Author: E tū

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

 

E tū Aviation commemorates air tragedies

November 28th is the day for all New Zealanders to stop and think about the importance of aviation safety.

New Zealand’s largest aviation union, E tū is today commemorating two aviation tragedies which happened on the same day 29 years apart.

In 1979, an Air New Zealand scenic flight over Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus killing all 257 people on board including 20 crew.

E tū aviation members and union representatives will attend the annual wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport this afternoon.

There will be a minute’s silence at 1.49pm (12:49 NZST) – the time the crash occurred.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage says the memorial remembers the crew who died there including 15 cabin crew who never came home from work.

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the crash involving an Air NZ A320 which crashed off the coast of Perpignan in France in 2008.

Five New Zealand aviation workers died in that crash including Air New Zealand engineers Murray White, Michael Gyles and Noel Marsh.

“Just as we honoured the memory of the men who died at Pike River, so we should remember the people who died in the Erebus tragedy and in the A320 crash,” says Savage.

“Air disasters are a tragedy for everyone involved but we should never forget that they are also workplace accidents.

“Our aviation industry connects us to the world. Our entire economy and the lives of workers and passengers alike is dependent on maintaining the highest possible aviation safety standards”.

ENDS

 What: wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden

Where:  Auckland Airport – the memorial is located to the side of the Tom Pearce Drive 300m north of Puhunui Road roundabout

When: 28th November 1.30pm – there is a minute’s silence at the time of impact 1:49 (12:49 NZST)

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Savage E tū Aviation Director ph. 027 590 0074

 

 

E tū DHB MECA huge win for members

A new multi-employer agreement, or MECA, for public hospital service workers is a huge win for members, with many receiving pay-rises of up to 40 percent over the next three years.

The MECA sets the conditions for about 3500 service workers, including cleaners, laundry workers, orderlies, catering and security staff at the country’s 20 District Health Boards. E tū is confident about finalising the same settlement with the major DHB contractors by the end of the year.

Those on the lowest rates will benefit the most through formal training with this settlement lifting wages for another historically undervalued female dominated workforce.

“This is a fantastic outcome for members who have struggled with costs rising faster than their low wages,” says Sam Jones, E tū’s National Hospitals Coordinator.

“It’s a major investment by the DHBs and the Government in the lowest paid workers in our public hospitals and helps deliver on the Government’s promise to lift the living standard of those at the bottom,” he says.

Sam says by lifting wages, the MECA will benefit families and communities with the worst health statistics.

“It’ll be easier for people to pay the bills and feed their families properly so they’re healthier and happier.”

“Everyone is looking forward to the new pay deal,” says Auckland DHB cleaner, Lena Hiku.

“We will get a good wage in 40 hours without having to work overtime on the weekend. This will be good for our family life and for our health,” she says.

Sam says the DHBs are committed to providing the training workers need to gain qualifications with higher wage rates, “which is great news for our members.

“These jobs are an important entry point into the health service and the promotion of training will enable some to progress in the public health sector making the settlement a real win/win.

“The increases are impressive and the work of E tū on behalf of members, and the DHB on behalf of the government should be applauded.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Sam Jones E tū National Hospitals Coordinator ph. 027 544 8563

We can also put reporters in touch with members who can speak about the new MECA.

Some figures:

  • By the end of the MECA term, new workers on the basic scale will start on $20.90 an hour – an increase of 26.7 percent on the start rates.
  • E tū hopes to see all members earn a Level 3 qualification which will mean a pay rise from $17.28 to almost $25.00 by 2021 – an increase of 40.9%.
  • At the top of the basic grade, wages will lift to $21.25 an hour from June this year – an immediate increase of nearly 10 percent. This will increase to at least $25.63 over the next three years – which is 30 percent more than those on the top step of the basic grade earn now.

All new rates will be backdated to 25 June 2018

 

National to blame for Kiwibank changes

E tū sympathises with community concerns over the loss of Kiwibank branches – an issue with obvious implications for our Kiwibank and Post members.

Union Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union is working with Kiwibank to minimise job losses as Post ejects Kiwibank from its sites and franchises out postal services.

“Our primary concern is that members are able to transfer within the new structure or to exit with dignity. It’s about minimising job losses,” he says.

However, he says it needs to be recognised that these are changes forced by the previous National Government.

“The National Govt set this pathway five years ago when it changed its Deed of Understanding with NZ Post, allowing it to close post shops, which hosted Kiwibank branches.”

He says he understands why local politicians might react to bank closures on behalf of their constituents, “but it’s a bit rich when one of them is National MP, Nick Smith whose government set this up,” he says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Second strike by E tū Sistema members

E tū members at Sistema have taken strike action this morning, walking off the job at the giant Auckland plastics factory at 11am.

The strike follows a walk-out by nightshift union members from 11pm on Tuesday as workers take action over low pay and poor conditions – issues the company won’t budge on.

Striking workers will be picketing at the plant this morning and available for media to speak to.

“It’s a hard thing for these workers to take this action, especially so close to Christmas. They work hard for the money,” says E tū Lead Organiser, Mat Danaher.

“But they are determined to win a better deal for themselves and their colleagues and are prepared to make sacrifices to do that,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū Lead Organiser ph. 021 336 519

Picket:

Where: Sistema Plastics 221 Ihumatao Road, Mangere

When: from 11am –

 

 

 

Night-time strike at Sistema

 

E tū members working at Sistema Plastics in Auckland walked out at 11pm last night in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Sistema workers have been negotiating with their employer since February, with the aim of getting more than the minimum wage.

Sistema worker Maria Latu says, “We don’t want to strike, but we know our employer does not value us.

“We work long hours for just above the minimum wage. We get sick, we don’t spend enough time with our families, and our bosses just tell us to go and work somewhere else if we don’t like it.”

E tū Campaign Lead Mat Danaher says that Sistema have driven their workers to take drastic steps by refusing to listen to them.

“Sistema make millions selling their products all round the world. They are a well-known Kiwi brand, sold last year for $600 million, and yet they refuse to recognise the worth of their workers.”

“We’re sick of it,” says Maria. “My colleagues have had enough, we are prepared to stand up to have a chance at a decent life.”

“It’s about time Sistema came to the table and gave their staff an offer that will make a big difference to their lives, but which will be tiny drop in the ocean when it comes to their profit,” says Mat.

ENDS

More information contact:

Mat Danaher E tū ph. 021336519

 

 

E tū welcomes Pike River re-entry

E tū has welcomed the decision to proceed with the re-entry of the Pike River mine drift in a bid to uncover the cause of death of the 29 men who died there in November 2010.

The Minister in charge of the re-entry effort, Andrew Little made the announcement this morning, together with some of the Pike River families, E tū officials, police, and members of the Pike River Recovery Agency.

“This is a major victory for the families and their supporters who fought hard for this outcome, which we hope will further illuminate the cause of this tragedy which cost the lives of 29 workers,” says Paul Tolich, E tū Senior Industrial Officer.

“The more we know, the more we can plan to protect lives in high-risk industries,” he says.

“For the families, it holds the hope of closure and it is a milestone in the campaign for justice.

“It is also important for health and safety and the prevention of deaths on the job. All workers have the right to return home to their families at the end of the working day.

“The union also congratulates Andrew Little, the Minister responsible for the Pike River entry, who has shown fine leadership in carrying this task through to fruition.

“Although she is no longer with us, Helen Kelly has also been vindicated in her support for the families and the fight to re-enter the mine.

“This also shows what can be achieved by those who battle for a just outcome. The families have shown that if you campaign long enough and your cause is just, you can achieve success despite the naysayers who told the families they were wasting their time.

“When you have a government determined to do the right thing, you can achieve an outcome that serves justice and vindicates the families’ long years of struggle.

“This is yet again another example where the Labour/NZ First government has fulfilled the promises made on the campaign trail.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

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