Air New Zealand employees 'incensed' over airline execs being offered millions in shares

Union members have called the airline's actions "tone-deaf."
Union members have called the airline's actions "tone-deaf." Photo credit: Air NZ

Members of the E tū aviation union are "incensed" after hearing the news that a multi-million-dollar share offer has been given to Air New Zealand's CEO, as well as offers to the executive team.

On Friday, the New Zealand stock exchange showed CEO Greg Foran issued with rights to around $2.03 million worth of shares.

Six other members of the executive team were also issued rights of a lower value.

Jennifer Sepull, Cam Wallace, Gregory Foran, Leanne Geraghty, Carrie Hurihanganui, Jeff McDowall and David Morgan are all named in documents provided to the NZX on Friday.

Air NZ has been approached by Newshub for comment.

With around 4000 of the airline’s crew having already lost their jobs this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have described the airline’s actions as “tone-deaf”.

"I've never seen crew so upset as they were over the weekend. It's just another kick while they're already down as crew numbers are being decimated," one worker is quoted as saying by E tū.

"This flies in the face of Air NZ's internal programme around rebuilding, which is about supporting from within and looking after staff in order to look after the customer. This is not looking after staff," the worker said, according to the union.

E tū Head of Aviation Savage says union members are foregoing pay increases and not collecting contractual performance bonuses to help the airline save money.

"For the board and the executives to take the share options at this time will do nothing to rebuild the airline's performance. Workers are incensed - it's rubbing salt into an already painful wound," Savage said.

"The announcement will further reinforce the view of union members that the company's strategy needs a complete overhaul."

Savage said the union will be taking up the issue of the share offers with Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

"Air NZ has drawn down on their Government loan and it seems this public money is now being spent on lining the pockets of the senior management," Savage said.

"The distribution of pay to staff needs to be fair, and the airline needs to retain and create decent jobs. Our national carrier should be something all Kiwis can be proud of, starting with looking after all its employees."