If 2021 is the ‘Year of the Vaccine’, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has put it, 2022 will be the ‘Year of Fair Pay Agreements’.
While E tū members have been campaigning for Fair Pay Agreements since before the 2017 election, we have some real momentum now, with the First Reading of the draft Fair Pay Agreement bill expected near the end of this year. Then it’s all on.
The start of 2022 will see E tū members writing submissions on the bill, supporting Fair Pay Agreements and offering ways to improve the draft legislation. In the months that follow, Fair Pay Agreements will become law and we hope to initiate the first Fair Pay Agreements before the end of 2022.
Before the submission process starts, E tū members are already lobbying their local Labour MPs by using E tū’s Fair Pay Agreement letter writing tool. Over 100 members have told MPs about their lives and why Fair Pay Agreements will improve our workplaces.
Cleaner and mother of five, Mary Gatoloai, was one of those members: “We need guaranteed hours, good wages to feed our children, we need health and safety on our work sites, and we need to stop the race to the bottom,” Mary wrote.
We are also organising around Fair Pay Agreements on the job. E tū member-organiser Jayson Ormsby has been out talking to his fellow security guards, encouraging them to join E tū to get active in the Fair Pay Agreement campaign.
“Having the backing of new recruits makes all the difference, especially in our industry, which has one of the higher turnover rates,” Jayson says.
“I talk with guards about E tū’s recent achievements, and I tell them my own story. We talk about the problems in the industry and how Fair Pay Agreements will help solve them. It’s about planting that seed – people don’t know how much of an influence their voice really has.
“The majority of guards are really positive about the idea. They understand how it will lead to a better path for their families and their jobs.”
Jayson says that his work with E tū has taught him a lot about power and politics.
“I think lot of our guards are in that age group or category where they don’t get how much influence politics really has. We see it on the news but don’t know the full impact of how it can affect us on our jobs.
“Early on someone told me that politics is everything – and it actually is. This is our movement, this is what we’re doing. We need to have that mindset. it’s hard to get anything for the lower socio-economic groups, when the powers that be are holding the keys. But the more of us that speak up and go and do the work, that’s what helps.
“For myself, I’m still learning a bit, and it’s inspiring. I’m finding things in myself, coming out of my shell, and personally growing. I like to find that spark in other people too. Getting into the nitty gritty is hard for everyone, it’s a big hill. Our job is to find the people who will do the climb with us.
“I will always remember this idea I heard early on: If you’re not going to speak up and say it, who is?”