New Zealander of the Year, and E tū’s equal pay hero, Kristine Bartlett has marked International Women’s Day with a message to women fighting for equal pay.
“Stand up for what you believe is right and fair and reach high,” says Kristine.
Kristine, who led the campaign for pay equity for care and support workers, says the historic settlement won last year has lifted pay for these predominantly female workers and set a precedent for other women.
That includes early childhood workers who will today be among those presenting the Council of Trade Union’s Treat Her Right equal pay petition to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue.
“I had a chat with them about a year ago and they acknowledged I’d given them inspiration to fight, and I said, that’s what you’ve got to do if you want something and you deserve it.
“Never give up. Keep going the way I did the last five years, along with my union.”
Kristine is delighted that this year, International Women’s Day coincides with the global campaign by women against sexual harassment. She says in many ways 2018 is the year of women.
“I’m just so pleased about that – I can say “#MeToo” because I’ve been down that road as well,” she says.
“It’s just so important that we’re starting to do something positive and encouraging people not to be afraid but to speak the truth and let people know what’s going on and what we’ve been through.
“We need a bit of respect in our lives and we deserve it. #MeToo is great – all over the world women are getting the courage to speak up.”
E tū is saddened by the passing of Jim Anderton, our former Deputy Prime Minister and a huge figure in the Labour Movement.
E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says that Jim’s legacy is a better New Zealand for working people.
“He was bold, hard-working, and courageous. He was known for standing up for what was right, even when it was hard,” John says.
“Workers can thank Jim and the movement he led for policies like four weeks annual leave, the introduction of paid parental leave, and the creation of Kiwibank.
“Jim spent his political career fighting for working people and their families. He had an intrinsic respect and passion for everyday workers, the outcome of which was a powerful voice for workers in parliament, in government, and on the streets.
“The values Jim applied to politics were in many ways exemplary for the wider Labour Movement, particularly as he was so aspirational for a better world.
“The E tū family passes on our condolences to Jim’s wife Carole and their loved ones.”
E tū says the so-called “volunteer” scheme run by Chorus fibre optics contractor, Universal Communications Group is a clear case of migrant exploitation.
E tū’s Communications Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union recently learned of the scheme through a UCG document advising its subcontractors of the rules around recruiting these “volunteers”.
“With what’s happened in Nelson, it’s obvious now that this was about exploiting migrants who were contracted to work for free. That’s disgraceful and unacceptable,” says Joe.
Joe says Chorus had no choice but to instruct UCG to scrap the scheme once someone blew the whistle.
However, he says the scheme is the inevitable outcome of Chorus’s determination to drive down the cost of its fibre optic installation programme.
“Chorus has driven the cost so low that experienced contractors like Downer have quit. Skilled workers have been forced out and they’ve been replaced by inexperienced people, who will work for less or in this case, nothing at all.”
Joe is urging the Government to investigate the true state of the workforce rolling out this critical infrastructure.
“This is government money so there should be transparency. We shouldn’t be seeing this type of exploitation of workers in New Zealand,” he says.
For more information, contact:
Joe Gallagher E tū Communications Industry Coordinator, ph. 027 591 0015
TVNZ members of the unions, E tū and the PSA today expressed disappointment that Chief Executive, Kevin Kenrick had accepted salary and bonuses which increased his pay by $500,000 whilst overseeing falling revenues at the state-owned broadcaster.
TVNZ’s net profit for the year declined 89 percent – from $12.7m in 2016 to just $1.4m.
The news of Mr Kenrick’s 16 percent pay rise came as members were presented with a 1 percent increase for the same financial year.
It also comes on the back of an incoming Labour-led government promising to address growing inequality in New Zealand.
This year, staff have been through restructuring which resulted in the loss of more newsroom jobs and other positions across the wider business, in an effort to cut costs to off-set revenue declines.
Union representatives said employees had risen to the challenge of continuing to deliver quality content with fewer resources.
But they considered the Chief Executive’s remuneration deeply cynical in light of a volatile media environment and where TVNZ staff have been offered a pay rise that doesn’t even keep pace with the cost of living.
For more information, contact:
Paul Tolich E tū Senior National Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595
E tū is very disappointed to learn that some employers are trying to avoid the upcoming minimum wage increase by building workers’ allowances into their basic hourly pay.
The allowances are typically paid for such things as service, travel time and in recognition of shift work.
E tū’s Industry Coordinator Food Sector, Phil Knight says the union believes it may be dealing with a collective employer strategy to undermine a higher minimum wage.
“For employers to move allowances into the basic rate would be to neutralise any increase provided for in the hourly rate effective from 1 April 2018,” says Phil.
“This would undermine workers’ right to fair pay and a reasonable standard of living, especially those on the lowest possible pay rate who are struggling to pay their way now and can’t live on less.”
Phil says E tū is currently bargaining with two employers about this issue, and it is urging workers who are not currently in a union to join so they are protected.
“Union members know not to sign these contracts and they have the union officials available to advise and represent them.
“However, non-union workers won’t be so sure and may think they have no choice but to agree. They need to know that is not the case, and if they do sign, they are giving away benefits and a minimum wage increase they desperately need.
“Meanwhile, we would say to employers: don’t do this. It is unreasonable and unfair, and you are only going to make life more difficult for the most disadvantaged workers who have enough problems already.”
For more information, contact:
Phil Knight E tū Industry Coordinator, Food Sector ph. 027 591 0053
E tū Aviation has welcomed the new Prime Minister’s call for productive relationships between business and workers, and an end to low pay and its negative economic effects.
In her speech to the Council of Trade Unions yesterday, Jacinda Ardern praised the High-Performance Engagement agreement which E tū and other unions have with Air New Zealand.
“That agreement means business and unions sit down together and help each other with their problems and the results speak for themselves,” says E tū’s Head of Aviation, Kelvin Ellis.
“Working together has saved jobs, ensured good pay and conditions and helped transform Air New Zealand into one of the world’s most successful and profitable airlines.
“The new Government has clearly drawn the lesson that working together benefits all parties, and we’re delighted with its support for this model.”
Kelvin has also welcomed Ms Ardern’s rejection of the low-wage approach of many employers which actually erodes productivity.
“Ms Ardern has correctly made the link between an engaged, well-paid workforce and Air New Zealand’s strong financial position.
“We fully support her message on this: that low wages aren’t simply a problem for low-wage workers, they are a problem for businesses and the economy as a whole.”
For further information, contact:
Kelvin Ellis Head of E tū Aviation ph. 027 598 5735
The union E tū has welcomed today’s announcement of a lift in the minimum wage but says its goal remains the Living Wage for all workers.
The increase from $15.75 an hour to $16.50 will mean more than $20.00 extra a week for minimum wage workers doing a 40-hour week.
The minimum wage will gradually increase to $20.00 by April 2021.
E tū’s National Secretary, Bill Newson says the extra money will be very welcome for these workers.
“It might not sound a lot for the privileged elite who have got a lot from the Government over the past few years. But it means a lot to ordinary working people trying to support families on low pay,” says Bill.
“Let’s remember we’re talking about a minimum and there’s a lot of evidence that shows a Living Wage today needs to be $20.20 so there is still a way to go,” he says.
Bill says the increases announced today surpass the movement in the minimum wage achieved under the previous National Government.
“It took National five years to lift the minimum wage by $3.00 an hour and it will take this Government 3 years to lift it another $4.00 – we can live with that.”
Bill says businesses might not be happy but in fact they will benefit as workers spend the extra money on local goods and services.
“Good business is about employing good people. Good business is about retaining good people. And good business is about paying people a decent wage, so this new minimum wage is good for business and workers.”
For more information, contact:
Bill Newson E tū National Secretary ph. 027 538 4246