Category: General

COVID-19: Air NZ cannot afford to lose valuable staff

E tū is urging Air New Zealand and all aviation employers to minimise job losses as the company announces they estimate 30% workers will be made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E tū, the largest aviation union in New Zealand with 5,200 at Air New Zealand, is holding urgent delegate meetings across the workforce to discuss the company’s announcement.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh says that mass redundancies will not be in the company’s long-term interest.

“Air New Zealand knows that their dedicated workers are the backbone of their operation. Our challenge to them is to hold fast to their commitment to high-wage, high-skill employment,” Rachel says.

“They have a choice in how they respond to this crisis and we call on them to work with people in our unions to find a way through that builds a future of decent work, skill development and a strong voice for the experts – the people who do the work.”

Rachel says that it’s not just aviation workers who will be affected by immediate economic impact of the pandemic.

“This is the start of a much larger challenge that all Kiwis will need to face together. Air New Zealand has an opportunity to lead by example and pull out all stops to keep workers employed in good jobs.

“As the largest private sector union in New Zealand, with over 54,000 members, we represent people across the many industries that will be affected by the economic effects of COVID-19.

“People working in hospitality and tourism will clearly feel knock-on effects from the border restrictions. Our members in healthcare, including aged care and hospital workers, are understandably worried about the months ahead.”

E tū is expecting the Government’s economic package announced tomorrow to minimise the impact of the economic downturn on workers in aviation and beyond as much as possible.

“Working people simply cannot bear the brunt of the incoming economic fallout. Our Government’s intervention must go as far as it possibly can to guarantee income for everyone affected.”

ENDS

For more info and comment:
Rachel Mackintosh, 027 543 7943

E tū is deferring our Delegate Forums due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

You will all be aware of the fast-developing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. The Government has announced tight measures to contain the virus as long as possible before community-transmission takes hold.  We are playing our part in the public health response.

E tū is deferring our Delegate Forums that were going to be held during April until further notice.

Please advise your employer now that leave to attend your Delegate Forum is no longer required.

Delegate Forum remits and representation to our July 2020 E tū Conference
 
Our Delegate Forums include two important constitutional functions:

  • Delegate Forums can put remits to the E tū Biennial Conference scheduled for July 2020.
  • Delegate Forums elect representatives to attend Conference.

Over the next few days, we will be emailing you to call for remits and nominations for Conference representation.
 
Conference remits
 
Over the coming days, we will send you an email calling for any remits that you may want to have discussed at Conference.
 
Any remits that are sent back to us will be tracked to the relevant Delegate Forum that they are linked to.  Remember that under our rules our National Executive will be making recommendations to conference in relation to remits received.
 
Conference representatives
 
We will also email you to call for nominations from among delegates to represent their Delegate Forum at our Conference.
 
We will receive those nominations, including the required nominator and seconder, and track them to the Delegate Forum they are linked to.  Nominations must have a brief supporting biography.
 
We will then run an online voting process sending nominations and biographies to delegates linked to relevant Delegate Forums and receiving their online vote response.
 
Our Returning Officer, Christopher Gordon, has already been endorsed by our National Executive and can oversee the voting process.
 
There is no need to do anything now – we will email you separately on these matters over the coming days.
 
Thank you.
 
Bill Newson
E tū National Secretary

COVID-19 (coronavirus) info for E tū members

In brief:

  • You should not be going to work if you get sick.
  • Your employer can’t make you take unpaid leave for directed leave (such as preventative self-isolation after potential exposure to the virus).
  • E tū will advocate with your employer to make sure you are not unnecessarily out of pocket.

All workers who have potential coronavirus symptoms or who may have been in contact with anyone who may have coronavirus are being asked by the Government to register with Healthline and undertake self-isolation for 14 days as a precaution to help stop the spread of the virus.

Self-isolation means staying away from others, which obviously prohibits attending the workplace in most cases.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers have a duty to eliminate or minimise risks and hazards to their workers and any others who may come to the workplace. This means they should not require an employee to come to work if they are required to be in self-isolation.
 
Where staff are in isolation, we argue that the appropriate course of action for employers is to continue to pay them as normal.

It would not be appropriate for an employer to require an employee to take annual leave or unpaid leave where they are in isolation for legitimate health and safety reasons.

In our view, requiring employees to use sick leave entitlement would be unfair as ‘self-isolation for 14 days’ consumes most sick leave entitlement for a whole year.

It may be possible for an employee to work from home and this should be explored.

Employers are obliged to operate in good faith in their employment relationships.  Isolation due to coronavirus is an extenuating individual circumstance and we ask employers to recognise that by allowing the 14 days isolation period on normal pay. 

Further, if an employer directs and employee to not attend work when they are fit and able for work then the employer must pay them for that time away from work.

Bill Newson
National Secretary

Rest in peace, Mike Moore

E tū acknowledges the passing of Former Prime Minister Mike Moore.

E tū National Secretary Bill Newson says that Mike’s contribution to New Zealand politics can be remembered for him taking the lead while facing adversity.

“He stepped up for the New Zealand Labour Party when times were really tough,” Bill says.

“Mike’s period of leadership was an important part of the party’s ability to begin to rebuild during some turbulent times in New Zealand’s recent political history.”

“Mike was also a life member of the Printers’ Union, one of E tū’s legacy unions. He was an active trade unionist from a young age and understood the importance of workers being represented in politics.”

“E tū would like to pass on sincere condolences to Mike’s family and loved ones.”

Another much-needed minimum wage increase

The Government are continuing their commitment to raise wages for Kiwis with the announcement that the statutory minimum wage will go up to $18.90 in April 2020.

The increase of $1.20 is equal to this year’s increase, which was the biggest increase in the adult minimum wage in dollar terms in New Zealand’s history.

Auckland security guard Lavinia Kafoa is thrilled with the news.

“It really sounds great to me. As a single mother, every bit of extra income makes a lot of difference,” Lavinia says.

“For my family, being on minimum wage means I spend many more hours at work than with my boys at home. I explain to them that mum has to work more hours to earn more money so we can afford everything we need.

“It’s a struggle to keep up the all the rising costs, especially rent.

“It can be especially hard during the school holidays. My boys are at home, so I have to get everything ready for them before I go to work. I wish I could spend more time with them.”

Lavinia says that the struggle is felt by her colleagues as well.

“Lots of us at work are single parents so we’re on the same page. We don’t like working for only the minimum wage, but we have no choice. We need to get out there and earn what we can.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that while minimum wage increases are very important, they are only one part of the picture.

“We’re very pleased that the Government has kept to their commitment of significant increases to the minimum wage,” Annie says.

“However, we’re still waiting for the Government to deliver on some of their other promises. In the 2017 election campaign, all three coalition partners committed to paying the Living Wage to all core government workers, including those employed by contractors.

“Time’s running out to deliver the Living Wage for the people who need it most.”

Annie says that it’s not just all about wage increases.

“If the Government is to oversee fundamental changes to the New Zealand workforce, they need to implement strong Fair Pay Agreement legislation as soon as possible.

“Many thousands of workers on low wages are exploited by the contracting model, which sees businesses in a ‘race to the bottom’ – paying low wages to stay competitive.

“Fair Pay Agreements would put a stop to that by setting minimum standards bargained by unions and employers. Security guards like Lavinia, as well as cleaners, retail workers, and many others would have their lives transformed by decent Fair Pay Agreement legislation.

“We whole-heartedly commend the Government for lifting wages – now let’s see the transformational changes that we need to fix inequality in New Zealand.

ENDS

For more info or comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340

Lavinia Kafoa may be available for limited interviews this afternoon. To arrange:
Sam Gribben, 027 204 6329

E tū stands tall for White Ribbon’s #unspoken message

E tū is standing tall for White Ribbon Day and its message to men and boys to speak out about their issues and against violence.

This year the theme of White Ribbon is the #Unspoken Rules for boys and men in our society, which are based on expectations of what a man should be and how they express themselves.

Our union supports White Ribbon’s position that rules like “Be the Man”, “Toughen up, and “Boys don’t cry” reinforce stereotypes of the silent, suffering male.

E tū South Island Vice President, Ray Pilley says what’s unspoken becomes dangerous if it spirals into violence.

“We’ve got to create a culture where our people are open to talking about these things, where they feel safe to ask for help. That’s what union values are all about – helping people for a better society.

“Men can try to be staunch and not talk about their problems and then it gets vented on other people. So, we need to be able to look out for our fellows and ask them, ‘Are you ok?”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Joe Gallagher says male violence in any way, shape or form is unacceptable.

“As a father, a brother and a friend, in today’s society it’s important to speak up. As someone who has experienced some tough times growing up, I’ve been able to break that cycle of violence and we need to give other men that same message,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Negotiation Specialist ph. 027 591 0015

For contact details for Ray Pilley, contact Joe, or Karen Gregory-Hunt Communications Officer ph. 022 269 1170.

Climate Change Survey: E tū! Your voice is needed!

Climate change and its impacts are upon us. Our industries face particular challenges, yet in New Zealand we have little information on what we as a society think about this or what we should do. 

This research survey is being conducted through Auckland University of Technology and invites every union member to give their feedback on issues to do with climate change, Just Transition, and what is happening in workplaces on these issues.  This will be the largest survey to date on the issue and will provide important information that unions can use for planning and education.

Participation is voluntary and confidential, and the survey will take around 15 minutes to complete. Your union encourages all members to complete the survey. Please click HERE to start the survey and for further details on the project.

Macron for E tū a Companies Office first

E tū has welcomed the move by the Companies Office to soon enable incorporated societies like the union to use the macron when they register their names.

Since 2015, E tū has been registered as ETU because the registry system doesn’t allow the use of lower-case letters or macrons for most registered entities.

However, this will be allowed for incorporated societies and charitable trusts from the end of September, which E tū President, Muriel Tunoho says is very welcome.

“That’s great news,” says Muriel.

“Macrons change the meaning of words in te reo Māori. The absence of a macron can change the true meaning of a Māori word or it can be mis-interpreted.”

Muriel says the union had persistently sought to register its correct name – macron included since its merger in 2015 and eventually appealed to the Māori Language Commission Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori for help.

As a result, E tū has been issued with a special incorporation certificate with the name E TŪ – macron included – which is a first for the country.

Muriel says knowing other incorporated societies will soon be able to register using macrons as of right is cause for celebration during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori/ Maori Language Week.

“This is a win/win for everyone,” says Muriel.

“We are halfway there and it’s good we have our certificate. Hopefully others will soon as well and we’ll see the normalising of macrons, rather than just in special cases such as ours.”

The convenor of te Runanga o E tū, Sharryn Barton says it’s time the Companies Office recognised its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“I know we’ve got a special dispensation to have our language correctly recognised but it’s a one-off. It should be there for everyone who needs to use it,” says Sharryn.

“We need to see the guaranteed protections of taonga, which include te reo Māori under the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, are practised by the Crown and it’s entities,” she says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Muriel Tunoho President E tū ph. 027 618 5467

Sharryn Barton Convenor Te Runanga o E tū ph. 027 462 4390

Union to consider industry training changes

The following statement by E tū National Secretary, Bill Newson is in response to the industry changes related to polytechnics and on the job training announced today.

“The changes proposed today are significant for working people.

“Industry training is important for working people as life-long employment and income security depends on the ability to continually develop skills at work and have those skills recognised across industry. Training at work while in employment – ‘earning while you learn’ – is important for working people especially those who can’t afford to rack up a big student debt.

“Today’s announcement is complex, the devil is in the detail and we will be reviewing the proposals carefully.  Providing an industry voice through Workforce Development Councils is good, as is the transitionary approach to change.  However, E tū’s concern is that on the job training is not compromised over time to shore up Polytechnic viability.  We will be taking the time to assess the changes carefully.”