Author: E tū

Asia Pacific deadliest region for journalists

E tū, the union for journalists says it’s disturbing that the Asia Pacific region has once again been named as the deadliest region for journalists.

The 2018 annual Killed List, released by the International Federation of Journalists and now in its 29th year, records the deaths of 95 journalists and media workers.

A third of deaths were in the Asia Pacific region, where 32 journalists & media workers were killed – 34% of the global total.

It is the second year in a row the region has been named the most dangerous for journalists.

“As the report states, the pursuit of the truth makes journalists unpopular everywhere. In many regions, it’s deadly,” says Paul Tolich, E tū Senior National Industrial Officer.

Paul notes the high death toll in the Philippines, where three journalists died last year – 12 have been killed there since 2016.

The report notes the forces behind the figures, including increasingly polarised views globally, “the rise of dangerous nationalist and populist forces in many countries and the stigmatization of journalists and media by politicians and the enemies of media freedom.”  

“While journalists in this country work in a benign environment, this report is a stark reminder this is not the case for their counterparts in many parts of the world,” says Paul.

“The report is also a testament to the bravery of the many working journalists prepared to risk their lives to shine a light in dark places – despite the risks.”

ENDS

For comment, please contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Senior National Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595

The report is available via this link:

https://www.ifj.org/fileadmin/user_upload/IFJ_2018_Killed_Report_FINAL_pages.pdf

E tū critical of Visionstream job cuts

E tū says job cuts affecting 11 technicians who service Chorus’s copper network in Northland may be the start of sweeping changes to the way the network is maintained.

The job cuts were announced today and E tū understands Visionstream, which is contracted by Chorus to run the Northland network is set to replace them with dependent sub-contractors.

“That is the same model used to install Ultra-Fast Broadband, and is closely linked to labour exploitation,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher.

Some 72 sub-contractors face charges related to labour abuses after a sting run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Joe says the Northland job losses will be very hard for the people involved – “they’ve lost quality, full-time permanent jobs.”

He says the union is also gravely concerned that the sub-contracting model used by Visionstream and favoured by Chorus is about to be rolled out across the whole copper network.

“When a company like Chorus decides to cut costs by using contractors like Visionstream, it means no job is safe. Visionstream appears to have no scruples about how its subbies are treated,” he says.

“We know the sub-contracting model has led to major and near universal exploitation.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

DHB OCS workers vote to strike

E tū members employed by hospital contractor, OCS have voted to strike over the company’s failure to agree the same pay deal for them as directly employed DHB workers covered by the new DHB MECA, settled just before Christmas.

The affected members, who work at Hawkes Bay DHB and Wairarapa DHB voted overwhelmingly to walk off the job for 24 hours on 26 February.

The MECA sets the conditions for 4000 hospital service workers and includes pay rises of up to 40 percent over the next three years.

Most directly employed workers have either received their first pay rise, or have a date when the increase including backpay will be paid.

But E tū Industry Coordinator, Sam Jones says for OCS members, there is no settlement, pay rise or back pay in sight.

“OCS has so far failed to respond to members’ claims with respect to the MECA, nor to settle on the same terms.

“It claims there is no settlement yet because of hold ups at the DHB funding end. The DHB says there is no problem, pointing the finger back at the contractor. 

“Either way, this isn’t good enough after the settlement was signed off and promoted by the Ministry of Health, and the Health Minister himself,” says Sam.  

Wairarapa member and OCS contractor, Kerry Hargood says he and his co-workers thought the money would be paid out by Christmas and feelings are running high.

“I’m a sole father on one wage. I turned down extra work because I thought I’d get the pay rise and backpay before Christmas. Now I’ve got books to buy and uniforms for the kids, and I haven’t got the money.  

“We’ve all worked really hard; they’ve told us how wonderful we are, and now it’s come to this. It’s really hurt us all,” he says, “A lot of us thought this was a done deal.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Sam Jones E tū Industry Coordinator, Public Hospital ph. 027 544 8563

If media wish to speak to Kerry Hargood, please contact Karen Gregory-Hunt on ph. 027 6222 345 and we’ll put you in touch.

Working in high temperatures

29 January 2019

There are no legal limits as to what temperatures workers can safely work in. But your employers has a duty of care to provide a safe environment. 

You also have rights with respect to this.

  • If workers have reasonable grounds, they can refuse unsafe work but need to be available for other work.
  • If you think you’re working conditions are unsafe, say so – this is best done collectively.
  • Contact your union if you need help: we can support you in raising the issue with your employer.

We can also advocate for solutions such as the following:

  • Air conditioning – people can hire air-conditioning units. If this is not practical, ask for a unit to be placed in a room, such as the cafeteria or staff-room, so people can go there and cool off.
  • Request extra cooling off breaks, in the airconditioned room – this has worked well in the past in hospital kitchens and in some factories.
  • There is work-gear, such as cooling vests, which are chilled in a fridge, and used to cool the body. Ask your boss about these. Clothing like heavy cotton overalls traps heat. Light cotton is good.
  • Ask for water fountains on-site: if that’s not possible, make sure you drink plenty of water.
  • Many people work outdoors – you could ask the boss to consider a change of hours so people work when it’s cooler.
  • People should not do heavy work in high temperatures: ask you boss if you can defer this work until the weather cools down again.
  • Remember hats, sunscreen and light protective clothing.
  • Longer-term, bargain for acceptable heating and cooling systems in your workplace.

Win as Sistema members secure agreement

E tū Sistema members who have been in dispute with their employer over wages and conditions have agreed to accept the company’s latest offer for a new collective agreement.

The deal will lift wages by about 16 percent for all members, by April 2020. Also included are provisions so workers are always paid a margin above the minimum wage.

Sistema has also agreed to regular meetings between union delegates and its management to resolve issues.

Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal at meetings this week.

The ratification of the agreement follows more than a year of talks, mediation and industrial action by workers at the giant plastics firm.

“The agreement is a big step forward and will see us working in a much better workplace than before,” says E tū delegate and Sistema worker, Maria Latu.

“The dispute has brought union members together, and we have learned that we can rely on each other, and when we do that, we are strong,” she says.

E tū advocate, Mat Danaher says the members refused to settle until they believed the deal was as good as they could get.

“These are low paid workers, who work extremely long hours. They’ve been prepared to walk off the job numerous times to get what they want at considerable personal cost.

“Through it all they’ve stood strong, and this is a well-deserved win,” he says.

.Mat and the members also extend their thanks to the wider community in New Zealand and overseas who also supported the campaign for better pay and conditions for Sistema workers.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū advocate and Lead Organiser ph. 021 336 519

 

E tū appalled by sudden closure of Masport

E tū says the union and its members at MFL Precision Foundries in Mt Wellington have been blind-sided by the receivership of the company.

A manager yesterday notified the union of the receivership by phone, but so far there is no official confirmation, says Ron Angel, E tū Industry Coordinator.

Meanwhile, he says the firm’s workers have been sent on leave for the Christmas break without being told about the receivership, which is unacceptable.

“We are deeply appalled that the employer has done this, knowing full well this was coming and that their workers didn’t know. Nor did the union,” says Ron.

“We understood the company had some financial challenges, but this has come as a complete surprise.

“We are now working hard to contact our members, to let them know what is happening, and to ensure they know their rights and entitlements.”

The union is also seeking an urgent meeting with the receiver.

At its height, when it produced the famous Masport lawn mower, the foundry employed up to 400 workers.

“This is a pretty sad end to a company which has traded for about 100 years,” says Ron.

“It’s another example of a company which has been down-sizing over time and now it looks like the end has come. That is always very hard news for those involved and especially just before Christmas.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Ron Angel E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0055

Mediation after Air NZ engineers strike vote

Aviation unions say they are very disappointed with the misleading information released by Air New Zealand in response to a strike notice by its aviation engineers.

The engineers and logistics workers have voted to issue strike notices in response to Air New Zealand’s demands for cuts to their conditions.

Air New Zealand is making record profits thanks to union members, and Engineering members have rejected the airline’s demands for clawbacks, says Savage, E tū’s Head of Aviation.

“No one wants to disrupt people’s Christmas plans, but Air New Zealand has taken an unnecessarily aggressive approach.

“This is not just about pay. It’s about repeated proposals by the airline weeks out from Christmas to pay them less than colleagues who have already settled, and to cut into key conditions, including overtime rates.

“This affects line and hangar engineers, but also store workers and aircraft cleaners, who are covered by the same document and who are struggling to get ahead,” he says.

“Our members feel under-appreciated and under attack. The ballot results show an overwhelming resolve to take action to defend themselves.”

Both unions have already agreed to mediation on Monday with airline representatives, to try to resolve the dispute and avert a strike, the first of which is scheduled for 21 December.

More than 970 engineering members of E tū and the Aviation and Marine Engineers Association voted 95 percent to strike, at meetings this week in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Savage says Air New Zealand has very high union membership, though strike action is extremely rare.

“Aviation workers don’t make these decisions without good cause. In aviation, there is a constant downward pressure on costs driven by airlines. The result is a race to the bottom on wages and conditions,” says Savage.

“New Zealand needs to remain a high-wage high-skilled economy. Aviation is a life blood industry.

“We will be in mediation with Air NZ Engineering management first thing on Monday and will carry on bargaining in good faith in the hopes of reaching a deal,” he said.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Savage Head of E tū Aviation, ph. 027 590 0074

 

At Sistema, all we want for Christmas is a fair deal

Sistema workers have walked off the job again.

The workers came off the job for the 5th time at 9pm last night in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Shreta Kumar, an assembly worker who normally works 60 hours a week says, “This is really hard for many of us low paid workers so close to Christmas, but we don’t feel like we have a choice.

“Our employer has got away with low pay for so long that we need to educate them to treat us with respect,” she says.

“Sistema are an iconic New Zealand brand, built on the back of low paid workers, who are struggling to provide for their families,” says union advocate Mat Danaher.

“This gets tougher and tougher as we get closer to Christmas. E tū members’ action today shows that we’re in this for the long haul.”

“All we want for Christmas is a fair deal,” says Shreta.

ENDS

E tū Sistema workers are picketing outside the plant:

Where: 221b Ihumatao Road, Mangere

When: 6am –

For further information, contact:

Mat Danaher ph. 021 336 519

 

 

 

 

Job losses at RCR Dannevirke a blow to workers

Workers at RCR Energy in Dannevirke are reeling after the company announced pending job losses related to its Australian parent company being put into administration.

The company, which is a boiler manufacturer, told workers this morning it expects 20 staff will lose their jobs as it works to keep the plant afloat.

RCR in Dannevirke employs 49 workers, including management and support roles.

“This is a massive blow for the workers and the small community of Dannevirke,” says E tū Lead Organiser Laurel Reid.

“A lot of the staff have been working there a long time and it will be next to impossible to find work in the town with the skills these workers have,” she says.

Laurel says the proposed redundancies are another blow to local manufacturing, which has seen a steady loss of quality manufacturing jobs in recent years.

“These workers are qualified tradesmen and labourers, and highly skilled in heavy fabrication but it’s more than likely they will have to move towns to find a new job.

“It’s devastating news at a time of the year when people expected they would be anticipating celebrations and time with their families over the Christmas and New Year break. Instead, they are waiting to hear if they have work or not.”

Laurel says details of the redundancies are expected to be announced in a week’s time, “but for 20 people, it won’t be good news and it’s through no fault of their own.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Laurel Reid E tū Lead Organiser ph. 027 591 0024