Month: April 2019

E tū very disappointed by CGT announcement

E tū, the biggest private sector union in New Zealand, is very disappointed that the Government will not adopt any of the Tax Working Group’s recommendations on introducing a capital gains tax (CGT).

Annie Newman, E tū’s National Director of Campaigns, says that this development is a step backwards in the much-needed tax reform debate.

“Workers pay tax on every dollar they earn, it’s ridiculous that some of the very richest people don’t have to contribute,” Annie says.

“Having everyone pay their fair share is a fundamental principle of a well-functioning tax system. We all need our schools, hospitals, roads, and many other things that taxes pay for.”

Annie says that the commitment from the Prime Minister that there will not be a CGT while she is leader is particularly disappointing.

“There’s definitely an argument that the Labour Party has not yet won the public debate on this element of tax law reform. However, that’s a good reason to strengthen the public discussion – not to rule out important tools for tackling inequality.

Annie says that this decision means that the Government will need to be even more committed to other policies for tackling inequality in New Zealand.

“There is still some hope for continuing to fix poverty in New Zealand. Policies like Fair Pay Agreements, ethical procurement, better healthcare, free education, and affordable housing all have a big part to play.

“Working people may have lost this one, but we’ll continue our campaigns for real change – that’s what New Zealanders deserve.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340
If Annie isn’t able to answer your call, please send her a text and she will respond as soon as possible.

E tū safety focus as Erebus design unveiled

New Zealand’s largest aviation union, E tū welcomes the announcement that a design has been selected for the national memorial commemorating the Erebus disaster.

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

The final design, Te Paerangi Ataata – Sky Song, by Wellington firm Studio Pacific Architecture will be located in Dove-Myer Robinson Park (Parnell Rose gardens), overlooking the Waitematā and is scheduled for unveiling in May 2020.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage says every year cabin crew mark the anniversary of the disaster with a wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport.

But he says, there has long been a need for a proper memorial to all those who died in New Zealand’s worst aviation disaster.

“We’ve long supported the call by the Erebus families for a proper memorial, which bears the name of all those on board. This design does that,” says Savage.

“While our preference would be a south facing memorial overlooking the Manukau harbour, if the families of the bereaved support the location then we stand with them,” he says.

Savage says it’s appropriate the announcement comes ahead of commemorations marking the 40th anniversary of the crash.

“This year’s commemorations will be particularly poignant for cabin crew and pilots. The loss of Flight 901 was one of New Zealand’s worst industrial accidents and there are crew still flying today who lost colleagues and family members in the disaster.  

“The safety of both themselves and the travelling public is paramount for all aviation workers, and this focus on the Erebus disaster reminds the nation of the need to create the safest aviation industry we can.”

Savage says the union will be speaking to Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand about improving the Airport Memorial Gardens in time for the 40th anniversary commemorations in November.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Savage Head of Aviation ph. 027 590 0074

Opinion: Why IDEA Services members are striking

By Nic Corrigan

Most IDEA Services residential staff are physically at work between 50-70 hours a week. This includes weekends, evening and overnights.  Staff will often go that extra mile and even work in other towns away from home, to help out when there isn’t anyone else to fill a shift.  And often during our time off, we are rung day or night to sacrifice time with our families to cover shifts.

We do this because we know these vulnerable people need us. But this all comes at a significant personal cost to support workers’ personal lives, in terms of giving up time and milestones with their family and Friends. 

Now IHC/IDEA Services tells us they the support workers to be more ‘flexible’.  What they are saying is what we do is not enough; they want even more from us.

Members believe they already give everything they can to the people we support, and they can’t sacrifice anymore.  They are deeply offended by IDEA Service’s escalating demands and worried about how much more they and their families will have to sacrifice to keep their job and passion. For many, it’s already been too much and they have quit.

Senior Support Workers

While most people know support workers go the extra mile, some might not know that it is the Senior support workers who lead this.  They mentor, support and lead the team.  If something new needs to happen or a person we support wants to achieve something new in their life, it’s the Senior support worker who leads the way to enable the support team to make it happen for the person they support. We want these senior staff members recognised with a small pay rise, and celebrated for the extra contribution, commitment, knowledge and experience they bring to the organisation.  IHC/Idea Services wants the position gone.

Violence

We are striking to ensure the places we work are safe from violence and that there is adequate support to ensure this happens.   Too often our members are placed in a situation where they must choose whether to protect themselves or the people they support from physical harm – and thus we chose to ourselves in harm’s way to protect others. IHC/Idea Services wants to remove a section from our Collective Agreement that acknowledges that some of our service users have challenging behaviours which are a risk to health and safety. If this happens, members feel this will render invisible the fact that some support workers face the threat of violence from service users on a daily basis.

We take the hits, punches, bites and threats of violence and we try to manage this the best we can.  What we don’t expect is for our employer to add salt to our injuries by dismissing our real safety concerns.

Conclusion

Support workers need and have the right to be treated with respect, and to feel safe like every other working New Zealander. We are striking to ensure these principles are respected and upheld.

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

No April Fool as IDEA workers go on strike

Hundreds of IDEA members turned out across the Country on 1 April standing loud and proud for a better deal at work.

From Northland to Southland member grabbed picket signs, braved torrential rain and made headlines across the country.

With paid stop-work meetings coming up in the week of the 15  April, another strike could be on the  cards.

Minimum wage lift welcome but Living Wage needed

E tū welcomes today’s lift in the minimum wage from $16.50 to $17.70 but says it doesn’t go far enough.

“We want a minimum wage that moves closer to the Living Wage, because anything less is not enough to live on with dignity,” says Annie Newman, E tū’s Director of Campaigns & Convenor of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Living Wage is currently $20.55.

“We know the minimum wage has moved up, but the Living Wage is what’s needed for people to lead a decent life,” she says.

E tū delegate and security guard, Ken Renata says he’s seen his wages move steadily upwards since he first began working as a guard six years ago, when his wage was just $14.45.

“The government has made a big difference,” he says, with the new rate set to lift his income above his current pay of $17.00 an hour.

But he says for people with families, $17.70 is still too little to live on and security guards with children typically work very long hours.

“You have to work 60 hours or more a week and that takes you away from your family,” says Ken.

Invercargill cleaner and delegate, Alana Clarke earns about $16.80 an hour at each of her five cleaning jobs.

She describes the minimum wage increase as “great”, but she worries it will send prices higher.

“When the wages go up, everyone else does too and I worry there will still be people who can’t make ends meet,” says Alana.

Alana works about 60 hours a week, “but for that I get a standard of living I’m comfortable with. I can pay my bills. But if I cut back, life would be really hard.”

She says she dreams about earning the Living Wage: “That would be awesome,” she says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Annie Newman E tū Director of Campaigns ph. 027 204 6340

We can put interested reporters in touch with Alana and Ken on request: ph 022 269 1170.