Category: Communications

Asia Pacific deadliest region for journalists

E tū, the union for journalists says it’s disturbing that the Asia Pacific region has once again been named as the deadliest region for journalists.

The 2018 annual Killed List, released by the International Federation of Journalists and now in its 29th year, records the deaths of 95 journalists and media workers.

A third of deaths were in the Asia Pacific region, where 32 journalists & media workers were killed – 34% of the global total.

It is the second year in a row the region has been named the most dangerous for journalists.

“As the report states, the pursuit of the truth makes journalists unpopular everywhere. In many regions, it’s deadly,” says Paul Tolich, E tū Senior National Industrial Officer.

Paul notes the high death toll in the Philippines, where three journalists died last year – 12 have been killed there since 2016.

The report notes the forces behind the figures, including increasingly polarised views globally, “the rise of dangerous nationalist and populist forces in many countries and the stigmatization of journalists and media by politicians and the enemies of media freedom.”  

“While journalists in this country work in a benign environment, this report is a stark reminder this is not the case for their counterparts in many parts of the world,” says Paul.

“The report is also a testament to the bravery of the many working journalists prepared to risk their lives to shine a light in dark places – despite the risks.”

ENDS

For comment, please contact:

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

The report is available via this link:

https://www.ifj.org/fileadmin/user_upload/IFJ_2018_Killed_Report_FINAL_pages.pdf

E tū critical of Visionstream job cuts

E tū says job cuts affecting 11 technicians who service Chorus’s copper network in Northland may be the start of sweeping changes to the way the network is maintained.

The job cuts were announced today and E tū understands Visionstream, which is contracted by Chorus to run the Northland network is set to replace them with dependent sub-contractors.

“That is the same model used to install Ultra-Fast Broadband, and is closely linked to labour exploitation,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher.

Some 72 sub-contractors face charges related to labour abuses after a sting run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Joe says the Northland job losses will be very hard for the people involved – “they’ve lost quality, full-time permanent jobs.”

He says the union is also gravely concerned that the sub-contracting model used by Visionstream and favoured by Chorus is about to be rolled out across the whole copper network.

“When a company like Chorus decides to cut costs by using contractors like Visionstream, it means no job is safe. Visionstream appears to have no scruples about how its subbies are treated,” he says.

“We know the sub-contracting model has led to major and near universal exploitation.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

National to blame for Kiwibank changes

E tū sympathises with community concerns over the loss of Kiwibank branches – an issue with obvious implications for our Kiwibank and Post members.

Union Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union is working with Kiwibank to minimise job losses as Post ejects Kiwibank from its sites and franchises out postal services.

“Our primary concern is that members are able to transfer within the new structure or to exit with dignity. It’s about minimising job losses,” he says.

However, he says it needs to be recognised that these are changes forced by the previous National Government.

“The National Govt set this pathway five years ago when it changed its Deed of Understanding with NZ Post, allowing it to close post shops, which hosted Kiwibank branches.”

He says he understands why local politicians might react to bank closures on behalf of their constituents, “but it’s a bit rich when one of them is National MP, Nick Smith whose government set this up,” he says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Blue Star workers on strike!

 

E tū members at Blue Star Group’s four print shops are on a 24-hour strike today, which began at 12:01am this morning.

The workers are taking industrial action after months of very little progress in their employment agreement negotiations. Their agreement expired last year.

Blue Star won’t budge on several unreasonable demands, such as wanting the ability to change shifts without the agreement of affected workers.

Communications Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says that’s not good enough.

“Job security and the ability to plan your life around work are key conditions that Blue Star workers both need and deserve,” Joe says.

“There are challenges facing the print sector here and internationally, but that’s no excuse to force workers to accept precarious conditions. So they won’t – and that’s why they are on strike today.

“Employment relationships are a two-way street. Workers wanting continued certainty around their ability to reject shift changes that interfere with their lives is completely reasonable.”

The company is also demanding that workers declare any secondary employment they have, which Joe says is a breach of their right to privacy.

“If a worker needs to pick up a few shifts somewhere else to make ends meet, how is that any of Blue Star’s business? What workers do on their own time shouldn’t factor here.

“Blue Star’s demands clearly demonstrate that their attitude towards their workforce is pretty grim. The company wants all the flexibility and information at their end, without giving a stuff about the workers and their right to organise their own lives.

“Today’s strike action is an escalation after months of failed negotiations, and we are sending a clear message: Come back to the table with reasonable demands, because we won’t stand down.”

ENDS

For more info and comment:
Joe Gallagher, 027 591 0015

Labour Inspectorate Chorus report alarming but not surprising

A report released today by the Labour Inspectorate at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has confirmed how bad the UFB fibre roll-out has been for workers employed by Chorus sub-contractors.

An MBIE investigation into the industry found that 73 of the 75 Auckland-based sub-contractors investigated had breached minimum employment standards. Breaches included employers failing to maintain employment records, pay employees’ minimum wage, pay holiday entitlements, and provide employment agreements.

E tū Communications Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says this is alarming, but not surprising.

“We have known about the effect of this contracting model since they started it,” says Joe.

“This model of contracting and sub-contracting has allowed Chorus to pass the buck, resulting in contractors exploiting their workforce to keep to budgets and schedules.

“It has resulted in terrible outcomes for the affected workers, as well as poor delivery of services in many areas.”

Joe says that Chorus need to shoulder the responsibility.

“Chorus have kept their heads in the sand on this for far too long. They have tried to discredit our union and our members when issues have been raised. They have insisted in the past that issues we have raised were isolated events.

“We now have crystal-clear evidence that the systemic exploitation of vulnerable workers is ‘business as usual’ for Chorus and the whole fibre roll-out operation.”

Joe says that political leadership on this issue is needed now more than ever.

“This fiasco is the result of terrible mismanagement from the last National Government. You might say that the model they oversaw seemed like it was designed for these inevitable results.

“Let’s be honest – if E tū hadn’t urged the Labour Inspectorate to investigate, with support from the current Government, this exploitation may have continued unfettered.

“The Government now has to move as quickly as possible to fix this any many other problems with the UFB roll-out. We are optimistic that this Government understands the issues and wants to fix them, but time is of the essence.”

ENDS

For more info and comment:
Joe Gallagher, 027 591 0015

E tū reaches settlement with Maori TV

JOINT STATEMENT

Māori Television and E tū have reached a settlement that reflects the expectations of both parties.

Māori Television looks forward to working alongside the E tū union in responding to future challenges and opportunities.

ENDS

For more info and comment:

E tū, Joe Gallagher (027) 5910015

Māori Television, Rick Osborne (021) 889 054

Statement on detention of TVNZ’s Barbara Dreaver

E tū stands alongside TVNZ Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver who was detained by police in Nauru earlier this week.

Barbara also had her credentials to cover the Pacific Islands Forum revoked. She was released after a few hours and then had her credentials restored.

Her crime? Doing her job as a journalist. Barbara, a longstanding member of our union, has also long been a committed and dedicated journalist bringing the stories of the Pacific to TVNZ’s audiences. She has reported on the region without fear or favour and brought her expertise, understanding and perspective to her reportage.

She was doing the same in Nauru when she was picked up by police for speaking to a refugee held in Australia’s offshore detention centre.

This is a story of huge public interest to audiences across the world and Barbara did not shy away from tackling it even though it has always been clear authorities in both Nauru and Australia are not keen on a light being shone on the issue.

While Barbara was detained by Nauru police, Australia too must take some responsibility for this attack on press freedom.

Barbara’s mistreatment is a timely reminder that within our close neighbourhood press freedoms we might take for granted in New Zealand are not so easily upheld elsewhere.

We stand in solidarity with journalists throughout the region who struggle to report the stories of the Pacific without the fear of facing authoritarian responses to their reportage.

We also welcome comments from New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters and National’s foreign affairs spokesman Todd McClay denouncing Nauru’s action and expressing how important freedom of the press is to democracy.

Maori TV members strike today

E tū members at Maori TV are on strike as of 6am this morning for 24 hours.

The members will be picketing this morning outside Maori TV’s South Auckland studios from 10 am.

The strike follows the failure of the company to settle members’ Collective Agreement, after talks last Thursday collapsed.

“We were really close on the money offered and we were very close on addressing the humiliation our members feel in the wake of the favourable treatment by Maori TV of its non-union members,” says Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator.

“Maori TV promotes itself on values and treating people with dignity. But the company’s lack of respect for our members is what this dispute is all about,” says Joe.

ENDS

What: Maori TV picket

Where: 433 East Tāmaki Road, East Tāmaki, Auckland

When: 10am 8 August

For further information, contact;

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Strike at Maori TV

Union members at Maori TV will walk off the job for 24 hours on August 8 in protest over the TV channel’s unfair and discriminatory treatment.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the action follows months of delays by MTV in addressing members’ pay claims, with the company telling the union in October that it had no money.

“We were told they were waiting for the board to provide guidance on a new financial management plan and they’d come back with an answer in a couple of week.

“We were supposed to reconvene for talks in November, but we heard nothing by Christmas.

“then we were informed by our members that Maori TV had through performance appraisals had paid non-union staff a bonus before Xmas and a wage adjustment in Jan this year.

We think they’ve undermined the bargaining process by telling us they have no money while giving bonuses and a pay rise to non-union workers.”

And so, our members feel they’ve been discriminated against for being, and belonging to E tū.

Joe says Maori TV has not acted in good faith.

“That despite their claiming to be a values-based organisation, but they don’t seem to live those values, despite the union working to build a good relationship.”

“The direction and behaviour of the management at MTV is seriously lacking for a company and organisation which promotes the values of tikanga.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015