NZPA reports on the PM’s response yesterday:
Miss Clark pointed to market rates at work, saying for instance that while Shanghai staff were paid less, those based in London would be paid more than those based in New Zealand.
Her understanding was that airlines who based crews in Shanghai did not directly employ them. They were employed through a local government agency.
Air NZ paid “substantial taxes” to the Chinese government over and above the wages paid to Chinese workers.
Could you imagine the outrage if a National PM dismissed the fact people employed by Air NZ on the flights were being paid at around one quarter the minimum wage, by referring to the “market rates”? Around 20 unions would have condemned the Government by now, and protest marches would be planned up and down the country.
This also shows one of the problems with state ownership. Because the Govt owns 80% of Air NZ, it feels it has to defend what they have done. If they were not state owned, I’d suspect the PM would be far more critical.
The PM relies on the fact they are not employed directly, but sub-contracted. Is this the same PM who pushed through a law specifically to stop sub-contracting leading to reduced terms and conditions?
I have no problems with market rates determining how much people get paid based on where they live. We already have this with salaries higher in Auckland for example. But the issue is having those “market rates” at massively below the NZ minimum wage.
Sure the NZ minimum wage does not apply to people working in China. But if someone from China works in NZ, then it most certainly does apply. And I am not convinced being employed by Air NZ on board an Air NZ flight is different to being employed in NZ.
Incidentially the Chinese former cabin crew member (Crystal Zeng) who gave the Herald the story, posted a comment on the former thread, pointing out that the salaries being paid by Air NZ are in fact even less than the Chinese airlines pay.