Month: June 2019

IDEA Services dispute escalates: 12-hour strike Sunday

A 12 hour strike this Sunday by care and support workers at IDEA Services will go ahead after two days of failed mediation this week.

The workers will be striking from 8.30am to 8.30pm.

Three thousand E tū members are affected by the dispute which has been running for eight months and has seen five previous strikes.

E tū union advocate Alastair Duncan says the 12-hour stoppage signals an escalation of strike action.

“To date we have held a series of one-hour stoppages in an effort to convince IDEA of the need to seriously respond to staff concerns around health and safety, workloads and job security,” says Alastair.

“At IDEA’s request we attended additional mediation this week only to find the employer had little constructive to add and only wanted to deal with ‘hypothetical’ bargaining scenarios, with no firm pay offers.”

The union has applied for a formal facilitation process, arguing the bargaining has become protracted and the employer has shown bad faith.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 245 6593

E tū: screen production bargaining rights welcomed

E tū welcomes the Government’s commitment to legislation which will allow film and television contractors to bargain collectively.

Currently, most workers in New Zealand’s screen sector are contractors without employment rights, including the right to negotiate working conditions collectively.

Workers were legally robbed of this right in 2010, after the Key Government changed the law in response to a bid by Actors Equity to win collective bargaining rights for actors on the film, The Hobbit.

“We are pleased the Government is finally going to address the issue of giving collective bargaining rights to workers employed as contractors in the film and television production industry,” says E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall.

John says the new law may also have implications for other dependant contractors in other industries who have been traditionally locked out of any employment rights.

As well as collective bargaining rights, the legislation will set universal terms for all screen contractors, including good faith provisions; protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment; fair and reasonable contract termination, and fair rates of pay.

The new law is expected to become law in mid-2020.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant Secretary ph. 027 520 1380

E tū welcomes Air NZ move on Tā moko, tattoos

E tu’s Head of Aviation, Savage, has welcomed Air New Zealand’s move to allow employees to display Tā moko and other appropriate tattoos.

Savage says while the tattoo issue has not been a central aspect of the union’s discussions with Air New Zealand it still important.

“For the last two years we’ve been talking to the company about a tattoo and uniform policy that respects gender and cultural diversity,” says Savage.

“New Zealanders are used to seeing tattoos, but it is a smart move for an airline operating globally to forge ahead in this way,” he says.

“Aotearoa is a Pacific nation. No one should be surprised to board an Air New Zealand flight or turn up at a New Zealand airport and be attended to by someone with a tattoo and a smile on their face. Tā moko, tatau and tattoos are all Pacific artforms.”   

Savage says the question of what counts as an appropriate tattoo is a subjective issue but the company has a process in place to deal with that.

“Overall, where it is a concern, employers should have a clear and fair policy on these matters,” says Savage.

“The first step to achieving good workplace policies is to include the people who might be affected by the policy in the discussion, which Air New Zealand has done.

“Air New Zealand is embracing diversity and inclusiveness to increase workplace wellbeing and productivity and as a union we support that.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Savage E tū Director of Aviation ph. 027 590 0074

Fourth assault on hospital security guard

E tū says a fourth assault on a hospital security guard has raised the alarm over health and safety for security guards at the Waikato and Canterbury DHBs.

Both contract out security services to a private company, Allied Security.

The latest assault – the fourth serious assault this year – involved a security guard attacked in the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital on Queen’s Birthday.

The assault occurred just weeks after an earlier very serious attack on a security guard member at Waikato Hospital – where Allied is also the security provider.

Another two guards remain off work after serious assaults at Hillmorton and Christchurch Hospitals.

Christchurch Senior organiser Ian Hodgetts says the string of assaults since Christmas is alarming.

“We are absolutely concerned about such a series of vicious unprovoked attacks on our members, who are simply doing their job,” he says.

Noting the epidemic of violence faced by hospital staff nationwide, he said hospitals needed more security and better security training.

DHBs also needed to improve their staffing and health and safety processes, he said.

E tū Campaign Lead, Mat Danaher says the series of assaults on guards at DHBs has highlighted serious issues with the outsourcing of security services.

“The fact is Allied Security is the security provider at both Waikato and Canterbury DHBs, and I would hope these DHBs, and DHBs nationally, are taking a serious look at who provides their security, and whether the services are fit for purpose,” says Ma

“In the case of Allied, we don’t believe that’s the case and we’ve lost any confidence they’re up to the job.”

Mat says many DHBs employ their security guards in-house – which the union supports.

“Directly employed security seems to be the model to look at for DHBs. Our hospitals are plagued by violence and all staff are affected, not just our security guard members.

“Hospital security needs a whole team approach, and the best way to do that is to make sure guards are part of the same team as other staff.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū Campaign Lead ph. 021 336 519

Ian Hodgetts E tū Senior Organiser ph. 027 446 4972

Strike five Friday for E tū IDEA Services members

Workers supporting New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities at IDEA Services will strike again tomorrow for one hour from 8.30am in support of their employment agreement negotiations.

The nationwide strike will be the fifth in two months and follows a bid by IDEA Services, the operational arm of IHC, to cut working conditions.

E tū advocate, Alastair Duncan says the union represents nearly 3000 workers and the strike reflects their determination to prevent IDEA Services undermining crucial health and safety rights.

He says the union has applied for facilitation to help settle the dispute, “but IDEA is resisting the application,” he says.

He says members have appealed to the IDEA Services board for a meeting “but despite repeated requests over seven months to sit down and talk, board member and the Chief Executive have refused to meet with us.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū advocate ph. 027 245 6593

Assault exposes serious Health and Safety issues

E tū says its inquiries have revealed glaring deficiencies for security guards, in the health and safety processes of the Waikato District Health Board and its security contractor, Allied Security.

E tū Senior organiser, Iriaka Rauhihi says media bans imposed on the guards by Allied have compounded matters, by denying the guards the right to speak publicly about their fears for their safety.

The union is investigating after the assault three weeks ago on a Waikato Hospital security guard member who faces months of recovery from her injuries.

“Our member’s son, Carl Harney has said the media ban, which applies to his injured mother, is a breach of people’s right to freedom of speech, and we agree,” says Iriaka.

“Given how unsafe this hospital is for our security guard members, it’s important these issues are raised and dealt with, so workers need to be able to speak up,” she says.

“The guards have spoken to Allied about their concerns, but nothing has been done.”

Iriaka says her information is based on interviews with the guards as well as meetings with DHB officials.

“There are robust health and safety processes for directly-employed DHB staff, but for contracted security guards, they appear to be ad hoc at best and non-existent at worst,” she says.

“That means a lack of incident reports and training, and neither the guards nor the DHB could tell me who the Health and Safety reps are,” says Iriaka.

“We would also add concerns about the very long hours the guards are working because they are so understaffed,” she says.  

Iriaka says while Allied has a health and safety policy, there seems to be no structure for dealing with health and safety matters.

“I’ve requested the names of any Health and Safety Reps and the minutes of any H&S Committee meetings, and we’ve received nothing. How do we monitor and assess risks on the job if there are no processes in place?”

Iriaka says the DHB admits it is responsible for the guards’ safety, but she believes it’s shrugged off any role in policing its security contractor, Allied.

She says despite requests, Allied Security has failed to update the union, or communicate at all on its inquiry into the assault on the hospital guard, “which just isn’t good enough.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Iriaka Rauhihi E tū Senior organiser ph. 027 544 8697

Muzzled and broken: family speaks out

The children of the security guard assaulted and seriously injured at Waikato Hospital have criticised Allied Security and the Waikato District Health Board for failing to keep her safe.

The guard suffered a broken arm and required surgery for multiple facial fractures after the assault.

“It was a pretty big shock. I didn’t know what to say to be honest,” says her son, Carl Harney.

“There are a lot of questions. She should have been safe, but she wasn’t. There should have been a lot more safety measures.”

Her daughter, Tajuana (pron. Tay-jana) Eltringham says when she saw the state of her mother after the assault, she fled from the ward.

“I burst into tears and walked out, it was a massive shock seeing my mum like that,” she says.

Harder still was telling her two younger siblings, aged 7 and 9, what had happened to their mum.

“I had to explain why she wasn’t coming home and why they couldn’t see her – the bruising and stuff – I couldn’t let two young kids see her that way,” says Tajuana. 

Both Carl and Tajuana say their mother had several close calls before the assault.

“There are a lot of the guards, not just my mum, who say they’re not safe. That guy shouldn’t have been on that ward,” says Carl.

“There are a lot of people you could blame, the person who did it obviously, but then Allied and the DHB after that.”

“Allied are useless,” says Tajuana. “They don’t look after their staff. They never have.”

Carl Harney is also angry about a media muzzle imposed by Allied on its security guards, which means his mother can’t speak for herself.

“I’m pretty pissed off about it,” says Carl. “I think everyone should have that right to talk, she should have that right.”

He says his mother loves her job at Waikato Hospital: “She loves the people she works with and she loves working at the hospital.”

But Carl and Tajuana were very concerned about her extremely long hours.  Both say their mother was constantly “harassed” to work during her time off.

“She got called in on every single day off. Mum is never home. She gets harassed even when she’s told them she’s not available to work. The big bosses – they don’t understand. They just think, ‘Yeah, you can work’.

“The fact the guards are underpaid and under-staffed is the other thing because you have to work those hours because of the low wages.”

Meanwhile, he says his mother is “up and down. She’s pretty tired most of the time. She’s pretty much lost her independence.”

E tū senior organiser, Iriaka Rauhihi says Allied Security’s media ban is preventing guards from speaking up about important health and safety issues.

“They should have the right to voice their legitimate concerns about this, but they don’t,” she says. “How can health and safety be improved with a culture of muzzling those on the front line?

“All Allied guards have been told not to speak to media – they know that means they could lose their jobs if they do.”

ENDS

To speak with Carl Harney or Tajuana Eltringham, please contact Karen Gregory-Hunt, ph. 022 269 1170.

Iriaka Rauhihi Senior E tū organiser ph. 027 544 8697