Author: E tū

Silver Fern Farms workers to strike as pay offer “just not good enough”

Nineteen maintenance shift workers at Silver Fern Farms have voted unanimously to strike for three days from 3 January as the company has refused to give them a fair offer in negotiations.

Bargaining has been going on for over a year and the company’s tiny offer has only increased from 1% to 1.5%.

E tū and Silver Fern Farms entered mediation earlier this month, however the company have refused to improve their disappointing offer.

E tū delegate Brendon Illsley says the offer is “just not good enough”.

“We keep the plant running, from plumbing to fixing machines – anything that needs to be done.

“We work long hours and the morning shift starts at 5am. There’s also a lot of overtime at this time of the year.

“We’re not asking for much, but 1.5% is too little – we’re not trying to be greedy.”

E tū organiser Laurel Reid says that it was quite clear from the employer’s response early in the process that there would be problems.

“Silver Fern Farms did not take our claims seriously, from bargaining to the recent mediation,” Laurel says.

“Industrial action is always a last resort, but these workers need a fair deal and peace of mind over the Christmas season.”


For more information or comment, please contact:
E tū Organiser Laurel Reid – 027 591 0024

Parliament’s cleaners and caterers win the Living Wage

The cleaners and caterers that keep parliament tidy and healthy are going to be paid the official Living Wage by 2020.

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard made the announcement yesterday, to a gathering of E tū  members and Living Wage community representatives.

Mr Mallard announced that catering staff would be paid the official Living Wage (currently $20.20) from July 2019, and cleaners would follow by the beginning of 2020.

There will also be steps towards the Living Wage, with both cleaners and caterers having a pay rise of half the difference between their current rate and the Living Wage in July next year.

Jan Logie from the Green Party and Tracey Martin from NZ First spoke in support of the decision.

Parliamentary cleaner and E tū member Eseta Ailaoa also spoke at the event, explaining that the wage will allow her to do things that weren’t possible before.

“This will make a difference. I will be able to save so money for myself and my kids to go on holiday,” Eseta said.

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).

IDEA bargaining update

Dear IDEA members,

IDEA Services Support and admin bargaining kicked off this week with two full days of negotiations.  In we September endorsed the push for full time jobs and a fairer process to deal with the challenge of service reviews.  Also high on the agenda is making sure staff are safe at work and sorting pay relativities for senior staff as well as equal pay for admin and supervisory staff. E tū delegates want a short term agreement to ensure any  changes are the right ones, but so far IDEA says it wants the full 12 months.

More talks are scheduled for November 13th with nationwide report back meetings due before Christmas.

E tū ecstatic as we welcome a Labour-led Government

E tū says it is ecstatic after confirmation tonight that E tū member Jacinda Ardern is our next Prime Minister.

E tū is the country’s biggest private sector union, with more than 55,000 members, and is a Labour Party affiliate.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says our members will be celebrating tonight, in expectation of a better deal for working families.

“Our members supported change; they have campaigned for change, and they voted for change and they will be ecstatic about this outcome.

“Our members made a huge commitment to this election campaign, in workplaces, in their communities, and in their families; talking to their workmates, hitting the phones to promote change and pounding the streets getting out the vote.

“Tonight’s vote is a vindication of that effort and the values behind it – a fair deal for working people and a fairer distribution of the country’s wealth.”

John also noted Winston Peters’ acknowledgement that New Zealanders voted for change, and says E tū supports the NZ First leader’s assertion that today “the country has the change it needs”.

E tū also campaigned for the Green Party and John says he is looking forward to learning the details of the agreements between the three parties; Labour, the Green Party, and New Zealand First.


For further information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant National Secretary ph. 027 520 1380

E tū bitterly disappointed over demise of Kiwi-made Cadbury

The union, E tū is highly critical of the decision by Mondelez International to move all production of Cadbury products from its Dunedin production plant to Australia.

E tū’s Director of Industries, Neville Donaldson says the decision will be bitterly disappointing for the more than 300 Dunedin workers who will lose their jobs.

“Mondelez has shown no compunction about closing a very profitable factory in Dunedin at the cost of quality, full-time jobs for New Zealand workers,” says Neville.

“There are companies which would have given their right arm to be able to run the Cadbury factory and enjoy the profits it was making when the decision was made to close, he says.

Mondelez had said some local production of iconic kiwi brands might continue if it found a suitable manufacturer, but today said that wasn’t possible.

However, Neville says the union is sceptical about whether Mondelez ever intended to find an alternative local manufacturer.

“We do question whether there was a genuine effort to keep that work here.  What was that exercise really about? Was it about trying to keep 10 percent of that production in New Zealand – or was it really about brand-protection and easing public anger over this closure?

“We had hoped for better, but it’s no surprise things have turned out as they have, given Mondelez’s record overseas,” says Neville.

Neville says New Zealand consumers might now want to consider where they spend their money when it comes to a sweet treat.

“The question is, will they support Mondelez moving its operation overseas at the cost of Kiwi jobs, or should they buy Kiwi-made products and support jobs for Kiwi workers?”

Neville says Dunedin has lost more than 800 full-time, well-paid manufacturing jobs in recent years with the closure of the Hillside Railway workshops, Fisher and Paykel, Sealord and now Cadbury.


For more information, contact:

Neville Donaldson E tū Director of Industries ph. 027 543 5312

E tū welcomes Emirates’ exit from most trans-Tasman services

E tū, the union for aviation workers has welcomed today’s announcement by Emirates that it is dropping flights out of Auckland to Melbourne and Brisbane.

The announcement follows Emirates decision earlier this year to cease its service between Auckland and Sydney.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Kelvin Ellis says he expects local cabin crew to benefit as other airlines expand their trans-Tasman capacity.

“Emirates doesn’t employ local cabin crew. It flies its staff in and out of New Zealand. So, we expect this should provide greater opportunities for New Zealand-based cabin crew,” says Kelvin.

“We’re hopeful that as Air New Zealand and Qantas subsidiary, Jet Connect expand their trans-Tasman operations, the result will be more work for cabin crew based in Auckland.

“So, this should be good for jobs,” he says.


For more information, contact:

Kelvin Ellis E tū Head of Aviation ph. 027 598 5735

E tū commends NZ Post on Paxster safety moves

E tū says it welcomes the safety-first response by NZ Post to a problem with its fleet of Paxster vehicles, which are used to deliver mail and parcels.

NZ Post has pulled the Paxsters from the road after finding a fault with a component part of the vehicles’ shock absorbers.

This week NZ Post will be using alternative means of mail delivery while the vehicles are repaired.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says NZ Post has taken a precautionary approach to the problem to ensure workers are safe, which is to be applauded.

“The safety of workers is critical and it’s a big decision which will see some disruption to services, mostly in urban areas,” says Joe.

“We commend the board over its responsible approach to the issue.”

Joe says the union is engaging with NZ Post to ensure workers’ incomes are not affected and that service disruption is minimised.


For more information, contact;

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015