Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe will be making his views very clear at John Key's little get-together. Indeed he has already started to make his views known, opining that Prime Minister Key should scrap his proposed tax cuts.

Rob Fyfe knows very little about protecting jobs - he's more in the business of getting rid of them.

In November last year Fyfe announced that 200 Air New Zealand jobs would be going - in an effort to save the company some $20 million.

He added; 'I am not saying this is the end because I don't know where the end of this recession cycle is.'

Fyfe's creed is to 'cut, simplify, layoff, shrink.' - but its doubtful Fyfe will be so candid about his simple philosophy at the Johnny Key's talkfest. As his good mate Andrew Little might say 'it would not be a good look'.

Fyfe first tried his simple philosophy at ITV Digital in Britain where he was managing director. The consequences were disastrous.

1500 ITV Digital workers lost their jobs when they were forced to accept an across-the-board wages freeze.

Fyfe was also made redundant and joined former colleagues (who had been paid-out) in an unsuccessful bid to buy ITV Digital, which was in liquidation.

Fyfe has imposed the same philosophy at Air New Zealand

In 2007 Fyfe announced that it would not outsource jobs after Andrew Little and his Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union predictably refused to fight and meekly surrendered to Fyfe's demands - this included 300 “voluntary” redundancies, a more flexible rostering system and cuts to pay and conditions amounting to more than $7,000 per worker a year.

Andrew Little, a union chief who has consistently betrayed his members , claimed that the EPMU were 'just making the best of a bad situation.' He had earlier told Fyfe that ' have a workforce that is supporting an agenda for change.'

Little does a lot of 'making the best of a bad situation' - its just a smokescreen to hide the ugly reality that Little and the EMPU are working in hand in glove with the company to impose the company agenda on unfortunate workers.

Little and the EPMU also resorted to bribery.

The EPMU recommended workers accept Rob Fyfe's offer of $1,000 each to agree to the settlement. But there was a catch - the one-off taxable payment and an offer of targeted “voluntary” redundancy and severance packages only applied if all the conditions of the deal were accepted by EPMU members. The payment was available only to those who agreed to stay on with Air NZ under the new pay and conditions. To get the blatant bribe, workers had to be an EPMU member or agree to an individual employment agreement.

The EPMU were exploiting the situation to go on a membership drive!

A year earlier, in 2006, Air New Zealand announced the imminent sacking of 917 engineers, eight percent of the company's workforce, with the newly-installed Rob Fyfe warning that the 'tough decisions' had not ended.

The engineers initially rejected a union-management agreement, which included cuts to pay and conditions as well as jobs. However, the EPMU and the Aviation and Marine Engineers Association organised a re-vote and strong-armed dissident workers into agreeing. The final agreement provided for the elimination of more than 200 jobs as well as more flexible shifts and hours, matching "labour requirements to workloads" and less overtime. The company then shed 470 jobs at the Auckland head office and outsourced aircraft cleaning with the loss of 114 jobs.

Little claimed it was the best outcome that could be reasonably expected!

Rob Fyfe has done just fine out of all this - he's now on a million dollar salary package and is one of the top twenty earners among New Zealand CEO's.

Maybe he'll be shouting his mate Andrew Little a few drinks tonight...


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