Author: E tū

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

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.

Fuji Xerox members strike a fourth time

Members at Fuji Xerox offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are into their second straight day of strike action today.

It’s their fourth full-day stoppage as they fight for backpay on Fuji Xerox’s 2% pay offer.

“If they don’t get the back pay, it means these workers will have had a wage freeze for a year, so they’re committed to this fight,” says Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator.

The members will be picketing in Auckland outside Fuji Xerox’s office on Carlton Gore Road until 2pm.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph.027 591 0015

Strike three for Fuji Xerox members

Workers at Fuji Xerox have walked off the job for a third time this morning in an escalating dispute over the company’s absolute refusal to pay backpay on a 2% pay offer.

In Auckland, the members went out on strike at 8.30am and will be out until 4.30pm today.

In Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, members are striking from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

“If they don’t get the back pay, it means these workers will have had a wage freeze for a year,” says Joe Gallagher, E tū Industry Coordinator.

“At the same time, they are being asked to work smarter, harder and longer for no reward,” he says.

Joe says the members have responded by voting overwhelmingly for this latest action.

“The cost of the backpay is less than $100,000 and our members are committed to a fair outcome for all of them. They are determined to get what they believe they deserve, and what they are worth,” says Joe.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

IDEA: April 1 strike is on after mediation fails

Mediation for nearly 3000 IDEA Services care workers has ended in failure after IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, refused to budge on key union claims to lift wages and conditions.

The members, who provide residential care for the intellectually disabled, are seeking higher pay for senior service workers, weekend pay rates and action on unsafe staffing levels.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says IDEA Services refused a union request to even discuss options.

“Not only does IDEA Services want to cut current conditions, it also wants to undermine the job security of the workforce using the mantra of so-called ‘flexibility’.

“Union members are fed up with the way their long-standing concerns have been ignored.

“Every day support workers go the extra mile for IDEA Services but when it comes to staff rights, IDEA shuts down”, he says.

Delegates say they are sick of having problems like understaffing parked in working parties which go nowhere.

“Even our attempts to engage constructively around safe staffing and violence in the workplace have been continually met with a noncommittal response. We are feeling unheard and undervalued because of this,” says Marlborough-based union delegate Jeanine Sadd.

Union members have asked to meet with the board to discuss their concerns, but IDEA Services has yet to respond.

“IDEA has now followed the pattern of the corporate aged care world and is growing its property arm at the expense of its workforce,” says Manawatu union delegate Nic Corrigan.

“They seem to think safe staffing is an optional extra.”

The 4-hour strike begins at 7.00 am on Monday and will involve pickets and protests in both metropolitan and rural New Zealand.

ENDS

For further information, contact Alastair Duncan ph. 027 245 6593.

To speak to our delegates, please contact Karen Gregory-Hunt ph. 022 269 1170

IDEA Services care workers to strike 1 April

Three thousand care and support workers employed by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, have voted to strike on 1 April.

E tū industry co-ordinator Alastair Duncan says members voted overwhelmingly to strike after five months of challenging bargaining, during which IDEA has failed to respond positively to key workforce and safety concerns.

“Support workers at IDEA do an extraordinary job of supporting young and old people with intellectual disabilities,” says Alastair.

“Every day and every night, seven days a week, staff go the extra mile. Just once a year we ask IDEA to reflect that contribution by working together to improve the working conditions of staff.”

Alastair Duncan says union members have sought a greater voice on health and safety, and recognition for working weekends as well as the restoration of responsibility margins.

“IDEA responded by wanting to cut sick leave accumulation, force staff to move workplaces without agreement or notice and simply refused to consider recognition that staff are required to work anti-social hours.”

Alastair says IHC operates the same business model as for-profit care providers, spinning off its financially successful property division from its operational arm.

“IHC is a major landlord and property company that depends on its care staff. It is tragic to see them ignoring their own workforce.

“IHC has a strong and growing asset base but refuses to do the smart thing and allow its property arm to support its operational arm.”

Alastair says staff are concerned that IDEA has dug its heels in leaving them little choice but to take what is lawful, modest but important industrial action.

The union is seeking urgent mediation but if the strike goes ahead, will be holding nationwide high-profile pickets.

“Support workers will be reaching out to families and the community to work with us to persuade IDEA to do the right thing and respect it’s staff,” he says.

Alastair Duncan says IHC locked its staff out of weekend pay and other allowances in the 1990’s and it is now well past time to return what was stolen.

The strike will begin at 7.00 am and affect several hundred residential, vocational and secure homes and facilities.

ENDS

For further information contact Alastair Duncan on 027 245 6593.

Second strike tomorrow at Fuji Xerox

E tū members at Fuji Xerox have voted to strike for a second day following a successful day of action today.

The 50 members in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin will walk off the job again tomorrow from 7.30am to 4.30pm.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the members have chosen this afternoon to escalate the strike.

The members are in dispute with Fuji Xerox in the wake of a 2% pay offer, which the company refuses to back-date to the expiry of their collective agreement in August last year.

The members also want recognition of their skills in line with recent assessments they’ve had, “but that’s been held back,” says Joe.

“The company has confirmed its parsimonious offer to our members in its own statement in response to today’s strike,” he says.

“It has also confirmed it won’t backdate any offer which would mean a year with no pay rise at all,  which is unacceptable.”

Joe says the union also refutes claims made by Fuji Xerox in respect to any pass-on to non-union members of any final pay deal negotiated by its members.

“The company is under the impression it can do as it pleases but it clearly doesn’t know the law on the matter. It doesn’t have carte blanche to just pass on to non-union workers what our members win for themselves,” says Joe.

“We’re deeply concerned with the company’s lack of understanding around the laws related to no pass-on. We need Fuji Xerox to acknowledge that they have to commit to a process for negotiating with non-union members.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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