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Unions seek interim injunction over threatened lockout of aviation security workers

Monday 11th July 2016

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The Public Service Association and E tū union have filed legal proceedings in the Employment Court in Wellington seeking an interim injunction to stop a proposed eight-day lockout of striking aviation security staff.

The move comes ahead of a one-day mediation set down for hearing by the Mediation Service in Auckland this Wednesday.

Airport security staff are due to start industrial action against their employer Aviation Security Service (AvSec) over a pay dispute on July 20 with a series of three-hour strikes and overtime bans in a week-long period during the school holidays, one of the busiest travel times of the year.  

PSA national secretary Glenn Barclay said he was still hopeful the dispute with the employer AvSec can be resolved at mediation but the unions wanted a back-up plan in case it fails to reach agreement and the employer goes ahead with a threatened lockout of the workers if they strike. The earliest the interim injunction application could be heard would be later in the week, he said.

The unions consider the lockout at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Dunedin airports are unlawful “because of uncertainty coming from the employer about who is locked out, how long for, and the reason for it.”

They also think the employer’s threats to bring in replacement workers from other government departments, including the police, are unlawful, he said.

"The lockouts are irresponsible and aggressive action which would cause massive disruption to the travelling public."

The unions have said the take-it-or-leave-it offer from the company will deliver less than $10 a week to their members’ back pockets after three years and part-time workers will be worse off.

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