E tū says
Labour’s just transition approach will give workers and communities in
Southland confidence to plan for a future with good jobs to replace those at
the Tiwai Point smelter.
On Monday, the
Labour Party announced its commitment to keeping the smelter open for an
additional three to five years, rather than see it close in 2021 as proposed by
will give the community and local leaders more time to develop a transition
plan for Southland.
Owen Evans says the proposal to transition to other jobs and industries over a
longer period “gives people options”.
“To get the
three- to five-year extension is better for the majority. It means that a lot
of young ones with big mortgages don’t have to quit straight away, and they can
upskill while they’re still working.”
would also allow for possible recovery of the aluminium market post-COVID-19,
Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says the union supports Labour’s plan to
give workers and the community more time to prepare.
closure of Tiwai, which is due to take place in August next year, leaves little
time to design and roll out new economic activity to replace jobs at the
smelter,” he says.
much in favour of a plan that will enable the development of a Just Transition
Joe says the
premise of a Just Transition is simple – it means the costs of the big
structural change, such as a shift to low-carbon economy, must be spread evenly
and not fall heavily and disproportionately on workers.
need to be part of the transition conversation too, Joe says.
Transition is a trade union concept developed and used in many countries,
including most recently in New Zealand in Taranaki.
“E tū has been
active in driving Taranaki’s transition and any just transition process needs
to have active involvement from workers and their unions.”
information and comment:
Joe Gallagher, 027 591 0015
Alan Clarence, 027 548 2434
E tū calls on
the country’s national carrier to halt outsourcing in the wake of fresh cabin
crew redundancy proposals.
Air New Zealand announced its proposal to make around 385 cabin crew redundant
by December, as part of its plans to cut staff numbers further.
company is continuing to outsource work, retaining an agreement with a cabin
crew hire company in Shanghai.
An E tū member
who wishes to remain anonymous says the redundancy proposal is “devastating”
for crew, with the state of the industry wreaking havoc on their ability to
earn a living.
“Every time as
cabin crew, we think we are going to get a reprieve and get back to doing what
we love – we keep getting hit down.
lost 900 mid-to-long haul crew. We want to see Air New Zealand flourish and we
want to save New Zealand jobs. Our goal is to see the airline bounce back as
quickly as it can, so we can start getting our colleagues back,” they say.
ask why the [Shanghai] base is still going, and it is something we will be
trying to deal with through this process.”
Another E tū
member, also anonymous, says the situation seems like “a rollercoaster ride
that doesn’t seem to stop” and will inevitably create issues related to
personal and financial wellbeing, particularly for crew that have spent most of
their careers at Air New Zealand.
“Crew want to
be able to move forward. Some feel this isn’t about the company getting into
‘revive mode’, but rather like a race to the bottom – trying to get crew on
minimal salaries using the excuse of COVID-19.”
E tū head of
aviation, Savage, says while crew can see the damage COVID-19 has done to the
aviation sector, there is no operational reason for Air New Zealand to retain a
crew base in Shanghai.
base has always been about paying crew less and devaluing the role of cabin
crew. Outsourcing is a barrier to raising standards in aviation and it needs to
“When the work
comes back, it needs to come back to Auckland-based cabin crew,” he says.
company to focus on immediate labour costs, without taking into account the
bigger picture, is short-sighted and damaging to all aviation workers.”
Savage says the
airline and the jobs it provides are a vital piece of New Zealand’s
Government’s new approach to procurement – to help create jobs for those most
affected by COVID-19 – is something Air New Zealand needs to follow. Creating
skilled jobs and training the future generations of airline workers and cabin
crew is essential to our economy.”
information and comment:
Savage, 027 590 0074
E tū congratulates the Labour Party for saying yes to a
Living Wage for all contracted workers in government.
The Government currently pays the Living Wage to all workers in the public service. However, the new policy would see contractors, such as cleaners, security guards and caterers, now included.
It was announced by the party’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson, Andrew Little, and Economic Development spokesperson, Phil Twyford, at E tū in Auckland on Saturday.
E tū member Rose Kavapalu, who has worked for 15 years as a cleaner on just
above minimum wage, says she is so thankful to Labour for promising a Living
Wage for her and all cleaners in the sector.
“I’ll only have to work one job, and I’ll have more time to spend with
my family and my grandkids.
“With the Living Wage, I’ll be able to pay my debt – that’s why I had to
move in with my parents because I couldn’t afford [to live].”
Fellow E tū member and security guard Fa’atalatala Matamu says it was 12
years since her last pay rise, before the Government delivered the Living Wage
to all guards at the Ministry of Social Development from September 1.
“Before we were struggling, we had to work long hours. I’m humbled to
stand in front of you today and say ‘thank you, Labour’ for the pay rise.
“Now I’m able to pay off all my debts – as I had been taking loan after
loan, just to survive. Doing a job for so many years that wasn’t paid enough to
afford my own home – I’m [now] looking at that one as well.
“I’ll be able to save money, to help my grandkids who I haven’t been
able to spend much on, because of the low wage that we receive.”
E tū Assistant National Secretary and National Convenor of Living Wage Movement
Annie Newman says the policy has been “a long time coming” for thousands of
cleaners, security guards, and catering workers who currently live in poverty and
work excessive hours just to make ends meet.
“In the COVID-19 recovery, the economy needs workers purchasing goods and
services and that will only happen if they are paid a decent wage. Every dollar
our members earn goes straight back into the local economy and that’s good for
everyone,” she says.
“Finally, we are seeing a policy that values essential
workers who are ensuring the health and safety of the rest of us during these
“They are putting their lives on the line for us and should
be receiving a decent income that enables them to be full participants in
society – it’s only fair.”
Annie says the policy is a “real victory” for all the workers and the
communities that want to put an end to a low wage economy.
“Once the Government shows leadership in paying a Living Wage to all their workers, we know standards will shift in other sectors across the board.”
information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340
By John Ryall, former E tū Assistant National Secretary
obvious that if you are forced to have a day off sick you should be paid from
your employer what you would have normally received if you had worked on that
this has not always been the case and it has only been through an amendment to
the Holidays Act in 2003 that a separate right to sick leave of 5 days a year
was created and that this was to be paid at “relevant daily pay”.
people will realise though that 20 years before then the orderlies at
Wellington, Hutt and Silverstream Hospitals fought for the same right.
orderlies were then employed under the New Zealand Hospital Domestic Workers
Award, which up until 1979 awarded them 10 days sick leave per year to be paid
at ordinary pay.
orderlies worked six days a week and their sixth day always occurred on either
Saturday or Sunday at Wellington Hospital and at the other hospitals could
occur on any day of the week depending on the roster. They were required to work
the six days. If they were sick on any of their first five rostered days they
would be paid eight hours at their ordinary hourly rate and if they were sick
on their sixth day they would be paid nothing.
occasional grumble that they should be paid sick leave for all six days the
roster worked well.
Sick Leave Changes
In 1979 the
Hospital Boards agreed to a union claim to replace the Award sick leave clause
with another one that appeared in most employment agreements in the state
service. This gave the orderlies a more generous entitlement with an
accumulation of untaken sick leave up to 365 days.
more generous entitlement came with a catch. If you were a Monday to Friday
worker and were sick for a week then you were paid five days sick leave but
lost seven days from your entitlement.
(a) of the Award provided:
employee is granted leave of absence on account of sickness or injury not
arising out of and in the course of his employment he shall be entitled to full
pay according to the scale set out in the schedule hereunder.
14 (d) provided:
leave with full pay for each period allowed shall be reckoned in consecutive
days inclusive of Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
ink was even dry on the newly printed Award Wellington Hospital orderlies
started complaining about the non-payment of sick leave on their sixth shift,
which always occurred on either a Saturday or Sunday.
complaint was that if they were sick on a Friday and a Monday then the new
Award removed an entitlement of four days, but they were only paid sick leave
for two days rather than the three days for which they were arguing payment.
Wellington Hospital Personnel Manager wrote to the Wellington Hospital Board
Industrial Relations Manager Rino Tirikatene, who responded
Wellington Hospital conditionally require orderly staff to be permanently
engaged on a six day shift weekly roster then each one of those six working
days becomes applicable for sick leave with pay providing such staff have
genuine sick leave and an adequate number of days entitlement
Won’t Go Away
memo nothing was done and when I commenced work as an organiser in June 1982 the
sick leave issue was still bubbling away.
Wellington Hospital orderlies raised the issue again with the hospital
management in 1983 but were told that they didn’t have to work the sixth day if
they did not want to.
In 1984 the
power dynamic changed with the election of some new active Wellington Hospital
orderly delegates, who were not scared to take direct action to fix outstanding
A number of
strikes were held over the re-negotiation of the Award and despite the head
delegate Alan Wakefield being dismissed, the compulsory conference held to
determine the outcome of his dismissal also heard stories of the orderly’s sick
In July 1985
the Wellington Hospital Deputy Director of Administration agreed to part of the
claim. While the payment of sick leave for the sixth shift was not agreed, the
Wellington Hospital Board would not in future deduct this shift off the
orderly’s sick leave entitlement.
did not shut the issue down but gave it more steam.
1985 the Wellington Hotel and Hospital Workers Union wrote to the Department of
Labour for their opinion on payment of sick leave for the sixth shift under the
NZ Hospital Domestic Workers Award. Their response supported the union view
that the orderlies should be paid.
Department of Labour opinion, which was circulated far and wide across the
Wellington Hospital Board workforce, shook the Board managers.
picking up on this state of affairs, proposed to the Wellington Hospital Board
that the union and board should urgently meet as a Disputes Committee, with an
agreed chair, put forward both sides in the dispute and allow the chair to
issue a decision which would not be appealable.
1985 the Board wrote to the union and agreed for a Disputes Committee Chair to
give advice to the parties but not to make a binding, non-appealable decision
on the matter.
The Board though
did agree that if any orderly was absent through illness on a Friday and a
Monday then in future they would be paid at ordinary rates of pay three sick
days and not two.
was taken back to the Wellington, Hutt and Silverstream Hospital orderlies and
was unanimously rejected. The demands had hardened up and there was going to be
no settlement without the payment of overtime when sick on the sixth day and
the orderlies threatened to go on strike unless their demands were met.
Wellington Hospital orderlies delegate Jock McMahon posed the key question:
we have to lose pay when we are sick? We are a hospital caring for sick people
and we should be paid for our sick leave the amount we would have earned if we
had not been sick. We don’t want to be forced back to work when we are sick
because we cannot afford to be off work.”
of strike action led to an early meeting of the Disputes Committee, under
Chairman Jim Newman, but no resolution was arrived at. After some delay the
chairman referred the matter to the Arbitration Court in June 1986.
Arbitration Court heard the case in October 1987 and sought to answer two
If a worker employed under the Award
is granted leave of absence due to sickness under clause 14 and if that worker
is required to work a six day week as a team of his or her employment, does the
employer have to pay sick pay for the sixth day?
If the answer to the question is yes,
is the amount the board has to pay defined as “full pay” under the same clause,
the amount the worker would have earned had he or she been working that day?
was represented by lawyer Sandra Moran. It was the first time I had seen Sandra
in action. She was relatively small, very well dressed and looked like she
would not hurt a fly. However, she had a steely tone to her voice that cut like
a rapier and her cross-examination was so ruthless the employer witnesses just
wanted to agree with everything she said in order to quickly depart the witness
took just less than two weeks to deliver its judgement in writing, affirming
that the orderlies were required to work a 48 hour week and when sick must be
paid “the monies he or she would have received had he/she performed his/her
normal work on his/her sixth day on the roster irrespective of the day of the
week on which the sixth day happens to fall.”
Turns to Other Workers
union focussed on organising around the six year’s backpay for the Wellington,
Hutt and Silverstream Hospital orderlies and other workers (such as a group of
Wellington Hospital cleaners who worked a six-day week), it also turned its
attention to other workers who were not receiving “full pay” when they were
sick. This included public hospital orderlies, cleaners and food service
workers who were sick on public holidays and weekends (where it was not their
sixth shift) both in Wellington and throughout the country.
of the Wellington Hotel and Hospital Workers Union to extend the case beyond
the sixth-shift orderlies was not without controversy both within the Hotel and
Hospital Workers Federation and amongst other unions.
words of Wellington Hospital orderlies delegate Jock McMahon portrayed a simple
concept of sickness not automatically leading to a reduction in pay others saw
the concept as too radical and challenging, perhaps because of the potential
cost to the public health system of six-years backpay for tens of thousands of
health workers, including doctors and nurses.
Wellington Hotel and Hospital Workers Union returned to the Labour Court in
October 1988 on behalf of a weekend cleaner and a kitchenhand on a rotating
roster that included work on the weekends. Both these workers were paid
ordinary pay when sick on the weekends. They claimed that “full pay” included
their weekend penal rates and other allowances in addition to their ordinary
Castle, who had also heard the earlier case, said in his judgement that
extending the full pay argument beyond six-day workers was “inevitable” and
ruled that it was not proper to interpret “full pay” as anything else than the
“agreed contracted pay with the worker”.
newly created Area Health Boards and the hospital contractors refused to settle
the 1990 NZ Hospital and Area Health Boards Domestic Workers Award without the
elimination of the words “full pay” from the sick leave clause, the abolition
of the travel time clause and the removal of the union veto over the employment
of part-time workers.
writing on the wall for the fourth Labour Government and the National Party
already secretly drafting the Employment Contracts Act, the union conceded full
pay providing all members received hundreds of thousands of dollars in backpay
and the date for its removal was extended out to 26 August 1992, which
co-incidentally was the day after the expiry of the last national award.
workers had to wait another 11 years before the fifth Labour Government amended
the Holidays Act to allow for relevant daily pay rather than ordinary pay for
sick leave, the change would not have been possible unless the Wellington
Hospital orderlies had identified an injustice and fought for its removal.
E tū congratulates
the Labour Party for their tax policy, which will see the top two percent of income
earners and multinational corporations paying a fairer share.
A new top tax of
39% will kick in for every dollar earnt over $180,000, and the party has
committed to working with the OECD to find a solution to the issue of
multi-national corporations not paying their share of tax.
E tū National
Executive member and Senior Gardener at the University of Auckland, Jason Fell,
is pleased with the news.
“I’m very happy.
I think it’s a good start, and it’s about time!” Jason says.
“When you look
at how long it has been since any progressive tax changes, it’s clearly the
time for action. We need to slow down the inequality that hurts our communities
across the country.
“And if you’re
a person who earns over $180,000 and objects to paying a little bit more to
help your fellow New Zealanders, well that’s just a joke in itself.
taxation is the price that civilised communities pay for the opportunity to
remain civilised. I’m happy to pay my fair share, and I’m pleased that those at
the top will start paying a fairer share as well.”
E tū Assistant
National Secretary Annie Newman says that the Labour Party’s policy announcements
are off to a good start.
“A new public holiday
and a fairer tax system are both excellent policies for workers in New Zealand,”
“Our members in
the media and communications industries will be celebrating the international
cooperation to address the way that big digital platform owners, such as Google
and Facebook, skirt local tax obligations.
“We are looking
forward to more progressive policy from the Labour Party during this election campaign,
including a recommitment to the Living Wage, Fair Pay Agreements, and a strong
industrial relations policy that will improve the lives of working people their
information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340
local and supporting local businesses is more important than ever, E tū says,
in the wake of up to 200 redundancies proposed by BlueScope Steel.
the Australian-owned company who has New Zealand’s NZ Steel in Glenbrook and
Pacific Steel in Otahuhu, announced its proposal to make between 150 to 200
to cut up to around NZ$54 million in costs, after their A$5.8 million full-year
operating loss. However, they have now ruled out the closure of either Kiwi
E tū member Lance Gush
says members have a good collective agreement with strong terms and conditions
to deal with the consultation process.
it’s about maintaining what we can, working through the process to consult with
the company, and minimising the impact on workers to get an outcome that’s good
“We understand role we play in the structure of the local community and groups. We understand the business also needs to make a profit. We all want to be part of a successful business – it’s about how we do that together for the future.”
negotiation specialist Joe Gallagher says the consultation process will take
around seven weeks, as the collective agreement means the company is required
to go through an “extensive” process with members around redundancy.
the company needs to maintain workers’ incomes, their hours of work, and by any
means necessary, to minimise job losses.”
While it’s some
comfort that complete closure is off the cards, there is a ‘supply chain
effect’ when people lose their jobs, which will not only harm the economy but
many New Zealand communities, Joe says.
“For every $100
it takes to make to steel, $80 goes back into our economy – that’s a huge
amount, compared to the $5 return from imported steel.
redundancies will have a supply chain effect which will impact many industries,
including manufacturing and construction. We’ve got to support local as well –
that means cafes, gyms, and other small businesses – this is what keeps our
communities alive,” Joe says.
“We have to do whatever it takes to keep local businesses going – big and small – and support each other to get through this.”
information and comment:
Joe Gallagher, 027 591 0015
The unions representing home care and support workers
have joined forces with the association for New Zealanders over 50,
launching a campaign to fix our country’s fragmented and failing home
Members of the Public Service
Association and E tū have this week begun holding nationwide meetings,
and have as a first step launched an online petition that calls on politicians across the political spectrum to take action.
campaign is called “They Deserve the Best”, and further actions will be
announced in coming weeks depending on Covid restrictions and the
response from politicians.
and support is publicly funded by DHBs, the Ministry of Health and ACC,
but provided by a web of for-profit companies and charitable NGOs.
The petition urges politicians to overhaul the home support system and commit to:
· Investing in home support services which enable high quality care and support for our most vulnerable, so people who need support services can continue to live with dignity in their own homes.
· Decent jobs for home support workers. This means permanent regular shifts like other health workers have, hours and income which don’t fluctuate all the time, a proper wage for travel time, and genuine access to breaks so our jobs can be safe.
Donna Wealleans is a Tauranga-based support worker and PSA union delegate. Last week she was only offered two hours of work.
“I can’t explain what’s going on, but it’s clear the system doesn’t work. Our union negotiated a guaranteed hours agreement that means I’ll still get paid enough for last week to get by, but it doesn’t make any sense that I would get so few hours while other colleagues are given almost more than they can handle,” she says.
“It’s one example among many of how broken this system is. The only thing that keeps me coming back to this work is how much I care about my clients. They need support workers to help them keep living in their own homes, and that’s what keeps us going.”
Support workers have prepared a series of videos in which they share their experiences of the job and discuss what could be done to improve their lives, and those of their clients.
These videos will be released in the coming days on the PSA and E tū Facebook pages.
Napier’s Tamara Baddeley has been a support worker for about 20 years, but the E tū union member struggles to achieve work-life balance with the demands of a difficult and undervalued profession.
time for change, and frankly it’s long overdue. We are essential health
workers and all we want is the respect and decent treatment that should
go with that,” she says.
“All through lockdown, support workers went house to house, often without the PPE we needed to keep us and our clients safe. We are sick and tired of being treated like we’re expendable, and it’s time for the Government who funds our work to step up and fix the problems with it.”
Roy Reid is President of Grey Power in his home turf of Golden Bay, and Treasurer of the national organisation.
Queen’s Service Medal recipient, his concerns about New Zealand’s home
support system are informed by conversations with the former support
worker who for years visited his wife at home for an hour every week.
“The same problems can directly impact on both support workers and their clients, some of whom are Grey Power members. I know of support workers who had to leave the job because they can’t tolerate the hurdles, hassles and injustices any more, and when that happens, a client can lose someone they’ve built a relationship with over many years,” he says.
“Our organisation is deeply worried by reports of home support clients having their hours cut. With some DHBs starting to propose significant overall budget cuts, we worry this could flow on to make life hard for the New Zealanders over 50 who rely on home support. It’s time to take a stand.”