Category: Communications

NZ Post update 16 April 2020

Bargaining update

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.

Temperature checking

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:

  1. That people sent home with a high temperature would be on special paid leave
  2. That the person carrying out the check would be competent
  3. That testing is voluntary for NZ Post direct employees
  4. 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.

Wage subsidy

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.

Worksafe

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:

  1. are employed under the Operations schedule; and
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. their current continuous service is broken or was broken on or after 26 June 2016; or
  2. 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.  

New Zealand Post update

Lockdown payment

There have been many reports of companies such as Countdown paying a bonus to all essential workers who have continued to work through the lockdown. We have proposed to your employer a similar scheme for all NZ Post union members who work over this time. Watch this space, we’ll update you with progress.

Your safety at work

E tū has been in daily contact with the company about how they are managing health and safety during this lockdown. We have worked with the company to ensure that all essential workers are kept safe and provided with adequate PPE. This is the primary concern raised by most union members.

Below is of what Post promise will be provided at all sites:

ALL SITES (PRINTING, PROCESSING, CONTRACT LOGISTICS AND SERVICE DELIVERY) MUST HAVE:

  • Daily site cleaning provided by external cleaning suppliers at most sites. 

Note: There will be a small number of remote sites where we don’t have external cleaner providers and local leaders will need to implement their own alternative arrangements.  The risk profile at some smaller sites (eg. less number of people on site during the day, coupled with other controls) may also mean full daily cleaning is not necessary.  Each site will be assessed and risk based approach to cleaning protocols applied.

  • All basic sanitary items – soap (liquid or bar), toilet paper, paper towels for hand drying.  This remains the most effective personal hygiene approach.  Site based bottles or dispensers of hand sanitizer (alcohol or non-alcohol) are additional to this or could be a short term substitute.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be prioritised for delivery people who cannot easily access other hand washing facilities.
  • Access to toilets.
  • Surface (desks, counters, tables, kitchens, etc) cleaning products for wiping down in between externally provided cleaning.  These could include easily purchased disinfectant spray and wipe type products from local supermarkets.
  • Alcohol-wipes (or substitute) for shared equipment used by the same person during a shift – eg. Scanners, forklifts, Paxsters, etc.  Substitutes could include meths and disposable wipes or other disinfectant spray and disposable wipes.  Give the extremely low risk profile of other items such as barrow, roles cages, etc, the other controls (particularly regular hand washing and not touching your face) will minimise any risk.  Sites will discuss and determine which shared items are to be wiped down.
  • 2 mtr social distancing practices and monitor these are being applied.
  • Leaders making sure that all team members are well – ie. Regularly reminding them not to come to work if they are sick and intervening if anyone comes to work appearing unwell.  Leaders also need to ensure any vulnerable people, or primary carers of vulnerable people who live in the same house, are not coming into work.

ALL SERVICE DELIVERY SITES MUST ALSO HAVE:

  • Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer for delivery people (or substitute).  Short term substitutes could include, non-alcohol-based hand sanitizer, small bottle of liquid soap and bottle of water for rinsing and paper towels for drying, or baby wipes.

They have also stated: If mandatory requirements (or agreed substitutes) are not in place, then people should not be working.

What is printed above is an excerpt from a full paper provided by the company called “COVID-19 – Personal Protective Equipment and Services”. Ask your team leader for a copy.

Leave provisions

E tū has been continually advocating for our members who are unable to attend work for health or childcare reasons. We have asked the company to apply for any subsidies available on your behalf, and we have clearly stated what should be available for members who may not be able to attend work at the present time.

A comprehensive table has been produced by the company showing what is available to all workers. This has been sent to all delegates, and all team leaders should have a copy.

Key situations include:

In isolation due to: Leave type and process
 Being a vulnerable person (as defined by MoH criteria) Working from home if the job allows, or special paid leave (reviewed every 14 days).
Absence of essential worker due to childcare needs   The team leader will work with our member to determine whether there is an alternative carer within the household or if a “trust buddy” can be used. Where there are no other options for childcare, a leader may allow the employee to take special paid leave.  
Absence due to living with a person classed as vulnerable.   NZ Post’s medical advice is if they are taking all appropriate steps to protect employees from COVID-19, then the risk of bringing it home to a vulnerable person is low. However, some employees will live with people who are especially vulnerable, and they will address these examples on a case by case basis; special paid leave may be available.

Again, each site should have a full copy of this paper titled “COVID-19 – Managing Leave”. Ask your team leader for a copy.

Bargaining

E tū, PWUA and NZ Post will be working through the draft terms of settlement and other documents via videoconference on Thursday 2 April.

Following feedback from the E tū national delegate team and discussions between both unions, it has been agreed that ratification will be postponed temporarily. We will evaluate the situation regularly over the coming weeks and decide as soon as possible about how and when to proceed. All agreed increases will still be backdated to 1 April 2020.

NZ Post bargaining update – 12 March 2020

E tū, PWUA and NZ Post met for three days of bargaining over 10,11 and 12 March.

There were over 90 claims combined between the three parties and over 50 people in the room so it is a large and complex bargaining process.

Amongst many important claims, the major claims for E tū were around wages, location of work and movement between sites, and a fair deal for PPM posties if PPM is taken away. These claims remain unresolved and we are not satisfied with the company’s position nor offers on these matters.

There was some provisional agreement on smaller claims of ours including parity for goldplated Courier Post members, a review of bereavement leave wording, a review of annual leave policies and when it can be taken, paid breaks for SDCs. There were also some positive discussions around forklift rates but they are not yet resolved.

Post has the largest number of claims. Some of these were considered clawbacks the by the unions, and we resisted them strongly. We agreed to some claims of the company’s that were simple wording fixes or the removal of unnecessary clauses.

E tū and PWUA worked strongly together to advance the interests of all union members regardless of which union they belong to.

We are meeting again on 18 and 19 March.

PLEASE NOTE: WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMPANY IS CURRENTLY SENDING OUT UPDATE TO ALL MANAGERS AND TEAM LEADERS. THIS UPDATE IS THE COMPANY’S UPDATE ONLY AND DOES NOT REFLECT E TŪ’S POSITION ON ALL MATTERS.

Events: The Future of Journalism and Media

Our events with Jacqueline Park are happening next week in Auckland and Wellington.

Jacqui is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Media Transition, University of Technology, Sydney, and will speak on her report on media innovation in New Zealand and Australia. Both events will also explore the role of public media.

Jacqui’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion at both events, featuring top media players for what we hope will be a lively exploration of issues and challenges confronting the Fourth Estate, as well as the latest media innovations in Australasia. Audience participation is welcome!

Details are below:

In Auckland:
When: Thursday, 5 March, 5pm for a 5.30pm start – 7pm.Venue: Foyer, NZME, 2 Graham Street (off Victoria Street) Auckland

The panel will be chaired by Brent Edwards, the Political Editor of NBR and will include Spinoff founder, Duncan Grieve, Rick Neville, the Editorial Director of the Newspaper Publishers Association, Miryana Alexander, Head of Premium NZME, and Chris Warren, former Federal Secretary of the Media Entertainment Alliance of Australia.

In Wellington:
Venue: Beehive Theatrette
When: Friday, 6 March 3pm-5pm

The event will be hosted by Broadcasting Minister, Kris Faafoi. The panel includes Chair Chris Warrant as well as Bernard Hickey from Newsroom and Kim Griggs from RNZ. 

If you can make either of these exciting events, we’d love to see you there!

NB: if you plan to attend the Wellington event you will need to provide you name to parliament at least two days beforehand for security purposes. You can do this by emailing Brent Edwards with your details: [email protected]

Names in by Tuesday 3 March please.

E tū: NZ First photographs deeply worrying

14 February 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

E tū: NZ First photographs deeply worrying

The journalists’ union, E tū is seeking an assurance from New Zealand First on behalf of its journalist members, that it is not involved in tracking journalists as they go about their work.

Reports that coalition member New Zealand First took photographs of Stuff journalist Matt Shand and RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner meeting former New Zealand First president Lester Gray in Tauranga are deeply worrying.

Paul Tolich, E tū Senior National Industrial Officer says the union is not reassured by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters’ initial response that “we took the photographs just to prove that’s the behaviour going on”, nor his subsequent claim that one of the party’s supporters took the photograph.

“Mr Peters and his party might be unhappy with the reporting of the party’s fundraising, but journalism’s role is to hold those in power to account without fear or favour,” says Paul.

“The work of Mr Shand and Mr Espiner is a good example of that.

“The sort of tactics undertaken by New Zealand First in photographing the journalists and then having the photograph posted on a right-wing political blog is chillingly similar to other examples of attacks on journalists as they go about their work in countries where the freedom of journalists is suppressed.

“Mr Peters needs to apologise to the journalists and give a categorical assurance nothing like this will happen again.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Senior Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595

NZ Post: claims and bargaining info

The E tū NZ Post collective agreement is up for renewal at the end of February and all E tū members at NZ Post are encouraged to have their say by participating in the claims process. To enable the best level of participation we are holding meetings in person, contacting members via telephone, calling for claims through delegates, and providing information online. The process will vary from site to site, but anyone with questions is encouraged to ring E tū Support on 0800 1 UNION (0800 186 466) to speak to an organiser.

A list of key claims has been drafted by the E tū national delegate team and we are seeking their endorsement. Additional claims can be raised and these will be assessed by the national delegate team before bargaining.

Bargaining is scheduled for the following dates:

  • 27 February
  • 28 February
  • 10 March
  • 11 March
  • 12 March
  • 18 March
  • 19 March

Important documents

Key claims list

These are the key claims, as well as the ratification rate (50% of all members + 1) and the names of the full E tū bargaining team.

E tū NZ Post Collective Agreement

E tū decent work survey

Achieving ‘decent work’ for our members is one of the core aspirations of the union. This concept is also an aspiration of other groups such as the United Nations, the Human Rights Commission and the CTU, and includes good wages, safe workplaces, secure jobs, sustainability and more. We want to know what decent work means for our members at NZ Post and so we are requesting that all members fill out our online decent work survey.


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

E tū welcomes Local Democracy Reporter scheme

E tū, the union for journalists, has welcomed the announcement today of a $1million pilot scheme to improve local news reporting.

The scheme, dubbed the Local Democracy Reporting Service, will see 8 journalists hired to report on publicly funded bodies such as councils, council committees, community boards, District Health Boards, council-owned enterprises, local trusts, and ports.

The scheme is an initiative of the Newspaper Publishers Association, together with RNZ and the government through the RNZ/NZ on Air Innovation Fund.

E tū Senior National Industrial Officer, Paul Tolich says it’s no secret that reporting on local issues has deteriorated sharply in recent years, as the number of journalists in newsrooms has declined.

“Local bodies and other publicly funded entities are responsible for billions of dollars in public funds and they must be accountable to the public. But as newsrooms have shrunk, there has been less scrutiny than ever of the politicians and officials who manage these often very substantial businesses,” says Paul.

“This scheme will help keep them accountable by ensuring greater scrutiny from the Fourth Estate.”

Paul says the union is also encouraged to see support across the media for the initiative.

“The reporters will be based in newspaper newsrooms, but they will be supplying stories to a wide range of other media.  It’s a great example of cooperation over an issue that has raised concerns across the industry.”

Paul also paid tribute to the government which set up the $6 million RNZ/NZ on Air Innovation Fund which is funding the1-year pilot.

“The fund was set up to support media content which is under-served and that’s certainly the case with our publicly elected and funded organisations. So, this is money that’s been wisely spent.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Senior Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595

Chorus Downer decision welcome

E tū welcomes today’s announcement by Chorus that Downer has secured the maintenance contracts for Chorus’s copper and fibre network outside Auckland and Northland.

Downer’s win comes at the expense of contracting company, Broadspectrum which formerly shared the work, but has now lost its contracts.  

“Downer is a highly experienced infrastructure company and the decision is reassuring in terms of the quality of maintenance work we can expect on the network,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher.

However, he says the decision will affect about 450 Broadspectrum workers who are now without a job.

“A major contractor has lost its work which will mean major upheaval. People will have to reapply for jobs. We’ll be working with Broadspectrum and Downer to facilitate that process. Downer is a large company so there’s a lot of opportunity,” says Joe.

Meanwhile, he says the union is very disappointed that Chorus contractor, Visionstream has had its network maintenance contracts reconfirmed in Auckland and Northland.

“This is extremely disappointing given the findings of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment investigation around Visionstream’s employment practices,” says Joe.

“This can only be seen as Chorus’s way of telling the Government to mind its own business.

“These networks are critical infrastructure and in our biggest city, its care remains with a company that has been shown to support a sub-contracting model which has led to exploitation and breaches of basic labour standards.

“We will continue to monitor Visionstream’s compliance with employment standards and support any workers who need our assistance in Auckland and Northland,” he says.

ENDS

For more information, contact;

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015