Around 400 Air New Zealand employees who are members of the Service and Food Workers Union will strike between 2am and midnight tomorrow.

The union has decided to take this strike action because Air New Zealand is not prepared to meet its demand for a 6% pay increase.

Group General Manager Airlines Rob Fyfe says that to ensure there is minimal disruption to customer journeys Air New Zealand is implementing a contingency plan that will see skilled staff from within the business redeployed to cover shifts vacated by striking union members.

"We are committed to ensuring customers do not experience any significant delays due to the SFWU decision to strike despite Air New Zealand's offer to continue the negotiation process," Mr Fyfe says.

"As always, customers can assist to ensure that flights run on time by checking in 30 minutes prior to domestic departures and 3 hours before international departures."

Air New Zealand yesterday entered mediation with the SFWU in good faith and with a view to resolving this issue.

"We were not prepared however to continue negotiations with a gun held to the airline's head in the form of a strike notice. Likewise, we are not going to accept any form of intimidation in the workplace.

"We are currently investigating allegations that some union members threatened colleagues with reprisals, if they don't join the strike tomorrow. We would strongly encourage the union to ensure that its members act in an ethical and responsible manner."

Mr Fyfe says the SFWU walked away from the negotiating table on September 3, a move Air New Zealand believes was premature.

"At no time did the union seek to re-enter negotiations with the company or seek mediation before issuing a strike notice. Since this time, the SFWU has not substantively changed their claim," he says.

Around 10,000 Air New Zealand customers are expected to travel through Auckland's international and domestic terminals tomorrow which the airline believes can be facilitated with minimal disruption.

NOTE: The content of all Air New Zealand media releases are accurate at the time of issue, as stated at the top of each release. For updates on any changes, please contact Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award, Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Blue1, bmi, Continental Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. Aegean Airlines, Air India, Brussels Airlines and TAM have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers 19,500 daily flights to 1,071 airports in 171 countries.

For more information about Air New Zealand visit www.airnewzealand.com and for more information about Star Alliance visit www.staralliance.com.