Aviation Security Service lockout "illegal and irresponsible" - unions

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Locking out aviation security workers from their workplaces is an illegal and irresponsible move which will hugely inconvenience the travelling public, the PSA and E tū unions say.

The Aviation Security Service has given formal notice that it will lock out employees whose unions are taking industrial action over the breakdown in negotiations for a new collective agreement.

The lockout notices will take effect over an eight day period from 20 to 27 July.

PSA and E tū say they doubt the Civil Aviation Authority will be able to provide full security coverage during that time, which will cause delays and cancelled flights across the end of the school holidays.

They also consider the lockouts to be unlawful, and have written to the Aviation Security Service asking them to be withdrawn.

"This is an extraordinary step and one that gravely concerns us," E tū National Organiser Kelvin Ellis says.

"Yesterday the Minister of Transport claimed our mild industrial action was designed to cause disruption - and today his agency is taking an aggressive and illegal move that will cause chaos.

"The lockout notices cover eight days including the final days of the school holidays, and they also affect Queenstown and Dunedin airports - which are not part of our industrial action."

Unions are calling on the government to rethink this aggressive strategy, and to work towards a resolution of this dispute.

"We are stunned at the level of aggression displayed by the employer, particularly as we are attending mediation with them next week," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"It is deeply disappointing that a government agency, with an obligation to be a good employer, should behave in a way that’s solely designed to intimidate and escalate this dispute.

"We call on Minister Simon Bridges to intervene to stop his agency flouting the law - and using illegal lockout threats to bully our members."