Article Category: December 2018

E tū organising

Sistema: workers walk off the job

Our staunch and determined Sistema workers have taken strike action, walking off the job for the first time in the middle of a night-shift late last month. The day shift walked out two days later, forming a mighty picket line in front of the huge plastics plant. Other strikes have followed, after months of fruitless negotiations and hard work by our determined Sistema members and delegates.

The members are seeking a modest pay rise, and improved working conditions.This includes rotating jobs to relieve fatigue, greater respect from their supervisors and a fair and transparent promotion system.

The strength of feeling among our more than 200 E tū members was clear with 92% voting to strike.

Delegate Maria Latu was fizzing with excitement as workers streamed out of the factory at 11pm on that first night.

“We’re on strike! Everybody just walked out!” she said, to a barrage of car horns as striking workers drove out of the plant carpark in convoy.

“We don’t want to strike, but we know our employer does not value us. 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.”

As E tū and You goes to print, the dispute remains unresolved, but our members stand tall and undaunted, says delegate Sesilia Williams: “They are all strong, all united in support of each other,” she says. “We’re going to keep on keeping on until we
get results!”

Air New Zealand engineers gets a deal

E tū members at Air New Zealand Engineering and Logistics have been offered a deal after three days of mediation.

The unions entered into mediation with the company in early December, after the company failed to make a decent offer in negotiations. Air New Zealand had proposed cutting some long-held conditions and offered just a small pay rise.

E tū issued strike notices for three consecutive days, beginning on 21 December. These notices covered the busiest travel days of the year and attracted significant media attention.

Fortunately, a deal was reached on the third day of mediation, which included the unions involved withdrawing their strike notices. Our member-led bargaining team was satisfied that the deal addressed many the major problems and so the deal will now be taken to the members to vote on it. While the specific details remain confidential until members have had a chance to discuss it in detail, it is a significantly improved offer.

Air New Zealand Engineering and Logistics workers are a very well organised group, with high union density and well-established organising processes. This gives them the collective power to stand up for their rights and win what they deserve. While strike action is always a last resort, Air New Zealand Engineering and Logistics members have sent a clear message to the company that they won’t accept any less than they’re worth.

Delight as Auckland members ratify the new MECA

Our public hospital members are celebrating big pay rises as a result of the new DHB Multi Employer Collective Agreement ratified last month. Wages for many will increase by up to 40% over the next three years with those on the lowest rates expected to benefit the most.

The MECA covers about 3500 directly employed and contracted service workers, including cleaners, laundry workers, orderlies, catering and security staff at the country’s 20 DHBs.

Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal which lifts pay in line with qualifications.

“We will get a good wage without having to work overtime on the weekend,” says Lena Hiku, a cleaner at Auckland Hospital. “This will be good for our family life and for our health,” she says.

The new pay scales also remove the requirement for 12 months service on each step before progressing, making it easier for members to get to the top step faster through training.

E tū hopes to see all members earn a Level 3 qualification which will mean a pay rise from a base rate of $17.28 to almost $25.63 by 2021 – an increase of 40.9%.

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%. At the top of the grade, wages will lift to $21.25 an hour – an increase of nearly 10%.

This will increase to at least $25.63 over the next three years – which is 30% more than workers earn now.

All new rates will be backdated to 25 June 2018.

For cleaner Janet Pihanga, the deal is a welcome early Christmas present. “This pay deal will be my Xmas bonus and hopefully the back-pay will be paid out before Xmas as well,” she says.

This MECA is 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. As one member commented: “Thank you, Jacinda!” The increases are indeed impressive and reflect the hard work of E tū members.

Union pride at OceanaGold

“I’m proud of the membership, I’m proud of the boys for standing together as one voice. There was no wavering. It was E tū – we stood tall, we stood hard and the company recognised that.”

Those are the words of our on-site delegate at OceanaGold’s Waihi underground mine, where members went out on strike twice for 48 hours in September, in protest over a low pay offer, despite the Aussie-based firm posting a record profit this year.
Recent surveys also revealed a rich vein of gold in a new field and members believed the company could pay more.

“Feelings were running high,” says our delegate. “The company said there are ebbs and flows and sometimes they have to spend to make money, but they were making a lot more than they were prepared to give out,” he says.

Two strikes in and the members still stood firm. Finally, mediation brought a break-through with members winning a 3% + 2.5% two-year settlement.

“It was a good settlement and we wouldn’t have got it without the action that was taken.”

He says the team is also tighter on site now: “It’s been very good in uniting the workforce and showing our management we were united.”

As well as the pay increases, work continues on a new roster to reduce fatigue caused by long working hours. Workers currently work 84 hours over seven days, then three days off, which workers found exhausting.

“Everyone was coming back fatigued. Now, we’ll have 84 hours but seven days to recover.”

A fantastic result all round.

Pike River re-entry

E tū congratulates government Minister Andrew Little on his decision to re-enter the Pike River mine drift, where 29 men died in an explosion in November 2010.

Eleven union members died that day and it’s hoped the re-entry will uncover more about what caused this tragedy. The decision is also vindication for the Pike River families’ fight for justice.

Mining Industry Council member and delegate Dave Reece says, “If re-entry means they retrieve bodies and find out what caused it, that’s all good.”

Dave paid tribute to the Minister, formerly the National Secretary of our legacy union, the EPMU. “Andrew has to take a fair bit of credit for this and we’d expect nothing less. But at the end of the day, our main concern is that the re-entry is safe,” he says.

Steel workers settle

Members at NZ Steel and Pacific Steel are proud of the tight bond they’ve forged after multiple strike action, including their biggest strike in decades.

Our members took joint strike action for 24 hours in September, with hundreds of steel workers hitting the picket line outside Pacific Steel.

The dispute followed a low-ball offer from Aussie owner, Bluescope, which had just posted a huge AUD$1.6 billion profit.

“The initial offer was 1.6% and on the back of that massive profit, that was just unacceptable,” says Pacific Steel Senior Delegate Glenn Wallace, “though in the end it played in our favour.”

“The members realised what we had to do to get a result. It was a pleasure to see how united the workforce was. We had a 100% buy-in,” says Glenn.

The dispute settled after members accepted a 29-month deal, including a pay rise of 2.75% a year for two years, plus 1% for four months.

Site Convenor, Neville Jones pays tribute to the bond forged among members’ as a result of the dispute.

“We’re the mightiest we’ve ever been,” he says.

At NZ Steel, feelings also ran high, says our site convenor, Lance Gush. “The one thing – and we have to thank the company for this – they’ve actually unified our workforce. They galvanised it.

“The vote for action was 98% in favour so that’s a strong indication that the workforce supported what we were doing. They’d just had enough.”

He describes the atmosphere on the picket as “electric”.

Frustration reached boiling point with members threatening to strike for an unprecedented ten days, before mediation finally brought a much-improved offer of 8% over three years, which won the support of members.

“The vote was 80% in favour so that’s a strong endorsement. We believed that was the best deal we could get,” says Lance.
Meanwhile, industrial action continues for Bluescope workers at Port Kembla in Australia. Our members stand in solidarity with them until this dispute is resolved.

Members drive Air Nelson deal

After 17 long months of intense and resolute negotiations, the Air Nelson Collective Agreement has settled. This was not without some heated drama.

These members are among the lowest paid cabin crew at Air New Zealand, and the members grew more determined and united after the airline settled with its non-union members, stringing out talks while rejecting the bargaining claims of its unionised crew.

With talks at stalemate, Air Nelson members began organising for strike action, pickets and a march in protest at the inadequate offers and protracted negotiations on the part of the Air New Zealand bargaining team.

With the airline aware the union would go public with the dispute, it finally produced a deal that won the support of our members.

This includes a salary increase of between 4.4% and 6.2%, as well as substantial increases to meal allowances. Crew also won two extra rest days over their 28 day roster. There were no claw-backs.

E tū Delegate Shaun O’Neill says the members are happy.

“They were a little bit unhappy with how long it took. But definitely we’ve seen our payslips go up by about $200 a fortnight which is incredible. It’s such a help for us,” he says.

Oceania: big lift for members

Domestic staff at aged care group, Oceania have won a 6% pay rise – higher than any other aged care employer. The increase applies to Oceania’s kitchen, laundry, cleaning, maintenance, gardening and reception staff.

Oceania no longer pays the minimum wage after it lifted the starting rate from $16.50 to $17.25. This will increase again to $17.77 from 1 April next year.

“We’re very pleased and quite amazed with that,” says cleaning member Gina Radfield. “I do think we’re deserving of it,” she says.

And, in another exciting development, Oceania has said they remain open to working over the term of this year’s agreement towards becoming an Accredited Living Wage employer – which they have confirmed in a subsequent meeting.

Gina has thanked the union for this year’s deal saying, “It’s very much appreciated. Everyone’s happy and also quite amazed.”
Oceania has also agreed to include a domestic violence clause in the CA, which mirrors the new Domestic Violence leave legislation, which comes into effect from 1 April next year. In this case though, the clause will take immediate effect.

A safer IDEA?

Overtime and safe staffing ratios are key claims as E tū’s 2500 IDEA Services members began bargaining late last month to renew their Collective Agreement.

These members support 4000 people with intellectual disabilities in day bases and homes and the shifts are worked 24/7.

The talks are focussed on staffing levels and workloads which E tū reported last year to IDEA Services, along with under-reporting of assaults, and too few health and safety representatives on the job.

IDEA now admits there are too few health and safety reps, but it has been a long battle, says senior delegate Nic Corrigan.

“As part of the safe staffing drive, we’ll be pushing for a greater say in how restructuring is managed,” says Nic. “All too often the staff, the very people who understand the needs of the people they support, are ignored.”

“Overtime and weekend rates are also back on the agenda,” says delegate Nicky Garmonsway.

IDEA is pushing for a three-year deal, which would require staff to work public holidays. It also wants to cap sick leave and to rewrite the redundancy and review clause.

With the equal pay settlement now into its second-year, members are also pushing to reinstate lost relativities for senior staff, along with weekend and overtime pay.

Media merger spiked

Media companies Fairfax and NZME have failed in their bid to appeal the Commerce Commission decision against their proposed merger.

The Commission rejected the merger in the interests of robust journalism and the public interest – a decision upheld on appeal by the High Court with further appeals rejected by the Court of Appeal. This has ended hopes for the merger.

Your union welcomes the court decisions, which align with the submission by our E tū journalist members, which also opposed the merger. The decisions are important in countering further ownership consolidation of New Zealand’s news media and they establish that decisions about the media involve more than purely commercial considerations – that the impact on society and democracy are also of vital importance.

Just Transition

Taranaki begins Just Transition

Our Taranaki delegates are working alongside industry representatives and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) as part of E tū’s involvement in creating a Just Transition in the region.

Just Transition is a union initiative to prepare, train and equip workers and communities for an economy based on green energy technologies and industries. This is important for our many members in carbon-based industries and across our manufacturing sectors.

After several meetings, a 12-person leadership group has been set up to explore what the future holds, working industry by industry.

Team member and E tū delegate Sean Hindson says a Just Transition means fairness in wages, the creation of high wage jobs, and the development of long-term energy alternatives for the region.

“That’s incredibly important,” says Sean. “We have to start looking forward to the future, especially for younger generations. I think our sector will be around for a few decades, but we need both massive changes to our infrastructure and the development of the correct kind of energy for the future.”

Sean says he’s excited to be involved and receiving good quality information he can share with other members and the wider public.

“I can see there’s a lot of positive things to come and some really big opportunities for our region through this process.”

Living Wage

Workers want Bluff to be a Living Wage town

The Southland community celebrated the launch of Living Wage Bluff on November 18. More than 70 people attended including Sanford’s workers, St Anne’s Catholic Basilica, Awarua Social and Health Services, E tū and other unions, local leaders, and business people.

Sanford’s delegate Linda Bevin, who is also the chairperson of the Bluff network, was thrilled with the event.

“I think it went really well,” Linda says. “The stories people told were really powerful, especially from workers that are on single incomes.”

Workers in the country’s most southern town shared their stories of low pay and how they needed to organise for a Living Wage.

“They talked about how tough it is, having to dip into savings and things like that just to get simple household items,” says Linda.

Linda says that getting a Living Wage for Bluff is about future-proofing the town.

“It’s about our future and the future generations. There aren’t many opportunities outside of fisheries for people in Bluff, and you just can’t live properly on low wages.”

Tabitha Jessiman, an E tū member at Sanford, told the meeting: “I can’t participate in the community because I don’t have the funds, I can’t repair my house because I don’t have the funds, my daughter can’t play softball because I don’t have the funds.
“It would be less stressful not having to live pay cheque to pay cheque and every week having to decide which bills I will pay and which I won’t.”

With the campaign underway, the next step for the Living Wage Network Sanford’s workers is a letter to Sandford Chief Executive, Volker Kuntzsc, asking his profitable fishing company to support lifting these workers out of poverty.

Push for Porirua Living Wage

Teau Marama

Living Wage campaigners have a commitment from Porirua Mayor Mike Tana to work towards including the Living Wage in the Porirua City Council’s District Plan.

At a meeting organised as part of Living Wage Week, the Mayor was presented with 50 letters, signed by local community leaders, politicians and employers, urging him to introduce the Living Wage for council workers and contractors. The mayor said yes. However, he committed to the Living Wage during his election campaign and so far there has been little progress. By contrast, Wellington City Council is now a fully Accredited Living Wage Employer.

Teau Marama, an E tū member at the Porirua Union and Community Health Service who attended the meeting, says families in Porirua are struggling and she has a message for Mike: “The cost of living goes up every other day. So how about it? The Living Wage is not extreme.”

The Living Wage is life-changing

Wayne Richdale

Recon security guard Wayne Richdale knows how hard it is to live on low wages. When he began his security career, Wayne was earning the minimum wage.

“You struggle,” Wayne says. “You can’t eat properly, you work long hours, and you still can’t pay the bills.”

At one point, Wayne was working 72 hours a week to make ends meet. That was until E tū members at Wellington City Council won the Living Wage for workers employed by contractors like Recon.

“Now I can work 48 hours a week. It’s still tough. People think that standing on your feet for 12 hours is an easy job. Well, I say to that, next time you watch TV, try standing in front of it for five hours and see how you feel.”

Wayne says low wages are still a huge problem in the security industry.

“If I wasn’t working at a council location, I wouldn’t be on the Living Wage. I’d have to look for a second part-time job as the cost of essentials like food and groceries keeps going up.

“I believe all security guards should get the Living Wage. You’ve got to look at the overall context – for example, it would actually solve a lot of health problems. People would be able to afford fruit and vegetables, instead of relying on fast food. You’d deal with some of the homelessness problems, especially when you have situations in Auckland with two people earning and they still can’t pay the rent.”

Health and safety

Man in a million back at work

E tū member Steven Vincent, is a man in a million after surviving being crushed in a press at Carter Holt Harvey LVL plant at Ruakaka in Northland.

“Basically, I broke just about every bone in my upper body,” Steve says. “I had about a 10% chance of survival, it was touch and go. That first night at the hospital they didn’t think I’d last the night.”

But he did, and last month he was in court to hear the company sentenced, after WorkSafe found the LVL press machine wasn’t guarded, in breach of CHH’s health and safety procedures.

Steve received reparations of $55,000 – though that pales beside the $371,000 in fines and costs for the Government. Steve regards the reparations as “a real cop-out. We were pretty annoyed and we’re still annoyed. I’m still waiting for the Government to write and thank me for the big fine they got,” he says.

The judge added $60,000 to the fine, noting the 26 other health and safety breaches at CHH related to a lack of machine guarding.

A guarding programme has been implemented, though Steve says: “with all those other incidents, you have to wonder is the message getting across? If they’d been fined a million dollars, as they are in other parts of the world, would it have happened?
I doubt it.”

On the plus side, Steve says the company has treated him well, paying for treatment including surgery, and he has also returned to work part-time. However, the future is unclear due to the nature of his injuries.

“I’m down to about 48% lung capacity so I lose so much energy,” he says.

Steve pays tribute to another E tū member, Grant Fischer, a co-worker and paramedic, who acted quickly when Steve got caught in the press, leaving other co-workers frozen in shock. Steve calls him the hero of the night.

“He pulled me out, patched me up, gave me pain relief and got me to the hospital. He saved the day that night.”

E tū understands CHH has spent about $2 million so far on a guarding programme in the wake of Steve’s accident.

Member profile: Lavina Rickard

Stand strong in any language

Lavina Rickard is a delegate at Sanford mussel processing plant in Havelock. She’s been a union member since the early 2000s and enjoys her role as a team leader on the cleaning shift.

Lavina has ten years’ experience as a delegate and has enjoyed using the skills learnt through union education opportunities and involvement on her Industry Council. “I’ve found the training awesome and have met a lot of good and different people through the union,” she says.

One of the big steps Lavina took was to support migrant workers at her workplace by getting union recruitment material translated into different languages.

“At Sanford’s Havelock, we have a lot of migrant workers. Many of them speak English as a second language, which makes recruiting hard for a start. Sometimes you can get lost in translation.

“I have got French, Portuguese, Hindi, Chinese, and Samoan. I’m still waiting on some others. We need to get the message out there, so it’s good to have as many languages as we can. It’s a slow process, but a couple of my fellow Industry Council members are helping me out with it.

“I’m asking people I work with to help with translations, as well as using other connections I have.”

Lavina says migrant workers often don’t know their rights and are afraid that raising issues could threaten their visas.

“I’ve talked to people in the past and told them that they are due a pay rise, but they’ve been too shy to go to the boss because they are on a working visa. I’ve told them this has nothing to do with the visa.”

Lavina joined the E tū Manufacturing and Food Industry Council this year. She enjoys the role because it gives her contact with other delegates from similar workplaces.

“I keep in touch with people from Sealord, King Salmon, and places like that, to see what’s happening on their worksites. We look at what’s happening in the industry and talk about any changes.”

Lavina knows that the workers in the seafood industry deserve better pay and Sanford’s can afford to pay it.
”Sanford’s is doing really well. $42.3 million profit this year! When we heard that, we were like ‘what? Where is our pay rise! Come on’.”

The Living Wage is on the agenda for Sanford workers. Lavina is happy to see her fellow Sanford E tū members down in Bluff leading the charge with the launch of the Living Wage Bluff Network.

Sanfords employs a lot of temps and has high turnover.

But that doesn’t stop Lavina recruiting as many as she can. She has one message for her fellow E tū members: “Stand strong.”

Campaigning for our future

Changes to employment law

The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, strengthening our rights at work. E tū campaigned for a worker-friendly Government and has worked to influence the final changes, which will all come into effect by 6 May 2019. We have restored many of the rights lost under the last Government and this is just the start of what E tū will campaign to do over the next 18 months.

Compulsory rest and meal breaks restored

People working eight-hour shifts are now entitled to two paid 10-minute breaks on top of the unpaid half-hour lunch break. Workers with shorter shifts get extra paid break time as well depending on hours worked.

Better tools for union organising

Many of the changes relate to unions and building organising power at work. Some of the most significant changes include:

  • Workers will have extended protections against discrimination based on their union membership, including either being a member or considering becoming member. An employer’s behaviour may be deemed discriminatory if it occurs within 18 months of a worker undertaking union activities.
  • Delegates will get paid time off to carry out union duties, such as being involved in bargaining and participating in union education. The employer can only deny this if it creates an unreasonable disruption to the company.
  • Access rights restored for union officials. Organisers can, once again, enter a workplace without first seeking consent, but there must be at least one worker covered by the union collective agreement, or in the process negotiating one.
  • Businesses must now enter into bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements (MECAs), if asked to join that agreement by a union. They will not have to settle a MECA if they have reasonable grounds not to.
  • Employers must pass on information about unions to new workers. E tū will be producing specific recruitment material for different industries and organisations for this purpose.
  • Many other changes that improve union power in all union activities, from recruitment to negotiations to industrial action.

Protection for vulnerable workers

Employees in specific industries can keep the current terms and conditions in their employment agreement if their work is restructured, regardless of how big the employer is. Workers had previously been excluded from this protection if they worked for a small organisation.  This applies to workers in ‘vulnerable industries’ (such as cleaning and catering services) and we can now seek to have other workforces (such as security) protected by this law.

Reinstatement

Reinstatement has been restored as the first course of action considered by the Employment Relations Authority when workers are unfairly dismissed, meaning that if you lose your job wrongfully, the Employment Relations Authority will prioritise getting you back to the same job if you want to return.

90-day trial periods restricted

Employers can no longer write 90-day trial periods into agreements unless they employ fewer than 20 people. Ninety-day trial periods allow employers to fire workers without giving any reason, which denies workers their right to fair go at a new job.

Ready for Fair Pay Agreements

E tū has led the call for Fair Pay Agreements since the 2017 election campaign. Fair Pay Agreements is the Labour Party’s policy to establish industry-wide bargaining, which means setting minimum pay and conditions across an entire industry.

Workers in the cleaning and security industries would benefit greatly from Fair Pay Agreements as their pay and conditions are among the country’s worst. A significant factor is the contracting model, which incentivises companies to have a ‘race to the bottom’ by paying the lowest wages to win the right to deliver a service.

E tū is part of the Government working group to develop a Fair Pay Agreement framework and our members are active in making sure Labour’s coalition partner, NZ First, understands the importance of this policy.

E tū security and cleaning members met with NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau, in Rotorua last month to explain how Fair Pay Agreements could be life-changing for people in low wage industries.

The meeting was an initiative of Te Runanga o E tū. Our Runanga President Sharryn Barton says the setting of fair pay and conditions for some industries is desperately needed.

“The poverty some of our members experience is heart-breaking,” Sharryn says.

“You have people doing hard work, often at all hours of the day, who just aren’t getting paid enough to make ends meet. The system we have isn’t working for them.

“Setting minimum pay and standards across an industry through Fair Pay Agreements would even up the playing field and give all workers in a particular industry the ability to negotiate what they deserve.”

Government considers tender changes

Firms tendering for Government contracts may soon have to guarantee decent jobs and wages. Talks are underway to secure new government rules for tendering out contracts, a process known as procurement.

Contracting hurts our members as clients demand and reward ever lower tenders, resulting in low pay, insecure work and long hours.

Clients who tender out services like security and cleaning include government agencies such as schools, courts, the Ministry of Justice, the police and The Ministry of Social Development.

Rachel Waru

“To get a cleaning contract, companies undercut everyone else and then they cut our hours,” says Invercargill cleaner and delegate, Rachel Waru. “When hours and pay are cut, people can’t afford to live.”

But the Government and your union are discussing new rules for purchasing government services, which could mean greatly improved pay and working conditions. Your union is advocating for ethical practices, including secure jobs and the Living Wage.

“I think that would be good if we could pull that through,” says delegate and security guard Kenneth Renata, who earns 25 cents more than the minimum wage. Rachel says change can’t come soon enough. Meanwhile, she says as cleaning contracts shrink,
so have members’ jobs.

“It’s happening everywhere. You’re expected to do the same amount of work for less hours. One lady had a job cut from one hour to 15 minutes. I mean, by the time you clock in, you’re hardly going to be doing anything. What’s the point?”

Editorial – Standing up together for ‘the union pay premium’

Welcome to the final edition of our union magazine for 2018. The articles reflect the diverse challenges and achievements of our members across our union.

It’s a privilege to welcome the many new members who joined our union in 2018, including our very recent new members at Hobbiton outside of Matamata.

We are working alongside our Hobbiton members to develop a strong democratic union organisation at work. My thanks to Christaan Burgess, our E tū delegate from Waitomo Caves, who came along to help out at the Hobbiton meetings.

Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves are union workplaces with E tū members – why not take your family or friends for a visit these holidays?

It hasn’t been an easy year for many. I want to acknowledge those of our E tū members at Hutumaki in Auckland who have been facing redundancies. Thankfully they are covered by a good union redundancy agreement.

We have worked hard to negotiate good wages and conditions this year.

It was an honour to join our Pacific Steel members on the picket line as they took action for a fair deal at work. I also joined with our tenacious Air Nelson flight attendant delegates to achieve a good settlement after 17 months of bargaining!

By the time you read this, our Government will have passed a range of employment-related policies that will even up the imbalance of power held by employers and give us a proper chance of getting a better deal at work.

Business leaders and their politicians say these improvements are bad for business. The fact is that they don’t like unions because we make a big difference for working people, achieving what researchers call the ‘union pay premium’.

Independent research by the Centre for Labour, Employment and Work (CLEW) at Victoria University in Wellington has proved that being a union member pays off.

Their independent survey of union collective agreements shows that wages in union agreements increased by an average 2.2% over the past year. Union collective agreements in the private sector did even better increasing on average by 2.9%.

Compare that to the 1.9% average increase across all New Zealand wage and salary earners in the same period as measured by the Labour Cost Index.

While just 1% of working people covered by union collective agreements got no wage increase, the figure is 46% when measured across all New Zealand workers.

It’s simple really, there is strength in numbers and standing together in union means a better chance of a better deal.

I would also like to acknowledge the Pike River families, as they have finally have confirmation of a manned re-entry into the drift. This has been a hard battle for a very long time, but the Coalition Government have pulled out the stops for them. I particularly acknowledge Andrew Little, the minister responsible (and my old boss), for being on the side of the families all the way.

E tū is a union that always looks to the future. We are working with government, community and employer groups to identify the skills needed for the jobs of the future and we are involved in developing strategies like the Just Transition, to ensure a better chance of alternative employment security for working people as we face an uncertain future.

Within our union we are reviewing our structure to see how we can better allocate our resources to provide good service to our members while also aligning resources to grow our membership, power and influence. I expect to report on that to our Delegate Forums and membership meetings in 2019.

Thank you for being an E tū member and, on behalf of our Presidents and National Executive, I wish all E tū members a great summer break.

Notices

Getting workers home safe and healthy

WorksafeReps is owned and operated by the Workers’ Education Trust, established by the PPTA, PSA, RMTU, NZNO, DWU and the NZCTU to provide education courses in health and safety at work.

To book a course, or for more information: www.worksafereps.co.nz 0800 336 966

Community Support Industry Council

Applications are invited from Community Support Sector members to fill a vacancy on their sector Industry Council. The Council sets the organising and strategic plan for the aged care, disability, mental health, and home support sectors of E tū. Applications close 30 January 2019.

For expressions of interest or request for more information, contact: [email protected].

Union Support

If you need any support or advice about issues at work, contact Union Support to speak with an organiser. 0800 1 UNION (0800 186 466) [email protected]