Author: E tū

Election delivers high expectations for working people

E tū congratulates the Labour Party and the Green Party for their respective victories after the preliminary results of General Election 2020.

While the official count is yet to come, Labour have won enough votes to govern alone, and the Greens are back in with more MPs than last term.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says the result is great for workers in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The Labour and Green parties went into the election campaign with strong policies for workers.

“We congratulate both parties for this result, and in particular, would like to congratulate E tū leader Ibrahim Omer who has been elected as the first African MP to Parliament.”

Annie say the key policies for workers include Fair Pay Agreements, the Living Wage for workers employed by contractors in the state sector, and doubling the minimum sick leave entitlement.

“We calling for Labour’s workplace relations policies to be part of their commitments in the first 100 days.

“We expect them to move quickly on Fair Pay Agreements, which will transform the New Zealand workforce by providing industry standards for many of the country’s most vulnerable workers.”

E tū will continue to put pressure on the Government to deliver for workers and will hold them to account, Annie says.

“We have made more than 13,000 calls to E tū members and have engaged with parties and candidates throughout the campaign to ensure our issues are front and centre.

“We have high expectations for this Government. The election has given them one of the clearest mandates for progressive transformation in living memory.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340

Proposed job cuts risk to workers and community, union says

E tū is calling on the country’s only oil refinery to rethink their proposal to cut jobs from their maintenance and emergency teams.

Around 100 workers in total, including those from maintenance, instrument technician, electrical, and emergency services teams could go at Refining New Zealand in Marsden Point, as part of a proposal given to workers on 6 October.

The possible cuts include around a quarter of the small essential maintenance team and almost 50% of the refinery’s emergency services team, which E tū says will increase the risk to workers and the surrounding community alike.

A worker, who remains anonymous, says safety is a big concern.

“The company don’t seem to realise or care how unsafe [things are] becoming because of a lack of maintenance. The reductions in numbers will make it worse.”

E tū organiser Annie Tothill says there is no evidence so far to show that maintenance work has reduced and getting rid of workers will simply place more pressure on those who remain.

“There is a gaping hole for risks if you reduce these already-small teams, as workers may suffer fatigue due to excessive hours and increased stress levels,” she says.

“The proposal to cut the emergency services team to only one worker per shift is also deeply concerning, as it means they would be mostly working alone, including on a night shift.

“This group not only provides assistance at the refinery but is also a recognised local industrial brigade in the region, and trains volunteers and other Fire Emergency personnel from around New Zealand.”

 Annie says the refinery is classed as a top-tier high-hazard facility, and so the company must consult with the community and regional council on proposed changes around health and safety, including emergency functions.

“They have so far provided no evidence or modelling to support their proposal and have no plan to consult with communities yet.

“As long as the refinery continues to operate, we need to continue to invest in the community to ensure decent, safe working conditions, and a top-tier community and national resource, while also considering any future ‘Just Transition’ plan for this group of highly skilled workers.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Annie Tothill, 027 573 4934

Promise of new Matariki public holiday welcomed

E tū welcomes the Labour Party’s announcement to make a new public holiday in celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year.

Official celebrations of Matariki would begin in 2022, to allow the party time to develop the necessary resources and organise public events around the day.

As Matariki follows the lunar calendar, the exact date would change annually but would always fall on either a Monday or Friday during Matariki.

E tū Co President Muriel Tunoho says the proposal is good news and important because it formally recognises Māori knowledge that is already celebrated in communities across Aotearoa.

“The announcement of recognising Matariki as a formal public holiday has been a long journey – one that is welcomed by workers, whānau, and our communities.”

National Convenor Te Runanga o E tū Sharryn Barton says the season is also a time to make a fresh start.

“For me, Matariki is a time of new beginnings and hopefulness as we emerge from the long winter months of hibernation. It welcomes the dawn of new promise and promises yet unfulfilled.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Muriel Tunoho, 027 618 5467

Promoting inclusion and equality for all union members

E tū and its Komiti Pasifika group is calling on all members and their communities to come together in the wake of the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

Workers need to know that they should be able to get a test without being disadvantaged at work or having to use up leave in any stand-down period while awaiting test results.

E tū Food and Manufacturing Industry Council Convenor Gadiel Asiata says recent negative narratives centred on Pasefika families who have contracted COVID-19 are deeply hurtful and may make it harder for people to come forward to be tested.

“The current messages have only highlighted discrimination that has been present for generations. However, our community is a place where people love to congregate and come together as one.”

“New Zealand did not ask for this virus, no one did. There is no shame in getting tested if needed,” he says.

Gadiel says members should connect with their union if they are unsure about their rights at work and getting a test.

“We need to look after our aiga, our whānau, our families. In coming together, we are strong.”

E tū Komiti Pasifika coordinator and campaign organiser Fala Haulangi says the union has a zero-tolerance approach to racism.

“There is no place for discrimination of any kind at E tū. We work to be inclusive of every one of our members and their individual preferences and backgrounds.”

Fala says stronger rights for workers, such as Fair Pay Agreements, being paid a living wage and having 10 sick leave days, are key to creating more equal workplaces and societies.

“The importance of these issues has been highlighted again and again during COVID-19, as many of our members have continued to go to work as essential workers.

“E tū is here to support its members and will continue to advocate for decent jobs with no less than the living wage to ensure the health and wellbeing of workers and their communities.”

On Wednesday 2 September at 6pm, E tū will be holding a Facebook Live Zoom meeting for all Komiti Pasifika and E tū members, with guest speakers from the community, including Dr Api Talemaitoga and Manukau ward councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins.

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Fala Haulangi, 027 204 6332