Author: E tū

E tū calls on the PM to do more for equal pay

E tū joins the Council of Trade Unions and others in calling on the Prime Minister to make fixing a gender pay imbalance more of a priority.

Statistics released today reveal that the ‘gender pay gap’ has decreased slightly since last year, demonstrating both some good progress and remaining room for improvement.

Wellington caregiver Marianne Bishop knows that E tū members like herself and Kristine Bartlett winning the Care and Support Pay Equity Settlement has made a lot of difference, but there’s more work to do.

“Our equal pay win has helped us progress, but now we need the government to fix the Equal Pay Act so that it’s easier for other claims to be processed,” Marianne says.

“We need to reduce the gap even further, and we need everyone working together to make this happen.” 

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that the Prime Minister has been a great supporter of the equal pay campaign for years and now can make a huge difference.

“It’s been great to have to support of the Prime Minister and the coalition government parties at many crucial points in our fight for equal pay,” Annie says.

“We now need to see her take that to the next step, by making a personal commitment to fixing the problematic Equal Pay Amendment Bill.”

ENDS

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

Unions are calling on Kiwis to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, which outlines what needs to happen from here: http://www.together.org.nz/jacinda-you-can

1) The law shouldn’t delay access to the courts when bargaining doesn’t go well.

2) The law should give more support to sector-wide equal pay settlements, compared to settlements that go employer-by-employer.

3) The law needs to follow existing rules about collective bargaining – not add new ones.

4) The law should support a process where equal pay settlements can be checked to make sure they are up to scratch.

5) The law shouldn’t make women who already have equal pay claims in progress go back to the beginning and start again.  

IDEA Services stop-work meetings

Dear IDEA members,

Three days of formal hearings in the Employment Relations Authority concluded on Wednesday and we are now awaiting the formal recommendation of the Authority. The hearing was only granted because of your strike action. So well done!

However, no progress was made on our claim for weekend and SSW rates and the employer is still pushing ‘flexibility’. The good news is your strike action and the three day hearing did result in IDEA  backing down on their attempt to gut the health and safety clause and stop their cutting your rights around service reviews. We expect the Authority recommendation early August. This will be considered, along with more strike action at a national series of paid stop-work meetings in August.

Click here to view the meeting schedule.

Free Auckland measles immunisation clinic 20 July

Free measles immunisation clinic, for people who don’t know or who haven’t been vaccinated against measles before.

Clinic details:

Date: Saturday 20th July

Time: 9.00am to 3.30pm

Venue: Waitakere Union Health Centre, in Waitakere Hospital grounds, Lincoln Road, Henderson

Parking: on site, free

Registration (preferred but not essential):  https://whoozin.com/GH4-TRQ-W7T3-KRAQ

There is a Measles outbreak in Auckland with more than 185 cases since February. Don’t be a victim of this highly infectious illness which can be very serious. If you, or anyone in your whanau, aged between 1 – 49 years and have not had one MMR vaccination, come get one FREE.

If you think you have measles, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

This free community health initiative is provided by Primary Health Organisations: Comprehensive Care, National Hauora Coalition, ProCare.

Links to measles information:

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS): http://www.arphs.health.nz/public-health-topics/disease-and-illness/measles/

ARPHS Quick guide to measles: http://www.arphs.health.nz/assets/Uploads/Resources/Disease-and-illness/Measles-Mumps-Rubella/Quick-guide-to-measles-20190619.pdf

Ministry of Health: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles and https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information

NZI misses the blindingly obvious

E tū is annoyed by the deliberate misrepresentation of collective bargaining in relation to Fair Pay Agreements by the New Zealand Initiative (NZI), in a report they released today.

The report purports to make the case against the findings of the Fair Pay Agreements Working Group, which was a group of union and business representatives, academics and experts, chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger.

However, as meticulously detailed by the Council of Trade Unions, NZI has cherry-picked claims, ignored crucial evidence, and has not contributed constructively to the discussion on the issue.

E tū National Director of Campaigns Annie Newman said that NZI had completely ignored the main issue.

“Tens of thousands of working New Zealanders are living in poverty, working in industries where tendering processes mean a race to the bottom on wages,” Annie says.

“Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards to make sure that paying people poorly is not the way to be competitive. It really is as simple as that.”

Annie pointed to the recent Care and Support (Pay Equity) Settlement Agreement, which won equal pay for everyone in the industry.

“Carers in New Zealand won equal pay through an industry-wide agreement, similar to a Fair Pay Agreement. It was negotiated by unions, businesses, and government, and has lifted over 50,000 people off poverty wages.

“The facts are on our side – even the OECD now officially acknowledges the importance of collective bargaining. International evidence is clear that countries with mechanisms for industry-wide bargaining have better social and economic outcomes.

“However, even when proper analysis is in our favour, the most important thing for E tū members is that they are lifted out of poverty. That means proper wages and conditions, which is exactly what Fair Pay Agreements are all about.”

Annie says that people shouldn’t be tricked into thinking the debate is about different interpretations of economic analysis.

“Our priority areas for Fair Pay Agreements are cleaning and security, where it is blindingly obvious that we need better wages and conditions. Any argument against that, especially one that offers no meaningful solutions, doesn’t deserve the attention of New Zealand workers.”

ENDS

Media enquires: Sam Gribben, 027 204 6329

E tū & Chorus contractors discuss contract cuts

E tū union met today with Visionstream and UCG contractors to discuss big cuts by Chorus to payments for maintenance work on its copper and fibre network north of Auckland.

The changes affect the codes which determine what the contractors are paid, and these have been slashed by almost a third, says E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher.

“The contractors were presented with new contracts and told to sign. The rates that determine their pay are set to drop by 30 percent, and they’re not happy,” he says.

“The new contracts also require they are available for work but there is no guarantee they’ll get any.”

Joe says the contractors are already struggling with rising costs and issues with mental health because of the pressures they face.

“All the costs and risks sit with them but many lack the capital to ride out a lean patch.”

Joe says Chorus committed to improving conditions for its contractors and subcontractors after an investigation found many were in breach of minimum employment standards.

He says in the wake of the investigation, Chorus did its own report, which recommended changes to ease pressure on its contractors, but “that’s not what’s happening here”.

“This latest move flies in the face of Chorus’s commitment to ensure the contractors receive a sustainable income.”

Joe says the meeting, which was hosted by the Telecom Contractors Association of New Zealand (TCANZ) discussed how the contractors and the union can work together to achieve better outcomes.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Auckland: free measles immunisation clinic, 29 June

There is a measles outbreak in Auckland, with more than 126 confirmed cases this year. Don’t be a victim of this highly infectious illness which can be very serious. If you or anyone in your whanau is aged between 1 – 49 years and has not had one MMR vaccination, come get one FREE.

If you think you have measles, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

  • Date: Saturday 29 June
  • Time: 9.00am to 3.00pm
  • Venue: Waitakere Union Health Centre, Waitakere Hospital grounds, Lincoln Road, Henderson
  • Parking: on site, free
  • Registration (preferred but not essential): https://whoozin.com/FQH-73A-AHAE-9MG3

This free community health initiative is provided by Primary Health Organisations: Comprehensive Care, National Hauora Coalition, ProCare.

Links to measles information:

ERA win opens new ground for IDEA, pay rise on the way

A series of strikes by E tū members employed by IDEA Services has been critical evidence in persuading the Employment Relations Authority to accept a union application for facilitated bargaining.

The Authority ruled that seven escalating strike actions were “likely to affect the public interest” and impact on IDEA clients. That was enough for them to direct IDEA to sit down and talk.

E tū advocate Alastair Duncan says the union welcoms the decision but was disappointed that IDEA had turned down earlier attempts at facilitation, leaving staff with little option but to take industrial action.

“Now we have a decision from the Authority that cannot be ignored.  After months of stubbornness, we hope IDEA will come back to the negotiating table willing to address very real staff concerns around staffing, safety and job security.

“To date, IDEA has been unresponsive to union attempts to find a middle ground and we hope that a move into a more formal setting will assist.

“IDEA is the operation arm of IHC, which is a multimillion-dollar business dependant on public funding and public good will. We hope IDEA will now stop trying to cut the rights of the workforce.”

Meanwhile, IDEA care and support worker workers will be getting pay rises of between 50 cents and $1 an hour as a result of the ground breaking equal pay win.

“IDEA tried to undermine vocational staff when we won the case, but the good news is that every care worker at IDEA gets a pay rise from 1 July,” Alastair says.

E tū will be holding paid membership meetings in August to report progress.

E tū welcomes BERL Fair Pay Agreement report

E tū has welcomed the BERL independent report emphasising the role of Fair Pay Agreements in making lives better for Kiwi workers.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says the findings aren’t a surprise, as New Zealand is in the minority of OECD countries that don’t have industry bargaining in the private sector, contributing to our poor record on poverty and inequality.

“The countries with the highest standards of living invariably have national or sector bargaining that ensures decent living standards. We do not.

“Fair Pay Agreements are well overdue in Aotearoa New Zealand, as workers have suffered from inadequate laws.”

Annie says that cleaning and security are two industries in real need of sector-wide bargaining.

“One of the main problems in security and cleaning is the contracting model, which sees companies in a race to the bottom with wages and conditions.

“Some of the biggest companies have told us they’d really like to pay better wages but can’t afford it as they’ll be undercut by exploitative employers. Fair Pay Agreements can be a solution to that.”

E tū members spoke at the launch of the BERL report this morning, and the union is getting ready for a big push for Fair Pay Agreements.

“We’ve been campaigning for this since before the last election, and we were very excited to see Fair Pay Agreements in Labour policy,” Annie says.

“Now’s the time to see some action – low paid workers have waited long enough.”

IDEA strike on Sunday: info for members

Dear IDEA members,

Despite another full day of mediation on Thursday 20 June, IDEA failed to make an offer to settle your collective so Sunday’s strike starting at 9.00 am and continuing for 24 hours is on.

On Tuesday 25 June we’re going to the Employment Relations Authority to argue the case that IDEA has breached the law and to see a formal “facilitation”. Your strike action is a key part of winning that hearing as it is one of the criteria that can force a decision.

We expect IDEA to try and undercut that process by making a late offer over the weekend. We are pretty sure they will continue to push their attempt to make you even more “flexible” and are confident any offer will NOT address the need to value Senior Support staff or restore the weekend rates they took off staff many  years ago. 

At the mediation it did seem they might be ready to back down on their attempt to cut the health and safety rights at work. We put that down to the action and support shown by members to date. So don’t stop now.

Click here for details about your local picket.

Full membership meetings are being planned for July, so keep an eye out for those details which will be sent to you and published on the website.