Month: November 2017

Labour hire court win against LSG Sky Chefs

E tū has won its Employment Court case against LSG Sky Chefs for its exploitative use of labour hire workers.

LSG is the world’s largest inflight airline catering company with a near monopoly on airline catering in New Zealand.

E tū took the case on behalf of Kamlesh Prasad and Liutofaga Tulai, who worked for LSG through labour hire firm, Solutions Personnel Limited, also trading as Blue Collar Limited.

The union asked the court to declare that the workers’ real employer is LSG Sky Chefs – not the labour hire company – and the Employment Court agreed.

“This is a huge victory for the labour hire workers at LSG,” says E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall.

“It is also a victory for the growing number of workers who aren’t directly employed by the firms they work for and are deprived of their rights under New Zealand employment law,” he says.

The court decision also recognises the exploitative nature of LSG’s use of labour hire, citing Ms Tulai’s working week of up to 62 hours and noting at one point she worked 34 full days of work without a day off.

Both plaintiffs worked for years for minimum wage or just above, with no holiday, sick leave or Kiwisaver entitlements, and they had to pay their own ACC cover.

“The Employment Court has recognised that the use of labour hire is a way to shift all the employment risk on to very vulnerable workers and to avoid employment obligations,” says John.

Liutofaga Tulai who worked for LSG for six years before losing her job will be eligible for backpay, as will Mr Prasad whom the court has ruled is an employee.

John says the decision is also a big win for LSG’s unionised labour hire workers who are now entitled to the superior pay and conditions included in the LSG Collective Agreement for directly employed workers.

E tū is now calling on the airline catering industry to get rid of labour hire completely and for all major airlines, including the national carrier, Air New Zealand, to take responsibility for this issue.

“A lot of people are being exploited by LSG and the airlines have to take some responsibility as a customer for the labour practices in their supply chains,” says John.

E tū is also urging the Government to investigate the use of labour hire in New Zealand and consider ways to remedy the denial of basic employment rights for these workers.


For further information, contact:

John Ryall, E tū Assistant Secretary ph. 027 520 1380

E tū calls on Deputy PM to abandon harassment of journalists

The journalists’ union, E tū is calling on the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, to abandon his harassment of journalists who reported he had been overpaid New Zealand Superannuation.

Mr Peters has already gone to the High Court demanding Newshub journalist, Lloyd Burr and Newsroom co-editor, Tim Murphy provide their phone records, notes and documents related to the superannuation story which ran during the election campaign.

Newsroom reports he has now also told the High Court in Auckland he wants to be paid monetary damages by the two journalists.

E tū’s journalist representative, Brent Edwards says Mr Peters’ attacks on the journalists could have a chilling effect on New Zealand journalism.

The union is also deeply disturbed to find out that in his statement to the court, Mr Peters labelled Lloyd Burr a “National Party political activist”.

Brent says this attack is reprehensible and similar to attacks on journalists in countries like the Philippines, where press freedom and journalists’ safety is taken much less seriously by the Government there.

“As Foreign Minister, Mr Peters should uphold his obligation to support press freedom and journalists’ safety around the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Brent.

“If Mr Peters continues to target journalists in New Zealand in an attempt to muzzle them, he does nothing for this country’s reputation abroad as a healthy democracy which values and supports press freedom.”


For further information, contact:

Brent Edwards E tū journalist representative ph. 021 970 815.


E tū calls for national memorial ahead of Erebus anniversary

New Zealand’s largest aviation union, E tū is supporting calls by the Erebus families for a national memorial to New Zealand’s biggest aviation disaster.

In 1979, an Air New Zealand scenic flight over Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus killing all 257 people on board including 20 crew.

Today, E tū aviation representatives will attend the annual wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport.

E tū’s Head of Aviation Anita Rosentreter says the memorial remembers the crew who died but there is none with the names of all the victims, which is what the families want.

“We support the families. It’s important we honour the memory of all who died in New Zealand’s worst air disaster,” says Anita.

“This would be a place where the families could reflect on what happened and it would serve as a powerful reminder of the need for vigilance where safety is concerned.”

Anita says a recent incident in which a clipboard was left on the cowling of a Jetstar engine and sucked into the engine during a flight shows there is no room for complacency.

“That incident could have been so much worse. Aviation workers know what they do matters every day in terms of preserving the safety of the public and their colleagues.

“Just as we honour the memory of the men who died at Pike River, so we should remember the people who died in the Erebus tragedy as well.”

What: wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden

Where:  Puhinui Rd at Auckland Airport – the memorial is located to the side of the Tom Pearce Drive

When: 28th November 10.30am


For further information, contact:

Anita Rosentreter E tū Aviation Director ph. 022 240 9638



UCG “volunteer” model for Chorus fibre optics build “completely unacceptable”

E tū says the so-called “volunteer” scheme run by Chorus fibre optics contractor, Universal Communications Group is a clear case of migrant exploitation.

E tū’s Communications Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union recently learned of the scheme through a UCG document advising its subcontractors of the rules around recruiting these “volunteers”.

“With what’s happened in Nelson, it’s obvious now that this was about exploiting migrants who were contracted to work for free. That’s disgraceful and unacceptable,” says Joe.

Joe says Chorus had no choice but to instruct UCG to scrap the scheme once someone blew the whistle.

However, he says the scheme is the inevitable outcome of Chorus’s determination to drive down the cost of its fibre optic installation programme.

“Chorus has driven the cost so low that experienced contractors like Downer have quit.  Skilled workers have been forced out and they’ve been replaced by inexperienced people, who will work for less or in this case, nothing at all.”

Joe is urging the Government to investigate the true state of the workforce rolling out this  critical infrastructure.

“This is government money so there should be transparency. We shouldn’t be seeing this type of exploitation of workers in New Zealand,” he says.


For more information, contact:

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

TVNZ members disappointed with CEO salary increase

TVNZ members of the unions, E tū and the PSA today expressed disappointment that Chief Executive, Kevin Kenrick had accepted salary and bonuses which increased his pay by $500,000 whilst overseeing falling revenues at the state-owned broadcaster.

TVNZ’s net profit for the year declined 89 percent – from $12.7m in 2016 to just $1.4m.

The news of Mr Kenrick’s 16 percent pay rise came as members were presented with a 1 percent increase for the same financial year.

It also comes on the back of an incoming Labour-led government promising to address growing inequality in New Zealand.

This year, staff have been through restructuring which resulted in the loss of more newsroom jobs and other positions across the wider business, in an effort to cut costs to off-set revenue declines.

Union representatives said employees had risen to the challenge of continuing to deliver quality content with fewer resources.

But they considered the Chief Executive’s remuneration deeply cynical in light of a volatile media environment and where TVNZ staff have been offered a pay rise that doesn’t even keep pace with the cost of living.


For more information, contact:

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



E tū acknowledges Vector as power industry Living Wage leader

E tū would like to congratulate Vector on joining the Living Wage Employer Accreditation programme and would encourage the firms in Vector’s supply chain to do likewise.

E tū Industry Coordinator Communications, Joe Gallagher says Vector’s decision is likely to lift the profile of the Living Wage within the power sector as well as influence other firms to also make the same commitment.

“We have members at Vector and this is recognition of how important the Living Wage is for working people.

“Vector has also committed to paying its contract cleaning staff the Living Wage when that contract comes up for renewal next year, and that’s to be applauded,” says Joe.

He says he also wants to see companies in Vector’s supply chain, which provide lines maintenance and other services, also embrace the Living Wage.

He says Vector is already speaking with its supply companies about this.

“We want to acknowledge Vector which has said they are already in conversation about this, and to encourage these suppliers to make the change.

“It’s important that large businesses recognise they can change the lives of their workers, including contract cleaners and Vector has proved this.”


For further information, contact:

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

IDEA bargaining update

Dear IDEA members,

IDEA Services Support and admin bargaining kicked off this week with two full days of negotiations.  In we September endorsed the push for full time jobs and a fairer process to deal with the challenge of service reviews.  Also high on the agenda is making sure staff are safe at work and sorting pay relativities for senior staff as well as equal pay for admin and supervisory staff. E tū delegates want a short term agreement to ensure any  changes are the right ones, but so far IDEA says it wants the full 12 months.

More talks are scheduled for November 13th with nationwide report back meetings due before Christmas.

E tū welcomes demise of National’s pay equity bill

E tū has welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap the former National Government’s pay equity bill.

E tū took the pay equity case, Bartlett v Terranova which ultimately led to the equal pay settlement for 55,000 care and support workers.

The Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill passed its first reading in August by just one vote and was opposed by most political parties.

E tū’s Equal Pay Coordinator, Yvette Taylor says women rallied in their thousands against the bill which would have increased the obstacles faced by women seeking equal pay.

“Had this bill proceeded, these women would have been forced into a long process of identifying comparators and proving merit,” says Yvette.

“We were given a strong commitment on the campaign trail that the bill would be scrapped and we’re delighted that has been honoured.”

Yvette says any new legislation needs to respect the Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Bartlett v Terranova as well as the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on pay equity.

Care worker, Kristine Bartlett who took the case says the equal pay settlement wouldn’t have happened if the bill had survived in its current form.

“It’s great news,” says Kristine.

“That bill was going to affect so many other low-paid women in low-paid industries which was totally unfair. We fought hard for five years to get what we deserve and then we get a bill that would make it so much harder for everyone else.

“I’m so glad it’s gone and we look forward to a replacement that makes it easier for women to gain pay equity,” she says.

E tū’s submission on the bill supports retaining the Equal Pay Act 1972 with changes to accommodate the Court of Appeal judgement as well as the Joint Working Group recommendations.


For further information, contact:

Yvette Taylor E tū Equal Pay Coordinator ph. 027 431 8486

E tū challenges Aerocare over standards after Jetstar clip-board incident

E tū Aviation is challenging the aviation ground crew company, Aerocare to reveal its training regime and working conditions after a clip-board was sucked into the engine of a Jetstar plane serviced by the company.

The clip-board had been left on the cowling of the plane in Auckland.  The plane headed to Sydney but returned to Auckland after debris was seen coming from one of its engines.

The Head of E tū Aviation, Kelvin Ellis says the union is “shocked and concerned to hear about this incident which is unacceptable and should never have happened.

“It doesn’t happen with an airline with proper systems,” says Kelvin who says Aerocare needs to justify its training standards and working conditions.

“We wonder what training Aerocare is providing for its workers, because a clip-board should never have been left near a jet engine. It’s just an unfathomable incident.”

Kelvin says there is also concern about labour practices like split-shifts “which end up being really long shifts because they might work 2-hours at the start of the day and 2 hours at the end of the day. They’re poorly paid and fatigue may be an issue.”

Kelvin says the union would welcome a conversation with Aerocare about improving its training and setting working conditions which are fair and safe for the workers and the travelling public.


For more information, contact:

Kelvin Ellis E tū Head of Aviation ph. 027 598 5735