Month: July 2018

LSG SkyChefs decision “important legal victory”

E tū is welcoming the decision of the Court of Appeal to turn down an appeal application from global airline catering company LSG SkyChefs, cementing an important legal victory for New Zealand workers.

Last year, the Employment Court ruled that hundreds of labour hire workers working in LSG SkyChef’s catering operation were in fact employees of the company, and if they were union members then they were entitled to the employment conditions set out in the union collective agreement.

E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall said that the Court of Appeal decision meant that the litigation was at an end, and LSG SkyChefs would need to pay the labour hire workers their proper entitlements.

“This decision cements our very important legal victory for the New Zealand workforce,” says John.

“Labour hire is being regularly used by many New Zealand companies to move the risk of employment on to a group of very vulnerable workers. It is time that the companies using labour hire in this way changed their business model.

“Our union will be knocking on the door of other companies who were also exploiting the mostly migrant labour hire workforce.”

ENDS

For more information or comment:
John Ryall, 027 520 1380

E tū: Nestle job losses “a bolt from the blue”

The union, E tū says the announcement of job losses at Nestle’s factory at Wiri in Auckland has come as a “bolt from the blue”.

The union has about 200 members at the plant, where up to 55 workers could lose their jobs after Nestle reached a provisional agreement to sell its sugar and confectionary business to private equity firm, Quadrant Private Equity.

Well-known Kiwi brands affected by the sale include Mackintosh’s, Heards, Black Knight liquorice, Life Savers and Oddfellows.

The restructure will also see production of Nestle’s Scorched Almonds move to a third-party contractor in Melbourne, while production of the iconic Lollipops brand will move to China.

“We were aware of the sell-off of product lines and cuts to staff overseas, so we asked the company specifically if there were any such plans for New Zealand,” says Phil Knight, E tū Industry Coordinator, Manufacturing and Food.

“We were assured there were none, so this has come as a bolt from the blue,” he says.

“Not only is this the opposite of what we were told, but we weren’t invited to the meetings they held with our members late yesterday afternoon to deliver this news, prior to the public announcement.

“So, we’re very disappointed. The company has issued a letter with its reasons for this restructure and sell-off and announcing a consultation process.  The union is making every case for a decent timeframe for this, given the probability of job losses.”

Phil says workers may be offered jobs at Quadrant’s Levin-based factory, or in Melbourne, “but we have yet to learn the detail of the sale proposal let alone any alternative work offers.”

In the meantime, he says the union is supporting its members “who are going through the usual range of emotions that you’d expect from an announcement like this.”

“While the union-negotiated collective agreement has very generous redundancy provisions, it is not the same as a job, and we are worried about this coming on top of other job losses in the food manufacturing industry in New Zealand,” says Phil.

Phil notes the decision comes soon after the Cadbury closure and follows announcements of future job losses at Griffins and Kraft Heinz Watties.

“This is yet another example of a global corporate making decisions which adversely affect local workers,” he says.

“I think it’s time for New Zealanders to think carefully about what products and businesses they support, and where the profits made go to.

“Where they have a choice and the products are competitively priced and of a good standard, we would urge them to consider buying New Zealand-made products only.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Phil Knight E tū Industry Coordinator, Food Sector ph. 027 591 0053

 

 

$21,000 ERA win for Gateway Trust member

 

E tū has welcomed a decision by the Employment Relations Authority that the sacking of its member, Caro McFadden by Nelson’s Gateway Trust was unjustified.

The Authority awarded Caro a total of $21,594.00 – including $6594.49 for lost wages and holiday pay, as well as $15,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to her feelings.

Gateway Trust provides in-house and out-reach mental health services for people across the upper South Island.

Caro’s job was disestablished following a service restructure and she failed to secure one of three new managerial positions.

She was subsequently dismissed during a period when she was invited to consider a redeployment offer and whilst she was off sick with a doctor’s certificate for stress related to the imminent loss of her job.

The Authority found Caro had been unjustifiably dismissed.

In its ruling it said no fair and reasonable employer would have dismissed her in circumstances where they failed to meet her face to face to discuss her options once she recovered from her illness and learned of her decision in relation to alternative work.

“E tū took this case on behalf of our member, Caro McFadden after her unfair treatment by the Gateway Trust and we are delighted that the decision to challenge her dismissal has been vindicated by the Authority’s ruling.  Caro deserves this win,” says Ria Holmes, E tū organiser in Nelson.

In a statement, Caro says the judgement has gone in her favour and she is happy with the outcome.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Ria Holmes E tū organiser ph. 027 590 0060

 

 

 

 

Families package to benefit members

E tū says thousands of its members are expected to benefit from the Government’s Families Package, which comes into effect today.

The package includes:

  • widening eligibility for key benefits including Working for Families which will increase for many
  • wider access to the Accommodation supplement and an increase for eligible people in expensive locations such as Auckland and Hamilton
  • a Winter Fuel benefit
  • A lift in the Family Tax Credit and an increase in the abatement threshold.
  • Best Start payments for families with a new baby.

The implementation of the package also coincides with the extension of Paid Parental Leave to 22 weeks.

“The Government is committed to addressing child poverty in this country and the only way to do that is to lift the family income,” says E tū Industry Coordinator, Jill Ovens.

“That’s what this package does in many different ways, including crucially in the child’s first year of life, and for three years for those on low incomes. $3,000 a year will make a huge difference towards giving children a really good start,” she says.

Jill says the extension of paid parental leave will also benefit children by giving parents, whether the father or the mother time to strengthen the bond with their baby.

“That’s all about giving parents choices,” she says.

Jill says the changes are complex and members should check the details of the package to establish their correct entitlements.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Jill Ovens E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 446 4966

We can put media in touch with members who can speak to the Winter Fuel payment and the lift in Working for Families as well as the effect of changing abatement levels on benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equal Pay Celebration Day for support workers

E tū care and support members are celebrating a second substantial pay rise today.

The increase comes a year after the equal pay settlement which followed the historic settlement of the court case taken by E tū and aged care member, Kristine Bartlett.

The settlement includes a series of annual pay rises until 2021, with the next increase on 1 July this year.

“Our members have enjoyed the benefits of last year’s equal pay increase and they will be celebrating this one as well,” says Yvette Taylor, E tū Campaign Lead Organiser.

“It’s another step towards care givers really being valued. The higher pay rates have made a big difference to our members with many finally able to take a holiday, visit their dentist, and pay the bills.

“This latest increase will deliver even more of these benefits, so it’s cause for celebration,” she says.

Wairarapa aged care worker, Simone O’Connor says she’s been reminding her workmates about the increase which for some has come as a pleasant surprise.

“Many had forgotten they were due another pay rise. The year has gone so quickly! But it’s great. We’re on the right path and we’re moving ahead – more money means a better life,” says Simone.

Home support delegate, Shannon Crowley says a year on, the settlement has changed her life, allowing simple pleasures like taking her son to the movies, and planning her first holiday in years.

“I haven’t stressed out about money so much because I just feel more cushioned – just less stressed and cornered,” she says.

“And there’s a lot of clients who really are happy for us. They all say to us, ‘It’s about time, love!’, which is great.”

Meanwhile, Yvette says E tū and its delegates are getting the word out to members to check their pay, and that they are getting the training that is an entitlement included in the settlement.

“Qualifications mean higher pay, but it’s also about ensuring the best quality care for the people our members look after,” she says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Yvette Taylor E tū Campaign Lead Organiser ph. 027 431 8486

To speak to Shannon or Simone, contact: Karen Gregory-Hunt, ph. 022 269 1170.