E tū and PWUA officials have met by videoconference to finalise the terms of settlement for bargaining. We are planning to meet with the company again on Thursday 16 April.
Once the settlement is signed, we will contact our delegates to discuss ratification options. We are still waiting to see what kind of restrictions will be in place after/if the initial 4 week lockdown is finished. Once we all understand what we can and can’t do, we will be able to work out how to vote on the agreement in a way that is fair to all members.
The company has approached us with a proposal to undergo temperature checks for people coming and going from NZ Post sites. This is to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. In principle we agreed with this proposal on the following grounds:
- That people sent home with a high temperature would be on special paid leave
- That the person carrying out the check would be competent
- That testing is voluntary for NZ Post direct employees
- That no-one is disadvantaged by the process
We are satisfied that these conditions have been met and Post would like to begin trials at the Porana Rd delivery site and Contract Logistics in Auckland. These will be reviewed, with feedback from the membership guiding any further implementation or changes needed.
It is important to note that temperature checking is not a perfectly accurate way of determining whether someone has COVID-19. It is just an extra precaution on top of all the other health and safety measures that everyone should be following to keep themselves and others safe.
NZ Post has confirmed that they intend to apply for the government wage subsidy to help pay workers during the lockdown and subsequent periods of restriction.
This will not affect the pay agreements already in place, nothing will change for you (your tax won’t change either).
But Post does need your permission to apply on your behalf, and we would encourage our members to allow the company to do this. The information they pass on to the Ministry of Social Development is no different to that already passed on to ACC and IRD on your behalf, but they need your permission to do this.
We understand they have put out a communication about this and that your team leader will approach you about seeking your permission for this process.
Essential worker payment
We have had discussions with the company regarding an essential worker payment to recognise those who are continuing to work during the lockdown period. We have been told that extra remuneration is unlikely considering the company’s current COVID-related downturn, but we are continuing talks and also contemplating alternative forms of reward.
Temporary site changes
This was an issue that was raised before bargaining and seems to be ongoing due to the current situation. E tū had bargaining claims regarding any future movements of staff between sites but we could not reach an agreement during negotiations. We did agree though to work on a long term solution that would benefit our members.
In the meantime, we agreed that the following interim agreement would be printed in the letters of settlement:
- This is a voluntary arrangement.
- The Union will be advised before the Company seeks volunteers
- The employee’s current terms and conditions of employment will remain unchanged.
- The Management of Change provisions under Section F of the Collective Employment Agreement will not apply to this temporary arrangement but will continue to apply generally, for example the employee’s entitlement to any redundancy compensation remains unaffected in the event of permanent changes to their role in the future.
These principles will apply to any voluntary moves that may be offered by the company from now until a permanent solution is reached.
We understand that a worker at NZ Post has contacted Worksafe to highlight non-essential product being processed by the company. The company has told us that Worksafe is satisfied regarding this matter. They say that they have an obligation to process everything that is lodged in the system, and they have also told us that they have spoken to their business customers and informed them not to send any non-essential mail.
Before closing their inquiry though, Worksafe have asked to speak to some Health and Safety reps to discuss practices on site. We have nominated JD Rawiri, Lana Leota and Corey Howland to speak to Worksafe to discuss on site safety.
Paid meal breaks
The union has just signed an agreement regarding paid 30 minute meal breaks for current operations employees who were entitled to a paid meal break as at 26 June 2016 but have subsequently lost them due to changes in role. There are specific workers who may now be entitled to receive a paid meal break again as a result of this agreement.
The criteria are workers who:
- are employed under the Operations schedule; and
- were employed by New Zealand Post under the collective agreement before 26 June 2016 (for the avoidance of doubt, they do not need to have been employed since 26 June 2016 under the Operations occupational schedule in particular); and
- as at 26 June 2016 had an entitlement to a paid 30-minute meal break (for the avoidance of doubt, and without limiting examples, that includes Operations employees who would have been entitled to a 30-minute paid meal break but did not use the entitlement because they worked fewer than 5 hours, and employees who worked outside of Operations who were entitled to a 30-minute paid meal break as at 26 June 2016, but does not include ex-ECL employees who did not have a paid meal break).
The employees covered by the clause will lose their entitlement to the paid break if:
- their current continuous service is broken or was broken on or after 26 June 2016; or
- they move or have moved to a position outside of the Operations schedule, where a 30-minute paid meal break does not apply.
The company will also be making an ex-gratia payment to the eligible workers:
- at 30 minutes for every day worked;
- plus 30 minutes for every day that would ‘otherwise be a working day’ and on which the affected employee took paid leave, and would have been entitled to the paid break had they worked;
- from the date on which the affected employee lost their paid 30-minute meal break; and
- at the employee’s current remuneration rate under the collective agreement.
Essential worker leave
One of our delegates has raised that the criteria for vulnerable people on the NZ Post form is slightly different to what is outlined on the Ministry of Health website. It is our belief that the Ministry of Health website overrides the company’s criteria. Anyone who is having issues receiving special leave for these reasons should talk to their union delegate.