Category: Communications

E tū condemns arrest of journalists in Fiji

E tū welcomes the release of three Newsroom journalists who were arrested in Fiji but says they should never have been detained in the first place.

Newsroom co-editor Mark Jennings, Investigations editor Melanie Reid, and cameraman Hayden Aull were detained and held overnight at the main Suva police station after developer Freesoul Real Estate accused them of criminal trespass.

The journalists were released this morning and the Fijian PM, Frank Bainimarama has apologised.

E tū’s Senior National Industrial Officer, Paul Tolich says the union welcomes the release of the journalists but says they should never have been arrested in the first place.

“The journalists were simply engaged in journalistic inquiries about the impact of development on Malolo Island and the actions of the police are another example of Fiji’s intolerance towards a free and independent press,” says Paul.

“Despite the apology from Fiji’s Prime Minister, this will have a chilling effect on journalism in the Pacific,” he says.  

“Journalists need to be able to challenge the powerful and hold them to account. This is the hallmark of a free and democratic society.

“We urge the Fijian government to support independent journalism rather than maintaining a climate which supports those who would seek to suppress it.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595

Fuji Xerox members strike a fourth time

Members at Fuji Xerox offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are into their second straight day of strike action today.

It’s their fourth full-day stoppage as they fight for backpay on Fuji Xerox’s 2% pay offer.

“If they don’t get the back pay, it means these workers will have had a wage freeze for a year, so they’re committed to this fight,” says Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator.

The members will be picketing in Auckland outside Fuji Xerox’s office on Carlton Gore Road until 2pm.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph.027 591 0015

Strike three for Fuji Xerox members

Workers at Fuji Xerox have walked off the job for a third time this morning in an escalating dispute over the company’s absolute refusal to pay backpay on a 2% pay offer.

In Auckland, the members went out on strike at 8.30am and will be out until 4.30pm today.

In Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, members are striking from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

“If they don’t get the back pay, it means these workers will have had a wage freeze for a year,” says Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator.

“At the same time, they are being asked to work smarter, harder and longer for no reward,” he says.

Joe says the members have responded by voting overwhelmingly for this latest action.

“The cost of the backpay is less than $100,000 and our members are committed to a fair outcome for all of them. They are determined to get what they believe they deserve, and what they are worth,” says Joe.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Second strike tomorrow at Fuji Xerox

E tū members at Fuji Xerox have voted to strike for a second day following a successful day of action today.

The 50 members in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin will walk off the job again tomorrow from 7.30am to 4.30pm.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the members have chosen this afternoon to escalate the strike.

The members are in dispute with Fuji Xerox in the wake of a 2% pay offer, which the company refuses to back-date to the expiry of their collective agreement in August last year.

The members also want recognition of their skills in line with recent assessments they’ve had, “but that’s been held back,” says Joe.

“The company has confirmed its parsimonious offer to our members in its own statement in response to today’s strike,” he says.

“It has also confirmed it won’t backdate any offer which would mean a year with no pay rise at all,  which is unacceptable.”

Joe says the union also refutes claims made by Fuji Xerox in respect to any pass-on to non-union members of any final pay deal negotiated by its members.

“The company is under the impression it can do as it pleases but it clearly doesn’t know the law on the matter. It doesn’t have carte blanche to just pass on to non-union workers what our members win for themselves,” says Joe.

“We’re deeply concerned with the company’s lack of understanding around the laws related to no pass-on. We need Fuji Xerox to acknowledge that they have to commit to a process for negotiating with non-union members.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

Strike at Fuji Xerox

E tū members at Fuji Xerox offices around the country will take strike action today (Monday, 25 February) in support of a decent pay offer.

The strike will affect the company’s four sites in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with members walking off the job from 8.30am until 4.30pm.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the members voted overwhelmingly to strike at meetings last week, after the company’s failure to resolve pay issues, including discriminatory treatment against union members.

“Our members are very angry,” says Joe.

“First, the company actually lifted wages to stop people being poached by its competitors. But while one group of union members got the increase, another group in Auckland got nothing. To add fuel to the fire, while the union negotiated the pay rise, non-union members also received it.”

Joe says talks since August last year have failed to resolve matters.

“Our people who missed out want that money and they’re determined to fight to get it,” he says.

Joe says members are also unhappy about the company’s 2% pay offer, with no backpay, despite their collective agreement expiring in July last year.

“This is a multi-national company that has been mismanaged over the past few years and there have been job losses affecting our members,” says Joe.

“Those who remain are working harder, smarter and longer and they want fair recompense.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

Workers will be picketing Monday 25 February at the Auckland premises of Fuji Xerox.

Where: 79 Carlton Gore Road, Newmarket

When: 10am-midday

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