The new age of industrial relations at Air New Zealand formed a fascinating case study at the Future of Work conference.

The company’s HR chief Phil Doak, and union leader Calvin Ellis, jointly presented what is really the Present of Work, but new to many in their audience. 

A “High Performance Engagement Charter” has limited industrial upheaval at the airline and is based on the management sharing information with delegates and union members, and with a new process for addressing concerns, with multiple options for mediation.

Ellis told the conference it was the best industrial culture in his 20 years of organising.  “A lot of people say: ‘Is this the unions selling out?’ but we still have our traditional rights to fall back on if we need to and we can still take them to court if we want to.

“But we all know change is coming – Is it not better if the workers have some call of that change?”

The good environment now meant union members got information “from the highest level, we are helping the company grow, people are engaged and empowered and captured. They want to be part of it.”

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