Month: December 2017

Time to call Chorus to account over contracting

E tū says Chorus must be called to account after revelations about the work practices at Frontier Communications – a subcontractor to Chorus UFB cabling contractor, Visionstream.

Former Frontier Communications worker, Wilem Brown of Nelson says he was expected to install UFB cables, despite receiving no training, and was only paid $12.00 an hour – less than the minimum wage.

E tū’s Communications Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says Wilem’s story should be sounding alarm bells.

E tū’s Industry Coordinator, Communications, Joe Gallagher says Wilem’s story should be sounding alarm bells.

“First of all, there’s the human cost here. Wilem thought his new job was the start of a new career as a cable technician. Instead he was exploited and now he’s out of a job,” says Joe.

“Secondly, we believe his story is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve also had the case of the so-called “volunteers” working for free for Chorus subcontractor, UCG.

“While both cases have come to light in Nelson, there are similar problems elsewhere. It is clear Chorus’s contracting model is broken,” he says.

Joe says Chorus is under-funding its contractors and it’s time something was done to preserve the integrity of the UFB installation programme.

“We need an industry framework which provides clear employment conditions, sound parameters for health and safety and delivers a good outcome for the consumer,” he says.

Joe says a Government inquiry is also needed into the installation standards for this critical infrastructure.

“The pyramid nature of contracting is insidious. The further you get away from the source, the harder it is to hold companies to account.  But Chorus needs to be called to account,” says Joe.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

 

Free industry training will promote trades

The Government’s policy of a year’s free tertiary education for eligible students will benefit workers and business alike, says E tū.

Of the 80,000 students forecast to take up the offer next year, 50,000 are expected to enrol in NZQA accredited industry training.

In the case of industry training, eligible students will enjoy two years fee free.

“There are currently about 11,000 construction apprentices but there’s a need for another 40,000 workers over the next five years,” says E tū’s Industry Coordinator, Engineering and Infrastructure, Ron Angel.

“We should have begun training five years ago, but the next best time to start is right now, so this will certainly provide a boost for the relevant Industry Training Organisations to promote apprenticeships,” he says.

“This is an opportunity for more firms to take that jump and say, ‘yeah, I’m taking on an apprentice’, and having a go at it.”

Ron says the policy will also sit well alongside the Government’s focus on forestry and regional development.

“There are huge opportunities in forestry and the primary sector where we can add value to workers and get highly trained, highly skilled people who know there’s a future and a career ahead of them,” he says.

Electrician and E tū Executive member, Ray Pilley says the trades have been neglected for too long and anything which promotes trades to young people is good.

“I’m an electrician and I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years. I’ve had a fantastic career. It’s well paid and you’ve got a job for life.

“The old saying is true – got a trade, got it made.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Ron Angel E tū Industry Coordinator, Engineering and Infrastructure ph. 027 591 0055

To speak to Ray Pilley, please contact:

Karen Gregory-Hunt, E tū Communications Officer ph. 022 269 1170

 

 

E tū President “excited” by new health role

E tū congratulates President, Muriel Tunoho on her appointment to Health Minister, David Clark’s Ministerial Advisory Group.

Muriel will be joining an impressive team of highly experienced health experts including Dr Karen Poutasi, Dr Lester Levy and Professor David Tipene-Leach.

Muriel says the call from the Minister to join the group came as a complete surprise.

“My first question was, ‘Why me?’ But I think it’s because of my extensive experience working in the health sector as well as my work with the unions and workers,” says Muriel.

“That includes a clear understanding of the importance of fairness and equity in our health system.”

Muriel is the National Coordinator of Healthcare Aotearoa, which advocates for iwi and community-based primary health providers, a position she believes also influenced her selection.

“What I’m really excited about is bringing the voices of those who are struggling the most into those discussions.

“With health, there’s always such a focus on health systems and health technologies and I want to put people back at the centre of things.”

Muriel says she’s also impressed with the expertise of other advisory group members.

“I feel in safe hands. As I look at the vast experience they bring and hopefully the additional strengths I can bring, I’m feeling really optimistic and excited about this.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Muriel Tunoho President E tū ph. 027 618 5467

IDEA Services update: Good things take time

Good things take time. 

In the case of sleepovers, it took seven years. The recent equal pay settlement took five years and last year’s pay talks started in October 16 and finished in July 17. So, while we shouldn’t be surprised that the 2017 collective bargaining at IDEA will carry on into 2018.

Back in September members voted on a two-tier process with the focus on a short-term agreement through till May 2018.  We’ve called that Plan A.  Plan B was to table a wider set of goals with a greater focus on weekend and overtime pay – but only if Plan A didn’t work.

Our goal in both plans has been to work out a fairer result for member in four key project groups:

  1. The impact of service reviews on job security and guaranteed hours
  2. Restoring the margins (relativities) for senior staff now paid the same as others.
  3. Fixing pay equity and relativities for our admin members
  4. An agreed worker participation process.

Despite three days of formal bargaining IDEA has not agreed to our proposals and is insisting any new agreement running till October 2018.  IDEA has rejected the union timetable for the project groups and has not (yet) committed to the terms of reference we suggested.

E tū are holding firm that there needs to clear union participation in both Service Reviews and Schedule Reviews with more fair and reasonable process around reviews, there is a real need to reduce stress and anxiety for members around the service reviews process.

Members have a right receive accurate and relevant information to be provided to the union and members so that members have real informed choice, and to ensure that IHC take every practical step to sure members hours are maintained or increase.

For our admin members the principles of equal pay are as relevant to their job as it was to support workers.

What’s very disappointing is that IDEA won’t even discuss the first step. Even their pay offer of 5% doesn’t restore the relativities to the pre-July position.

IDEA has made an ‘offer’ which fell well short of our claims. In a strange move they told us it was a ‘package’ available until December 4th, despite us explaining it was simply not possible to consult with 3000+ members with such short notice.

The good news IDEA does seem to have withdrawn its own claims to:

  • Cut sick leave for new staff
  • Cap sick leave for current staff
  • Limit stress leave
  • Reduce the 2 weeks notice require for schedule changes to just 24 hours.

Getting any employer to remove their ‘nasty’ claims is part of the bargaining dynamic, but it was disappointing to see IDEA roll out the same old claims that disrespect hard won rights.

Your bargaining team told IDEA we would NOT be recommending their offer and even if we wanted to the timeframes were just not practical. Instead we are going to ask IDEA to meet again before Christmas to try and reach a settlement that genuinely respects the issues staff have raised.

We are still waiting for IDEA to agree to meet.

If we make progress, we’ll update you in the New year. If not then we will start over with Plan B, or C, or D and keep pushing till we get a deal that is fair for everyone. Whatever happens we will be holding paid membership meetings early next year and, as always, it makes a difference if you attend.

IF we make progress you get to decide if it’s enough.

If we don’t make progress, we need to get ready for action.

If you’d like to discuss the report talk to your local bargaining team member or Union Support on 0800 1 UNION (0800 186 466).