E tū and the New Zealand Security Association are excited to learn that the bargaining process for a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) for security workers can now begin, now workers’ initiation signatures have been approved by the Government.
E tū is the union for security guards and initiated for an FPA for this group of workers in March, with more than 1,000 signing on to start the initiation process for an agreement.
Union members have led the way in advocating for FPA legislation in a multi-year campaign to see workers such as security guards and cleaners protected by minimum standards around pay and working conditions.
E tū delegate and security guard Rosey Ngakopu says it’s been a long journey, but she can’t wait for the next stage to begin.
“Our dream of an FPA will now become a reality,” she says.
“We want to reset the security industry, so let’s get into the conversation to create and build a better security industry for the future.”
Gary Morrison, CEO of the New Zealand Security Association, says the association and the union have common goals regarding advancing the interest of employees in the industry, and it looks forward to being the Employer Association representing security employers.
“We will work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for the security industry, including our employees, our customers, and security providers.
“In particular, we see opportunities to set standards for training, upskilling, and the health and safety of our workers,” says Gary.
E tū’s Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says E tū is thrilled that bargaining can now begin.
“It’s wonderful that we’re now able to use this exciting new mechanism – Fair Pay Agreements – to bargain across the whole of the security occupational group for better terms and conditions for all workers,” she says.
“We look forward to working alongside NZSA to improve the lives of all security guards in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as ensuring workers have a strong voice at the bargaining table.”
E tū’s hospitality workers will also benefit from an FPA, which has also been approved for bargaining to start.
E tū and members working at the New Zealand Steel mill in Glenbrook have welcomed the Government’s offer to contribute funding for a new electric furnace to halve coal use at the site.
On Sunday, the Government announced it would be partially funding up to $140 million to reduce carbon emissions at Glenbrook, by replacing an existing steelmaking furnace and two of its four coal-fuelled furnaces with the electric one.
It means half of the steel produced at the site would be made using electricity to recycle scrap metal, rather than producing new steel using coal and iron sands.
Site delegate Lester Udy says the announcement signals “exciting times” for workers and the company.
“New Zealand Steel contributes a lot to our communities and the area in general,” he says.
“Covid illustrated the importance of having industry in New Zealand, and a lot of other businesses benefit from the fact that we produce our own steel here.
Lester says the move represents a solid strategy for reducing carbon emissions in the steel industry and is a positive step for all industry. But workers still need to be at the forefront, he says.
“The transition also needs to be a Just Transition for workers. It’s about finding new and different ways of production, while at the same time making sure workers keep their jobs.”
E tū Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says the announcement is “huge” for the workforce and local community.
“Jobs at the Glenbrook steel mill are high value jobs and critical to the community, so it’s really important that we support steel made in here in Aotearoa.
“The Government’s announcement is about protecting our local steel-making industry for the future by assisting in the transition to lower carbon steel production.
“It means that we’ll keep business here, rather than pushing it offshore.”
Joe says the funding could be a blueprint for other industries to transform to a low carbon model, which will mean they remain viable as the businesses transform in response to climate change.
However, he says a Just Transition for workers will be needed, including reskilling or upskilling, so they are able to take on the new roles required as technology at the site changes.
This also includes working with suppliers and other businesses who will inevitably be affected.
“We need to work with Government, the company, and workers, to create a Just Transition process that can be modified and adapted for other industries, so we are not able to only protect valuable industry but workers and their communities as well.”
E tū welcomes the 2023 Budget, which includes significant improvements for Kiwi families, as well as welcome developments for people working in some E tū industries.
Highlights of the Budget include cheaper childcare, ongoing reduced public transport fares for children and young people, removing prescription costs, more money for new public housing, and a significant investment in repairing and improving infrastructure.
The Budget also includes updated forecasts by Treasury, with the welcome news that we are no longer expecting a recession.
E tū is particularly pleased to see initiatives for workers such as the extension of the Apprenticeship Boost Program, funding to settle the historic underpayment of holiday pay in DHBs, and money allocated for pay increases for primary and community care workers.
E tū Assistant National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says that an early analysis of the Budget shows that the Government have got a lot right.
“We will be carefully analysing Budget 2023 over the coming days to best understand how our members and our communities are affected,” Rachel says.
“However, looking at the headline figures, it’s clear that the Government have taken the challenge of balancing the books against economic headwinds and have still managed to invest significant resources in improving lives for everyday people.”
Rachel says that E tū will be keen to see money allocated to wages in the health workforce go towards pay equity for community care workers.
“Our members in aged care and community support are overdue a pay rise that recognises the value of their important work.
“The Equal Pay Settlement in 2017 saw these workers’ pay go up significantly, but we have reached the end of those pay rises. With the cost-of-living pressures mounting and a growing demand on these services, our frontline care and support workers need much better wages.”
Rachel says the commitment to climate change mitigation is also welcomed, and that the Government must continue the Just Transition approach to ensure workers and their communities do not bear the full brunt of changes.
“Solving climate change is the essential challenge of our times, and our members in affected industries understand this – finding well paid and meaningful work for people in a climate-friendly future has to remain a priority.
“Overall, we applaud the Government for being able to continue investment in our communities while carefully managing macroeconomic settings. We are looking forward to seeing the policies that political parties take to the election in October.”
For more information and comment: Rachel Mackintosh, 027 543 7943
Just after Easter, our annual Delegate Forums started around the country – the first time we’ve been able to hold them face to face for more than three years!
Our Delegate Forums are open to all E tū delegates and are a chance to catch up on everything that’s been going on at E tū, especially our major campaigns.
This year, we’ve talked about things like Fair Pay Agreements for security guards and cleaners, pay equity for care and support workers, and a Just Transition for all members affected by changes in industry due to climate change and technology.
McCallum Industries members working at a food manufacturing plant in Henderson, Auckland, got a $1.60 an hour pay boost and 7.2% on allowances in their most recent collective agreement signed in March.
Members at Cordis Hotel have won some great new clauses in their collective, including a new family violence clause and one that means new employees need to be shown their collective and how to join the union. All current members are now paid at the 2022/23 Living Wage rate as a minimum, backpaid to February.
A strike notice by Oji Fibre members in Penrose resulted their company filing a lockout notice but was successfully resolved with mediation and a good outcome for members with 6% in their next one-year collective agreement.
First FPAs for security guards and cleaners on the way
After the Fair Pay Agreements law was passed in October 2022, E tū members campaigned for months, encouraging workers to sign a document saying they wanted to initiate to begin bargaining an FPA.
Each group needed to collect more than 1000 signatures from their fellow security guards and cleaners.
Now these have been sent through to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the signatures will be checked and verified. Then the next stage of the process can begin – drawing up claims to take to the bargaining table!
What’s an FPA?
A Fair Pay Agreement is an agreement that is bargained by unions (representing workers) and employer representatives to set minimum standards across occupations or industries, for example, security or cleaning.
For workers, it means that no matter which company they work for, they’ll all have the same minimum pay, conditions, health and safety requirements, and whatever else we are able to negotiate.
Other unions have so far filed for an FPA for bus drivers and hospitality workers. But there’s also potential for FPAs to benefit many other occupations and industries in future.
Pay equity promise for care and support workers
In April, pay equity meetings for E tū, PSA, and NZNO members kicked off around the country to update members about their pay equity claim, which will benefit all workers once it’s settled.
In July 2022, the unions filed a pay equity claim against 15 employers across the sector to assess whether the current pay rates for care and support workers are fair.
The claim compares their jobs with a job of similar responsibility and skill done by workers in male-dominated industries, as care and support workers have long been undervalued and underpaid.
The last pay equity claim, which was settled in 2017, led to historic pay rises of up to 50% which transformed the lives of our members.
Election 2023: Real change starts with us
The election is coming around fast! We want to make sure issues for our members heard, and a big part of this is encouraging our members to vote.