Author: E tū

E tū welcomes new Living Wage of $20.55

E tū union welcomes today’s announcement of the new Living Wage rate and says there is still more work to do.

The 2018 New Zealand Living Wage rate is $20.55 an hour – 35 cents more than the 2017 rate and the smallest annual Living Wage increase since it was first launched in 2013.

The new rate was announced today by Wellington Mayor, Justin Lester at a gathering of Living Wage Employers, faith and community groups, and unions at Wellington bar and Living Wage Employer, The Rogue and Vagabond. Local and national politicians also attended.

Today’s announcement is good news for the communities of people that work for the more than 90 New Zealand companies which are accredited Living Wage Employers such as Vector, and those that work for the companies contracted to them.

It’s also good news for places like Wellington City where the council is moving towards the Living Wage for all directly employed and contracted workers, says Campaign Lead, Mat Danaher.

“The Living Wage is like a snowball,” says Mat.

“We are seeing more and more employers prepared to talk about it as a base rate. There’s a growing sense that employers know they should pay their workers enough to live on,” he says.

The new Living Wage rate is over $4 an hour above the minimum wage, and around a third of workers earn less than this.

Tassie works for a security contractor to the Ministry of Justice.

“I am earning the Living Wage thanks to the union negotiating on my behalf last year,” says Tassie.

“It’s been a huge boost. It means I can visit my son in Australia for the first time in three years.”

“Progress is clearly being made,” says Mat.

“The Government has made a commitment to paying the Living Wage to all directly employed and contracted workers in the core government, including cleaners, catering workers, and security guards, which E tū will be holding them to,” he says.

“New Zealand is taking the first few steps away from being a low waged economy with the Government’s recognition of the importance of higher wages to boosting the economy as a whole.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Mat Danaher Campaign Lead, E tū ph. 021 336 519

IDEA agreement ratified!

Support workers at IDEA have voted by a large a majority to ratify their new collective. The deal delivers a 5% pay raise for admin members and a 90 day deadline to make progress on restoring relativities around senior roles, as well as finding a better way to manage service reviews found strong support.

The relativities and service review working parties are due to report back by 1 June and if progress is made we will ‘open’ the collective and incorporate their work.

If progress is not made then at the next bargaining (due in the spring) we will refocus our claims for weekend and other pay rises on top of the next equal pay step for support workers due 1 July.

At the same time, the Health and Safety working party will refocus its efforts to  establish a decent workers participation  process.

IDEA was forced to withdraw it’s claims to cut sick leave and stress leave but refused to discuss equal pay for admin staff.

The vote was 576 in favour and 77 against.

Cleaners fight a dirty deal at meat works

Cleaners at Auckland Meat Processors, owned by Wilson Hellaby, are vowing to stand together and fight a plan to axe a third of their jobs.

The cleaners work under contract to ISS which plans to slash job numbers from 15 to ten.

ISS has told the cleaners it is Wilson Hellaby which is demanding the cuts in staff.

“How can Wilson Hellaby expect ISS to maintain the standard of hygiene required of a major meat processing plant if they cut one third of the jobs of their highly skilled cleaning staff?” asks Len Richards, E tū senior organiser.

Union delegate and cleaning supervisor, Tavita Aitu, says: “we need all our cleaners to do this job properly.

“The boning floors and chillers won’t pass inspection if they are not properly cleaned.”

The cleaners are backed by the plant’s butchers whose union has conveyed their concerns to Wilson Hellaby.

“The butchers pointed out the hygiene risks posed by these cuts and they made it clear they cannot fill in for the cleaners if the jobs go,” says FIRST Union organiser, Marcus Coverdale.

Len says most of Auckland’s beef supply comes out of this plant. Countdown is their major customer.

He says Aucklanders need to know what is happening which is why the cleaners are speaking out.

“We are hoping the public feels strongly enough to support the cleaners and persuade Wilson Hellaby that these cuts are untenable,” says Len.

Len says Wilson Hellaby promotes its proud history of quality, innovation and service: “The company needs to remember its reputation as it considers the future of these jobs,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Len Richards E tū Senior Organiser, ph. 027 204 6338

Delegate, Tavita Aitu can be contacted through Len.  He works overnight but is available during the day to speak to media.

“Absolute hero” Kristine Bartlett wins New Zealander of the Year!

E tū is thrilled for our equal pay hero, Kristine Bartlett who tonight was named New Zealander of the Year.

It’s a huge honour and richly deserved, says Yvette Taylor, E tū Equal Pay Coordinator, who was with Kristine at tonight’s event to announce the winner.

“Kristine picked up the fight for equal pay on behalf of her workmates and she’s travelled this road for many years, helping win pay equity principles through the courts and seeing that through to an historic settlement for care and support workers.

“She has been a huge role model for women fighting for pay equity.”

Yvette says Kristine is also a trail-blazer for working women everywhere, by showing the power of standing firm and fighting for something they believe in.

“Kristine is the first to say she didn’t win equal pay for care and support workers alone. She has always paid tribute to her union and the many women who stood with her.

“It is rare that a working woman like Kristine, paid near- minimum wage, takes the national stage, captures the national imagination and goes on to achieve this prestigious title.

“It says much about Kristine’s qualities – her determination, commitment and stamina, all dedicated to winning a better, fairer pay deal for working women.

“She has won a place in the hearts and minds of women, with the name Kristine Bartlett now synonymous with the fight for equal pay.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described Kristine as an “absolute hero” when presenting the award. We wholeheartedly agree!

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Yvette Taylor E tū Equal Pay Coordinator, ph.  027 431 8486

IDEA ratification meetings 2018

Dear IDEA support workers and admin members,

Over the next few weeks union members are invited to attend a series of ratification meetings to receive and vote on the results of the current bargaining for a new collective.

For most members pay has already been sorted through the magnificent victory of the July 2017 equal pay settlement.  But there is more to work than the hourly rate and this year we faced real pressure from IDEA to cut existing right such as sick leave and access to stress leave.

At the same time, we have also pressed IDEA to recognise the need to make sure staff are not disadvantaged because of service reviews and to work with us to restore the margins for staff with ‘responsibility’ roles.

Your bargaining team will be reporting in detail on the results and member rostered to work at the time of their meeting will be paid to attend and vote on the offer.

Click here for the list of meetings which will be updated on the E tū website as details are finalised.  Do take the time to attend our meeting and share your voice and your vote!

For more information contact E tū union support on 0800 1 86466 and if we don’t already have your cell number let us know so we can send you text updates.

Thanks!

Employment relations changes “off to a flying start”

E tū, the biggest private-sector union in New Zealand, is pleased with most of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill announced by the Government today.

E tū National Secretary Bill Newson says that the process is “off to a flying start”, with many improvements for working people and their unions.

Bill says the changes recognise the pressing concerns about the personal and economic cost of low wages and inequality.

“This Government has made fixing inequality a top priority. Wages are a huge factor in this, so strengthening the rights of workers and their unions is critical,” Bill says.

“We see this bill as a big leap forward towards a fair and equitable society.”

Bill says the changes restore many of the rights that were taken away by the last Government.

“We can celebrate some big wins for all workers, such as the restoration of statutory rest and meal breaks and the restoration of reinstatement as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal.”

Bill says working people will also be in a better position thanks to strengthened collective bargaining and union rights.

“Unions will have improved access to workplaces, making unions more available to their members and prospective members. It’s also great that employers will be required to pass on information about active unions – people need to know about the best vehicle for their voice in the workplace. Paid time for union delegates to represent their colleagues will be a much-deserved recognition of the important work that union delegates carry out.

“In short, what we are seeing is the reversal of much of National’s damaging industrial relations policies, along with some exciting new initiatives.”

However, E tū is disappointed that 90-day trial periods could remain for employers with 20 or fewer workers.

“There isn’t a majority in parliament in support of scrapping the 90-day ‘fire at will’ law in its entirety, which is disappointing,” Bill says.

“This is the nature of a coalition government under MMP. It’s now our task, as part of the wider labour movement, to improve this part of the bill.

“We’ll be there at select committees to explain why any ‘fire at will’ law is both unfair and unnecessary.”

ENDS

Bill Newson will be available for media interviews this afternoon.

For more information or comment:
Bill Newson – 027 538 4246

 

100 jobs at Juken’s Gisborne mill on the chopping block

Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) has announced a proposal to nearly halve its workforce at their East Coast mill in Gisborne.

E tū represents production workers at the mill. E tū Engineering Industry Coordinator Ron Angel says the move would be a big blow to the community.

“As the only significant wood manufacturer in the area, the livelihood of many family relies on jobs at the mill,” Ron says.

“E tū and FIRST Union will be working hard to save these jobs, but the company is very serious about this proposal.”

The company is entering the consultation period today.

“Once such a consultation begins, it’s very difficult to save the jobs that are on the chopping block. This could be the start of some real hardship for many East Coast families.”

Ron says that this proposed downsize, as well as recent news about the likely closure of ABCorp’s Christchurch plastic card manufacturing plant, demonstrates the need for urgent action from the Government to save our manufacturing industry.

“The Labour-led coalition Government has made a strong commitment to protecting working families and helping with decent regional employment opportunities.

“After nine years of a National Government that treated Kiwi workers as an afterthought, we expect the current Government to step up on these issues as a matter of priority.”

ENDS

FIRST Union President Robert Reid will represent the unions in the media.
For more information or comment, please contact:
Robert Reid – 021 535 933

Dozens to lose jobs as Christchurch card plant set to close

About 50 workers are set to lose their jobs after a prominent plastic card manufacturer has proposed moving operations to Australia.

ABCorp have informed workers of their intention to close their plastic card manufacturing plant in Christchurch by as early as 30 March, after a three-week consultation process.

E tū spokesperson Joe Gallagher said the workers are shocked by the news. While a final decision has not yet been made, the future doesn’t look good.

“It’s really come out of the blue for them and the short consultation period makes us think that the company’s mind is made up,” Joe says.

“Most people will have cards in their wallet that were made at this site. They produce bank cards, ID cards, loyalty cards and a lot more. It’s a real shame that these good kiwi-made products are just the next product to have production moved off-shore.”

Joe says that while the company may offer employment at other sites, this would be unrealistic for most workers.

“Families can’t just up and move to New South Wales. The company has indicated that they may help people find other jobs – we expect them to take the commitment very seriously.”

Joe says that these and other types of jobs could be saved by the Government taking a better look at local procurement, particularly as the closure comes after the company has lost a number of local contracts.

“Our new Government has made a strong commitment to New Zealand workers and their families. We’d like to see a Government-led commitment to local procurement in manufacturing and in fact, across all industries.”

ENDS

For more info or comment:
Joe Gallagher – 027 591 0015

Moe mai ra Jim Anderton

E tū is saddened by the passing of Jim Anderton, our former Deputy Prime Minister and a huge figure in the Labour Movement.

E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says that Jim’s legacy is a better New Zealand for working people.

“He was bold, hard-working, and courageous. He was known for standing up for what was right, even when it was hard,” John says.

“Workers can thank Jim and the movement he led for policies like four weeks annual leave, the introduction of paid parental leave, and the creation of Kiwibank.

“Jim spent his political career fighting for working people and their families. He had an intrinsic respect and passion for everyday workers, the outcome of which was a powerful voice for workers in parliament, in government, and on the streets.

“The values Jim applied to politics were in many ways exemplary for the wider Labour Movement, particularly as he was so aspirational for a better world.

“The E tū family passes on our condolences to Jim’s wife Carole and their loved ones.”

ENDS