 14 daysÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ notice of industrial action, but yesterday we went into mediation with the company with the hope of settling this dispute without disrupting the public.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“At the end of the day yesterday, company negotiators told us that they would discuss matters amongst themselves overnight, with a view to offering us a new package in the morning. But this morning they told us that they would not be offering a new package.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The workers are seeking a two-year collective agreement, with a five per cent pay rise this year and another five per cent next year. The company has offered them a three-year deal, with a 3.25 per cent rise this year, another 3.25 per cent rise next year, and a 3.5 per cent rise the following year.
Mr OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Connell said that the companyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s offer was just not good enough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“These people live in Queenstown, which everybody knows is one of the most expensive places in the country to live,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They are struggling to make ends meet, and want a fair pay rise.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Mt Cook is contracted by Air New Zealand to provide ground services at Queenstown airport. Airlines serviced include Air New Zealand, Qantas, Freedom and Mt Cook.