Month: November 2019

E tū Aviation to mark Erebus tragedy 40th anniversary

Every year E tū organises a commemoration service on 28 November to mark the anniversary of the Erebus tragedy. This year is the 40th anniversary.

The service marks the moment Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 people on board, including 20 crew members.

It is New Zealand’s deadliest peacetime disaster, as well as the deadliest accident in Air New Zealand’s history.

E tū aviation members and union representatives will gather at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport for the service, which will include the traditional laying of wreaths.

The service will start at 1300 and last approximately one hour.

In Auckland, there will also be a private ceremony at Government House, attended by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy who will meet with representatives of the Erebus families.

During both ceremonies a minute silence will be observed at 1.49pm (12.49 NZST) – the time the crash occurred.

E tū, the union for cabin crew is inviting all New Zealanders to stop what they are doing and remember the events of that day.

“Erebus changed a nation,” says E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage, speaking on behalf of the union’s 7800 aviation workers.

“257 people from New Zealand and around the world died. This was one of our worst industrial accidents, a day when 20 aviation workers lost their lives. 

“It changed the way the whole world thought about aviation safety and about our shared responsibilities to put safety first,” he says.

“We invite all New Zealanders wherever they are in the world to pause for a minute and reflect on the event and the importance of safety at work and the responsibility we all have to look out for one another.”

In a sad coda, the day is also the 11th anniversary of the crash involving an Air NZ A320 which crashed off the coast of Perpignan in France in 2008, claiming the lives of seven people including five New Zealand aviation workers.

ENDS    

What: wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden

Where:  Auckland Airport – the memorial is located to the side of the Tom Pearce Drive, 300m north of Puhunui Road roundabout

When: 28th November 1.30pm – there is a minute’s silence at the time of impact 1:49 (12:49 NZST)

For further information, contact: Savage E tū Aviation Director ph. 027 590 0074

E tū responds to Air NZ’s 787 engine problems

E tū, the union for cabin crew says today’s announcement by Air New Zealand of the grounding of between two and five 787 Dreamliners is a major challenge for 787 cabin crew who are currently in wage negotiations.

The airline says the grounding is the result of ongoing engine maintenance problems with the Dreamliners’ Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.

“Yet more problems with engines at Air New Zealand has implications for 787 cabin crew members,” says the union’s Head of Aviation, Savage.

“Fewer planes flying means less work and more network disruptions. There is also a risk of some redundancies if 787 crews cannot be redeployed to other fleets or if lease aircraft can’t be found to replace the Dreamliners,” he says.

“We will be doing what we can to ensure all other options to redeploy crew are used first”.   

Savage says the news coincides with wage bargaining for 787 cabin crew.

“We have 650 787 Dreamliner cabin crew in negotiations for a new collective agreement right now and the engine problems have changed the parameters of what has been, at times, a very tense negotiation,” he says.

“Crew are not paid enough for the work they do, and this latest round of engine problems will almost certainly see the company looking to limit costs even more.

“Cabin crew are an under-appreciated group and disruptions to the airline’s performance caused by technical problems outside their control are yet another challenge for them.

“Crew have been through a lot in the two years since the first engine problems were discovered. They are dedicated professionals and they understand how the industry works. However, they do not want to see their working conditions and aviation standards decline even more than they already have.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Savage E tū Head of Aviation ph. 027 590 0074

E tū welcomes Living Wage at Queenstown Airport

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) have announced that they are officially an accredited Living Wage Employer, with all of their workers being paid at least $21.15.

Crucially, this includes workers employed by contractors such as cleaners and security guards, who must be paid the Living Wage for accreditation because they deliver regular and ongoing services to QAC.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage, congratulates QAC for taking this step.

“It’s fantastic to see Queenstown Airport Corporation taking the lead in the industry by prioritising fair wages for their workers,” Savage says.

“We hope other airport and ground handling companies follow Queenstown’s example and make sure their directly employed and contracted workers are all on at least the Living Wage.

“E tū Aviation union members are committed to making aviation the first Living Wage industry in New Zealand. There is big money to be made in aviation and tourism – it’s important that standards remain high and aviation workers get their fair share.”

Savage says that Queenstown is an area where decent wages are especially important.

“Kiwis all over the country are dealing with high living costs and Queenstown workers have it especially tough at the moment. This will make a real difference to the affected workers as well as the wider Queenstown community.”

Local E tū member Fiona Lawson, who works at the airport for an airline, hopes this will encourage more Queenstown businesses to get on board.

“It’s exciting to have the airport take such a significant step for their workers, and hopefully it creates some momentum for Living Wages in Queenstown,” Fiona says.

“It’s also time for the Queenstown Lake District Council to commit to paying all their staff the Living Wage, like other councils across New Zealand are doing.

“It’s been empowering to see what local Living Wage networks have been able to achieve for low paid workers. People deserve better wages, and this is how we get them.”

ENDS

For more information and comment, contact Savage on 027 590 0074

Note: Living Wage accreditation has been achieved by QAC because all of their directly employed and contracted workers will now earn the Living Wage, though it does not cover companies that use the airport space, such as airlines and retail outlets.

Iona College boarding school matrons strike over pay

The Boarding Supervisors/Matrons at Iona College in Havelock North will take strike action from this afternoon in support of a fair settlement of their pay claims.

The members will strike for 24 hours from 2.29pm today until 2.29pm tomorrow. 

E tū organiser, Thomas O’Neill says the members have been in talks to try to settle their collective agreement since November 2017.

“That’s almost two years, and the employer still won’t agree to offer them guaranteed hours or fair pay rates for the work they do,” says Thomas.

He says as well as guaranteed hours, members are seeking the same pay rates as care and support workers receive as a result of the equal pay settlement.

“It’s the same kind of work,” says Thomas. “Our members look after people. They are entrusted with the care of other people’s children, but their work is under-valued.”

The Boarding Supervisors/Matrons, including Iona College member spokesperson, Tracey Whittington say without secure hours and income, they are struggling.

“We feel undervalued and the pay rate doesn’t reflect our responsibilities or the unsociable hours we work. We all work shifts, including weekends,” says Tracey.

“We also need guaranteed hours because we lose money every time the school shuts down and that’s quite often and includes extra days on long weekends.

“I’m actually contracted to do 72 hours a fortnight, but I checked my pay recently and I haven’t been paid for that many hours since September.  

“That makes my life a struggle. I have a mortgage to pay. Most of us are sole income earners so this is important to us.”

The members say if pay is averaged out over a year, they are barely earning above the minimum wage.

“I’m lucky I have the support of my partner who receives super. A lot of these women don’t have that support and it’s very hard for them,” says Boarding Supervisor/Matron, Julia Alexander.

“Iona has offered nothing and that’s not good enough,” she says.

The members say they agreed to return to work on Thursday, so they are available to support the students ahead of their first NCEA exams which start the following day.

However, they say if there is no progress, they are prepared to strike again at a later date.

Thomas says care work at boarding schools used to be viewed as charitable work, and that attitude seems to still prevail at Iona College.

“Their employer has behaved very badly for a school that promotes women’s rights. The pay and conditions reflect a belief that the members don’t need secure work, that someone else can help them pay the bills.

“It’s actually strange to see these 19th century attitudes coming from an all-girls’ school.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Thomas O’Neill E tū organiser ph. 027 204 6350 – Thomas is the contact for media seeking interviews with our members.

Settlement at IDEA after 11 months of bargaining

The E tū and IDEA Services Support Workers Collective Agreement has been ratified by a vote of 83% in favour. This agreement was achieved by the fantastically committed and hardworking bargaining team delegates who can be truly proud of the way that they represented the E tū members interests over a period of 11 months, as well as all members who engaged in the process, attended meetings, and took industrial action.

Ratification is the just the beginning of an exciting year ahead as we work to achieve more funding in the disability sector and put in place a great plan of activities designed to win better lives for workers and consumers in the disability sector.

What’s in the deal?

  • Pay increases for Administrators and Service Coordinators with 5.5% backdated and a further 2% from 23 October 2019.
  • Scheduling Coordinators being covered by the Collective agreement for the first time with a 2% increase from 23 October 2019.
  • A new allowance of up to $70 per week for RIDSAS workers.
  • Specialist orientation for all staff working in RIDSAS.
  • Specialist training and clinical supervision for RIDSAS staff within six months of the agreement being ratified and regular updates to the union.
  • A new on-call allowance of $150 (gross) which will increase if the SM payment increases.
  • A process to remove SSW duties from support workers, a 50 cents per hour allowance for designated SSWs until those duties are removed, and two buy-out payment based on agreed criteria. These members will also be fast tracked through the Level 4 training, which provides for a pay increase of up to $2.50 per hour.
  • New scheduling clauses for unplanned situations including mileage and paid time, orientation and paid time to prepare in some cases, updates on equipment and support needs, overtime if you are left with people you’re not orientated to support, and a review process if you think these provisions are being misused. 
  • A two-year term expiring in October 2020 – so we’re back in bargaining in a year.
  • An agreement to work together with IDEA to lobby for more funding to address issues in the sector.

What do the bargaining team delegates say about the deal?

The union bargaining team endorses the outcomes that have been achieved as being all that is possible in the current environment and look forward to working with all the parties to achieve a better funded sector.

What does this mean for SSWs?

Any member who thinks they are a designated SSW or undertaking SSW duties under the agreed criteria will have until 22 November to make an application to be part of the buy-out and a further four weeks to provide evidence to verify they qualify.

Delegates will be released on pay to meet with support workers and help them make their applications for this process and put together the evidence needed. This will probably happen at facility meetings soon, so watch out for those. E tū has produced a template application form to make this easy for you.

Meanwhile, the new scheduling changes will not take effect for three months after the agreement is signed off. E tū will distribute flyers and info cards summarising your rights around these, so you have the information readily available if you need it.

Joint lobbying for more funding

E tū and IDEA have agreed to join forces to lobby the Government for more disability sector funding. We will want you to be actively involved in this work as your voice and your stories will make a difference. The goal is to make sure any government elected in November 2020 prioritises the under-funding of disability services, so money is available when we bargain again in a year’s time.