As Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe and Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union National Secretary Andrew Little will both have major roles to play in the 'jobs group' during the 'Jobs Summit' on February 27th, its instructive to examine how both men have approached the issue of employment in the past.
Let's take what happened at Fyfe's own Air New Zealand beginning in 2006.
Little and the EMPU, with the full backing of the Labour Government, sold out nearly 1700 workers who faced having their jobs outsourced by Air New Zealand - despite the fact that Air New Zealand is eighty percent owned by the government.
Rather than take a stand in defence of the workers it supposedly represented, Little and EPMU sold out the Air New Zealand workers by agreeing to big cuts in pay and conditions - despite the fact that the company had just posted a $96 million profit.
Faced with Fyfe's demands for “competitive pay rates and competitive costs for servicing aircraft”, Little simply asked: “How high do you want us to jump?” Little assured Fyfe that he had “a workforce that is supporting an agenda for change”.
Fyfe, who is on a million dollar salary package, wanted to cut back the wages of 1700 ground by almost $7,000.
The Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), which represented 260 of the Air NZ workers, vowed to fight both the outsourcing and the cuts in pay and conditions.
This was met by hostility from Labour MP's who harassed SFWU secretary Jill Ovens to accept the lousy deal Andrew Little and Rob Fyfe had cooked up.
EPMU organisers were caught ripping down the posters of the SFWU.
When a strike was needed to protect the interests of Air New Zealand workers, the dismal Andrew Little and his EPMU took the path of least resistance and betrayed their members - and kept Rob Fyfe happy.The whole approach of Little and the EPMU is to sacrifice the interests of workers in order to protect 'New Zealand employers' - they call this promoting the 'national interest'.
Now Andrew Little and Rob Fyfe will be back together again at the 'Jobs Summit' - what nasty little surprises will they have in store for workers this time?