13 Jul 2016

Airport security strike action called off

8:20 pm on 13 July 2016

Strike action at airports has been called off after a pay deal was struck between unions and the Aviation Security Service.

An airport security sign in Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Lauren Baker

The Public Service Association and E Tū said in a statement they were withdrawing their notices to strike in Wellington and Auckland next week.

Crown agency Aviation Security Service was in turn withdrawing its lockout notices so the pay offer could be ratified by the unions' members.

The pay offer for the security workers was not clear. It followed urgent mediation talks today in Auckland.

It would have been the first strike in three decades for the workers, who carry out everything from screening passengers and luggage to scanning airport perimeters and checking planes for bombs.

The government had not ruled out using Customs or police officers to do the work if the strikes and overtime ban had gone ahead.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Authority said it expected it would take four to five weeks for the unions' members to formally ratify the offer.

"[We] hope the offer made today, which will be recommended by unions to their members, will lead to a formal settlement and in time a new collective agreement."

Both parties had wanted to avoid disruption to travellers during the school holidays, it said.