Month: October 2023

New members of the National Executive

Congratulations to our three new members of the E tū National Executive, who won the elections held at our Biennial Membership Meetings. 

 Don Pryde – South Island Vice President

Nia Bartley – Central Region Representative

Vivien Welland – Northern Region Representative

 Don, Nia, and Vivien will now join the other members of the National Executive in overseeing the day-to-day operations of our union.

We acknowledge all candidates who put themselves forward in these elections and all the union members who came to meetings during September and October to vote. We are a proudly democratic union. 

Allied Press journalists take 24-hour strike action

E tū members working as journalists for Allied Press are walking off the job for a whole day to protest their employer’s current offer on the table for their new collective agreement.

More than 40 members from Dunedin to Invercargill will participate in the day-long strike action with pickets from 9am on Tuesday morning.

Union members are pursuing a decent pay rise that will bring their wages into line with industry pay rates.

ODT delegate and journalist Rebecca Fox says pay rises for members over the last 15 years have not only fallen behind inflation, but behind others in the media industry.

“We recognise how tough the media industry and the ODT has it at the moment, but it can’t be an excuse for unliveable wages.

“Other players in the industry are getting five to six percent pay increases – our last one was two percent,” she says.

Rebecca says it takes around three years for journalists starting out at the ODT to earn even the Living Wage, while those with many years of experience also feel short changed.

“We have people working with 20+ years of experience who are barely getting the new average salary for Otago* which is around $70,000.”

She says for years, journalists at Allied Press have also been struggling with a lack of training and resources, which has added to their feeling of being under-appreciated.

E tū organiser Ann Galloway says negotiations with the company have always been drawn out, and this round of bargaining has been no different.

“Members are fed up with waiting on their employer to give them a decent pay rise.”

In comparison to other newspaper outlets, their pay rates are very low, she says.

“Members are prepared to keep fighting until they receive an offer that they can accept.”

Strike/picket details

Allied Press journalists are striking from 9am on Tuesday 10 October to 9am Wednesday 11 October.

Pickets will be held outside the Otago Daily Times office in Dunedin at 52 Stuart St on Tuesday 10 October at 9am, 12pm, and 5pm.

* According to the most recent Trade Me Jobs report

Te Whatu Ora must stop unjustly delaying pay equity for 65,000 care and support workers

E tū, The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA), and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) are calling on Te Whatu Ora to stop interfering in the Care and Support Workers’ pay equity claim that has left 65,000 underpaid health workers waiting.

“For more than a year we have undergone a rigorous pay equity process. We have systematically proven and measured the undervaluation of care and support workers based on their gender,” says PSA Assistant Secretary Melissa Woolley.

The three unions filed the claim on 1 July 2022 with 15 employers that are representative of the wider care and support sector, employing around 30 percent of the workforce.

“We are disappointed that as we near the end of the process, Te Whatu Ora has interfered and overstepped its role by trying to initiate a review of work on the claim that has already been completed and received the necessary sign off,” says E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh.

Pay equity claims follow a prescribed process overseen by the Public Service Commission. Each milestone during the process is awarded appropriate signoff before advancing to the next stage and Rachel says the proposed review seeks to re-open elements of the work that have already been signed off.

“We are on the edge of a decision that would make sure care and support workers are paid fairly for what they do and that would strengthen our community-based health services. This unwarranted and damaging proposed review has significantly delayed reaching a settlement,” says caregiver and NZNO delegate Trish McKillop.

Unions have issued a legal challenge to the review.

An open letter has been launched calling on funders to provide sufficient resources to settle the claim as soon as possible and stop the interference. The letter is supported by community organisations including Grey Power, the National Council of Women, and the Council of Trade Unions.

The situation is now urgent as the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement Act is due to expire on December 31 st with no assurance of how its protections will be maintained.

“We are committed to working with the next government to ensure care and support workers receive a pay equity offer by the end of the year,” Melissa Woolley says.

Further information:

  • The Care and Support Workers’ pay equity claim covers home support workers, aged care workers, disability support workers, and mental health and addictions workers.
  • Aotearoa celebrated proudly in 2017 when unions won an historic pay increase for care and support workers following landmark legal wins championed by aged care worker Kristine Bartlett. But since then, their wages have regressed back to minimum wage while the cost of living has skyrocketed.

Packaging workers continue week-long strike for decent pay

E tū members at Graphic Packaging in Auckland are doing a rolling strike until next week to win a decent pay increase for its lowest-paid members.

Up to 60 members from the packaging production plant will be participating in the strike with daily pickets during weekdays for the duration of the industrial action.

The company’s current pay offer still falls short of what members are hoping for.

Delegate Stephen Meredith says members are feeling really disappointed at the company’s most recent offer.

“It feels disrespectful to receive a low-ball offer. Right now, almost half our membership earns under $24 an hour, which is more than $2 less than the Living Wage.

“For us, that’s the crux of the matter and that’s why we are fighting, because our lowest-paid members are struggling and deserve better, as well as trying to get others a fair and decent increase,” he says.

E tū organiser Alvy Tata says the reason for the strike is simple: winning an acceptable increase for the lowest paid members.

“This is about recognising workers’ contributions, giving them the pay increase they deserve, and lifting up those who earn the least,” she says.

“The company needs to come to the table and give these workers a proper, fair pay rise now.”

Picket details

E tū members from Graphic Packaging International NZ are striking from Wednesday 4 October to Tuesday 10 October, with a picket outside Downers at 1061–645 Great South Road, Penrose, Auckland, 7am–2pm.

Note: The picket will be held on weekdays only.