The union representing flight attendants at Qantas New Zealand says the airline's corporate uniform policy, which outlines strict
guidelines for dress and grooming for both men and women, demonstrates an "old-fashioned, stereotypical view of women."
In a policy section headed Natural Beauty, the carrier tells women flight attendants that the no-makeup "natural look" is unacceptable,
even when they are coming or going to work, the New Zealand Herald reported.
"Appropriate makeup is an essential part of your overall look as it enhances the corporate image when in uniform," the policy states.
"Apply foundation when necessary, use neutral tones to accentuate your eyes and add a hint of warm shading to bring out your
Neither sex may have wet hair or have "dark roots showing" and men must not sport "very short, wedged or pageboy cuts," the
Staff are advised to take care when eating strongly flavored foods and to tell a colleague if he or she has bad breath.
Although there are restrictions on men's hairstyles, and beards and moustaches are disallowed for safety reasons, the men's guidelines
are far less rigorous.
Union national secretary Andrew Little said it was reasonable for an employer to require staff to be clean and tidy and to wear a uniform,
but a "highly prescriptive" approach to makeup and dress, at the expense of comfort, was a different matter.
"Women who work in airlines are there to do a job, not just for the viewing pleasure of male travelers," Little was reported by the New
Zealand Herald as saying.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union said it has taken a petition and letters to the airline expressing staff concerns.
The Herald cited John Cordery, the airline's public relations manager, as saying the union had made no formal approaches about their
The grooming standards were normal for an airline "that wants to present itself in a neat, tidy and very professional manner."
"I'm not going to get into discussing our policy with you. We have a policy which is clear and discussed with frontline staff," the
newspaper quoted Cordery as saying.
Air New Zealand spokesman Alistair Carthew did not want to discuss specific details of the airline's corporate wardrobe and grooming,
but said "we have people who set those guidelines and enforce them, as well."
Air NZ had many female flight attendants and it was important their clothes and grooming reflected the company's brand. "They are the
face of the airline to most of our customers," Carthew said.