Author: E tū

Sad end of an era as Cadbury World closes

E tū says the announcement that Cadbury World is closing is a sudden and unexpected end to Cadbury’s presence in Dunedin.

E tū understands Mondelez made the decision to close the popular tourist attraction because the land was needed for Dunedin’s new hospital.

Workers learned of the decision earlier this month, with Mondelez closing Cadbury World this week while it consulted workers over whether to keep trading, or to shut immediately.

“The workers were told they’d be paid whether the place reopened or not, and so they voted unanimously for closure, so they can get on with their lives and find new jobs,” says Phil Knight, E tū’s Industry Coordinator, Food.

“It was a no brainer in the end,” he says.

“They all agreed – let’s just pull the pin. So, it won’t be re-opening and the workers have all received notice this week that their jobs are gone.”

The workers have received six weeks’ notice in addition to any redundancy compensation that might be owed.

“It’s been a quick and unexpected end and a sad end,” says Phil.

“Everyone was led to believe the business would be maintained but it turned out that wasn’t the case so it’s a disappointment.

“People will get what they’re entitled to including redundancy and notice, but it’s not a job,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

Hearing exposes health risks for vulnerable workers

The health risks of insecure work have been exposed during Select Committee submissions today on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

The Chairperson of the Hutt Union and Community Health Service, Muriel Tunoho told the Education and Workplace Select Committee that restoring meal breaks and protections for vulnerable workers is crucial to their health and wellbeing.

“At our service, we regularly see patients whose health has suffered because they are vulnerable workers, in industries where work is precarious,” says Ms Tunoho.

Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act protects the jobs of vulnerable workers, such as cleaners and catering assistants, where retendering results in a change of contractor.

However, five years ago, an exemption was made for firms with fewer than 20 workers, resulting in many cleaners losing their jobs, while others have seen cuts to working hours, pay and conditions.

“One of our patients recently lost most of his cleaning job when some of the facilities he cleaned were tendered and awarded to a small contractor,” says Ms Tunoho.

 

“His weekly pay dropped from $640.00 a week to $252.00 a week. He was struggling on his old income. His new income was impossible,” she said.

 

Ms Tunoho says the Service welcomes the fact the bill puts all contractors on the same footing but said it would like security guards added to the list of vulnerable workers.

E tū will be making more submissions on Part 6A, given the havoc wrought by the exemption.

The union also supports the Tramways Union’s call this morning for bus drivers to be covered by Part 6A, following a tender process set to cost hundreds of bus drivers their jobs.

One driver told the Select Committee the stress of possibly losing her job, or having her hours cut was causing her headaches, insomnia and depression.

“The drivers are subject to the same retendering and contracting model which has resulted in such precarious conditions for many of our own members,” says Jill Ovens, E tū Industry Coordinator.

“Often it is local and central government entities such as schools, police and councils which are the worst offenders,” says Jill.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Jill Ovens E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 446 4966

Industrial action to hit Blue Star print firms

Workers at Blue Star Group’s four print shops are taking industrial action, with an overtime ban in place from just after midnight tonight.

The overtime ban will affect McCollams Print and Nicholson Print in Auckland as well as Format Print and Print Link in Wellington, which prints the Budget.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the industrial action is a response to Blue Star’s unreasonable demands during bargaining to renew the collective agreement, which expired last year.

“The company wants to claw back terms and conditions related to shift arrangements,” says Joe.

“At the moment, they can change shifts if workers agree. But Blue Star wants to be able to do this as of right. They’ve told us if workers don’t agree to this they can apply for voluntary redundancy. In other words, take it or leave it, which is unacceptable,”.

“This would leave these workers with no control over their lives, their time with their kids and families and what they do on the weekend.”

Joe says members want to preserve their right to consultation “because they’ve built their lives around their working arrangements.”

Member are also unhappy over Blue Star’s demand that workers disclose if they have a secondary job.

“I asked what business that is of theirs and they cited health and safety. But what they really want is the right to reach into other people’s lives.

“Instead of addressing issues of fair pay, they’re trying to dictate what workers do outside their working hours at Blue Star.”

Joe says the fact is many workers must work two jobs because of the high cost of living, especially in cities like Auckland and Wellington.

“We’re seeing growing evidence of the haves and have-nots. People are trying to survive and it’s getting tougher and tougher. And companies are responding by trying to claw back more and more from their workers,” he says.

Joe says members are also angry over Blue Star’s refusal to agree to back-pay any pay rise to the expiry date of their collective agreement.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

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

 

E tū support for NZEI Pay Equity Day of Action

E tū support for NZEI Pay Equity Day of Action

E tū says the equal pay settlement for care and support workers made a huge difference to the lives of these members and all women deserve pay equity.

E tū members are among the speakers at rallies tomorrow, organised by the NZEI in support of pay equity for women in education.

E tū’s Women’s Committee Convenor and aged care worker, Marianne Bishop, who will be speaking in Wellington says women must stand together if they are to win pay equity for all.

“The support of other unions and community groups was crucial in helping us secure our settlement. Now it’s our turn to stand in support of pay justice for all women,” says Marianne.

“I raised two sons on very low wages and it was a real struggle. The settlement made a huge difference. I’ve been able to pay off some debts, and for the first time in 6 years, I can afford a dentist, and I can see the doctor when I need to,” she says.

“Women need to be valued and paid a fair wage for the work they do.  It is not right to pay them a low wage because the work they do is deemed to be women’s work.”

Auckland home support worker, Shannon Crowley who will speak in Auckland saw her pay lift by $4.00 an hour, thanks to the settlement.

She says it’s time women in education received the same recognition.

“Things have to change for early childhood teachers and school support staff. They need an hourly rate that says they are valued. It happened for us and it’s time to stand side by side to make this happen for them,” says Shannon.

E tū’s Equal Pay Coordinator, Yvette Taylor says the union is proud to support women working in education.

“These workers are undervalued for the highly skilled work they do,” she says.

“It’s time for the Government to step up and deliver for them, just as the equal pay settlement has delivered for care and support members.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

 

 

Union alarmed by fatal assault on security guard

E tū, the union for security guards, says it’s alarmed at the death of a security guard following an assault outside the Papakura Countdown yesterday.

“We send our condolences to the family of this man, who died whilst working to keep others at the site safe,” says Jill Ovens, E tū Industry Coordinator.

“This is a tragedy for the family and will also be very upsetting for the man’s colleagues. No one should go to work and not return home at the end of the day,” she says.

Jill says the situation is particularly concerning given this was the second serious assault on a security guard within the past week.

A guard was also attacked in the Accident and Emergency Department at Auckland Hospital last Friday.

“This is a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of security officers, despite changes to health and safety legislation after the death of Charanpreet Dhaliwal on an Auckland building site in 2011,” says Jill.

“We will be following up in the wake of these attacks to see what lessons can be learned to help keep these workers safe. This is dangerous work, done by people working long hours for very low wages.”

Jill says the union is working with WorkSafe New Zealand and the New Zealand Security Association on best practice guidelines for health and safety for security guards.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Jill Ovens E tū Industry Coordinator, ph. 027 446 4966

E tū: false complaints delay power fix

E tū is issuing a plea for people to stop making false complaints about power outages, as lines crews work around the clock to reconnect Aucklanders after last week’s massive storm.

The common feedback from our members is that this is the most extensive damage they have seen resulting from large trees being ripped out of the ground and over the lines.

The power remains out in parts of West Auckland, with isolated outages in some suburbs.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says Vector and their contractors, Northpower and Electrix have brought in significant extra staff from outside of the Auckland region and crews are working long hours to get the power back on.

“We’d congratulate our many members working on this. They’ve been working basically non- stop since last Tuesday,” says Joe.

“In some cases, guys have had to be stood down because they’ve reached their fatigue hours – they’re working about 70 hours a week.”

Joe says the public is largely supportive of the crews and while most call-outs are genuine, some are not and that has put pressure on everyone working to reconnect Aucklanders.

“Some people ring up, saying, “Our power’s out,” only to find that the main switch was left off at the meter board as a safety precaution by private electricians.  So, the crews turn up, and there’s no problem.  But every time that happens, they can’t respond to someone else who needs their help.

“I would appeal to these people – do some basic checks first. You wouldn’t call an ambulance if it’s not an emergency, so consider if you really need help,” says Joe.

Joe says the safety of the crews on the ground is absolutely paramount for all concerned.

ENDS

For more information, contact;

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Cadbury members stoked over Highlanders tickets

E tū says former Cadbury workers are hugely looking forward to this Saturday’s Highlanders vs Brumbies game, which they will be able to attend for free.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Phil Knight approached the Highlanders about making tickets available for a home game, as a fillip for redundant workers following the Cadbury closure.

The franchise agreed and has allocated 360 free double passes to the game.

“We thought the Highlanders are iconic to Dunedin in a similar way to which Cadbury has been, and that perhaps the team would be interested in marking the fact that those people are now without a job,” says Phil.

“We just thought they might want to share a bit of love and it would be great to see the team recognise the contribution these workers have made to the city.”

He says he was “stoked” when the team said yes, with workers emailing the union to say how pleased they are.

“It’s absolutely a shot in the arm for them. It just shows the recognition among the Dunedin population about what a great loss to Dunedin those jobs are,” says Phil.

“This is a great chance for the workers to share some time together and also thank their local communities for their support over what has been a turbulent year for them, with uncertain times still ahead for many.”

The Highlanders Chief Executive, Roger Clark says, “The Highlanders, DVML and Ticket Direct know that Cadbury employees have experienced the stress of redundancy recently.

“We all enjoy a tremendous amount of support from our community and this is a small way in which we can repay that support,” says Mr Clark.

The tickets are all in the south stand and redundant workers can collect their tickets from the south stand box office this Friday or Saturday.  Eligible workers will need to bring photo I.D to secure their tickets.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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

 

 

 

Thursday last day at Cadbury

E tū is standing tall with our members at Cadbury, ahead of the last day of work for most remaining staff.

Engineering workers will remain on site to decommission the plant, but everyone involved in production will finish up on Thursday, 29 March at midday.

It’s been a rough few months for people still working, with most doing a final tidy up this week in the near-empty factory.

“It’s been a bit of struggle heading towards the end,” says Cadbury worker and union on-site Vice President, Teresa Gooch.

After weeks watching the plant being dismantled around them, Teresa says most people can’t wait to finish up.

“It’s been really tough, tougher than I thought it would be,” she says.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Food, Phil Knight says it’s the end of an era for Cadbury, which began in Dunedin in 1930, after joining forces with Richard Hudson’s confectionary and biscuit business.

“It’s been a great site to represent,” says Phil.

“It’s been a pleasure working with such a loyal, hard-working and dedicated group of people. That professionalism won’t stop when they leave here. They’ll take that with them to their next job,” he says.

Phil says the closure will have significant flow-on effects for associated firms, such as packaging company Amcor whose staff have sent a note of support to workers.

“New Zealanders care about what’s happened to this plant,” says Phil. “They don’t like the closure and I would ask them to think about that when they’re grocery shopping.

“New Zealand in general produces quality food. We’d like to see people choosing New Zealand-made wherever they can, to help protect jobs.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

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

We can put media in touch with Cadbury workers who are prepared to comment.

For more information, contact:

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

 

Major milestone as production ends at Cadbury

In a poignant milestone, the last production run –  of Pineapple Lumps – rolls off the assembly line at Cadbury in Dunedin today.

The plant closes for good on 29 March, but workers are looking to the future, says Phil Knight, E tū Industry Coordinator, Food, who visited the Dunedin factory on Wednesday.

“We very much wanted to thank people for being loyal, committed members for so many years, and to wish them well for the future,” says Phil.

“It’s been tough on people coming to work and their workmates of many years aren’t there,” he says. “The oldest serving member has been there for 38 years.”

But Phil says the feeling is generally positive.

“People are looking forward to the next phase in their lives, albeit with some anxiety and sadness.”

“The vast majority have plans in place – either they have a job lined up, or they’re retiring, and some are just taking a bit of time to evaluate what they do next.”

He says local employers have recognised the quality and skills of the workers as well as their work ethic, “so they’re valued and they’re valuable.”

He says members have found jobs across New Zealand, many in the local region, including in the retail, wholesale, aviation, manufacturing, transport and power industries.

However, he says as they job-hunt, members have noticed the stark difference in pay and conditions, and health and safety standards compared to a union site like Cadbury.

“That’s going to be an eye-opener for many. Unionised workplaces offer better terms and conditions and also, a safer working environment,” says Phil.

Meanwhile he says the normal hustle and bustle of the factory floor has been replaced by a disquieting silence.

“When you stand at one end of one of the factory floors and you look to the far end where it’s all been cleared out, it’s clean as a whistle but also a bit spooky too. Because you know that up until a few months ago, it would have been 30 or 40 people working there, it was a hive of activity. So, to see it so quiet – it’s ghostly, eerie.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

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

We can put media in touch with Cadbury workers who are prepared to comment.

For more information, contact:

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