Month: March 2024

The contracting model is wrong for NZ Post

E tū is disappointed with NZ Post’s decision to move mail delivery into the parcel network, which will mean workers are moved to a contracting model.

NZ Post announced the details of the plan today, which is a response to declining mail volumes.

Postal worker and E tū delegate in Dunedin, Terry Howells, says workers are upset by the changes.

“I think it’s the end of an era for post itself, and people are quite downtrodden about it,” Terry says.

“A lot of posties took this job because it’s a good lifestyle, and this will be a major disruption to that. I can’t see it working in the long run.

“Being directly employed comes with all the employee benefits we’ve built up over time. I don’t think contractors are treated well here at all, the contracts are tough. Going into that side would be horrible, really. We can see it leading to exploitation, particularly for migrants.”

Terry says that affected workers are still looking for answers.

“It’s difficult to know what the next steps will be, we need more concrete information. The company needs to be a bit more upfront on what direction they’re going in. That’s a crucial part of the transition ahead.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Joe Gallagher, says NZ Post contracting out mail delivery will make them disconnected from the community.

“Having directly employed posties not only gives workers better protections, it also means NZ Post has a real stake in all parts of the delivery of the services,” Joe says.

“Passing the buck to a network of contractors means we’ll see a ‘race to the bottom’ with perverse incentives to make the most money, not deliver the best service. We see examples of this across many different industries.

“Mail delivery volume might be declining, but a robust network remains a core part of our society’s infrastructure.”

Joe says that while the union continues to oppose these changes, E tū and NZ Post are both committed to a ‘just transition’ for affected workers.

“The good news is that due to a long history of strong union membership, NZ Post workers are in a better position to shape their own future and all parties can work together to minimise the harm to affected workers.

“When people lose their jobs, or their jobs become more precarious, it affects the whole community. We’ve been proud of the work we have done in the past to ensure workers who are affected by changes in the post system are on the best footing possible, for example by helping them into new work through the E tū Job Match programme.”

E tū TVNZ members launch Save Our Stories campaign

E tū, the union for journalists and media workers in Aotearoa, is today launching a campaign to stop the proposed changes at TVNZ.

The Save Our Stories campaign is a response to last week’s announcement of a proposal for significant cuts across the workforce and the programmes produced, including cutting the shows Fair Go and Sunday, gutting Re: News, and cutting the Midday and Tonight bulletins.

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says the Save Our Stories campaign is about everyone coming together to protect the media platform.

“We’re bringing together workers, viewers, and supporters to remind TVNZ of their purpose and responsibilities. TVNZ isn’t just some business, it’s a vital part of our society and Kiwis need a strong TVNZ to tell Aotearoa’s stories and hold power to account.

“This is about everyone – every single New Zealander is a stakeholder in this, so we invite everybody who wants to build and protect a strong media landscape to support the campaign.”

The campaign has been launched with a video featuring people from across TVNZ’s workforce, and an open letter.

“So many people have reached out to our union to show their support for TVNZ workers and ask how they can help. From prominent public figures, to people whose lives have been changed thanks to TVNZ’s coverage, to dedicated viewers who don’t want to see their favourite shows get the axe.

“These people can help by signing the open letter, sharing our video, and sending the message to decision-makers that our media is worth protecting.”

TVNZ workers concerned with company’s process and will fight proposed cuts

E tū, the union for media workers in Aotearoa New Zealand, are alarmed by TVNZ’s proposal to cut up to 68 jobs, and are worried there won’t an adequate process for working through this proposal.

TVNZ has told their employees that people will find out if they are affected today, with more specific details to come tomorrow. It is expected that Fair Go, Sunday, Tonight, and Re: are all at risk.

One E tū member at TVNZ says that workers are particularly feeling the pressure around not yet knowing their fate.

“It’s the uncertainty right now around what is proposed that’s the hardest for us,” they say.

“Programmes like Fair Go, Sunday, Tonight, and Re: are well-respected, and continue to be a crucial part of keeping people informed about critical issues that affect their real lives. We are hoping for the best, for the people who watch and the people who make the shows.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says E tū will be challenging the cuts both in the interest of affected members and the wider public who rely on a well-functioning media.

“TVNZ has a responsibility, not just to the Government as sole shareholder but to all New Zealanders, to lead a positive vision for the future of media,” Michael says.

“Our members are deeply concerned that there is no clear strategy developed to protect the TV functions at the heart of the whole TVNZ enterprise.

“As we’ve all recently heard about the decision to close Newshub, it is more important than ever to protect and enhance our local media. TVNZ’s proposal is to do the opposite. Our members are passionate about their work and know the importance of a strong Fourth Estate.”

The company has indicated to the union that they will only open consultation for a very short period of time. Michael says that the consultation process must be genuine.

“Giving workers just a few working days to understand and give feedback on this proposal would be simply ridiculous.

“The workforce at TVNZ are the people best placed to work with the company to solve the problems and find a way forward that protects the vital role they play in our media landscape. In the past, E tū has worked with the company through change processes to successfully protect jobs, maintaining a strong platform for telling Aotearoa’s stories.

“We need to do this again, and it starts with the company engaging, and not dictating. They cannot make the best-informed decisions without a genuine and thorough consultation.

“Every New Zealander has a stake in this decision, as it will have a huge impact on the quality of public media. TVNZ and the Government, as the sole shareholder, must take a wider view that reflects the importance of this platform for everyone.”


Crucial insights for Southland’s business and workforce from the Decent Work Survey

Southland’s first ever region-wide scientific survey of decent work provides valuable information about the experience of local workers.

The survey was conducted over three months from April 2023, inviting all workers in Southland to participate and share their perspectives about employment in the Southland region.

Participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, working in different jobs, from the largest firms to small businesses.

The Decent Work Survey was commissioned by a broad group of stakeholders, including the Southland Business Chamber, the private sector union E tū, Murihiku Regeneration, and Great South, the organisation responsible for the ‘Beyond 2025’ Southland long-term plan.

The survey design, delivery, and data analysis were overseen by independent experts at Massey University.

CEO of the Southland Business Chamber, Sheree Carey, says the Decent Work Survey has significant benefits for the members of the broader business community.

“By understanding employee perspectives on job satisfaction, workplace culture, communication, and professional development, our members can gain valuable insights to enhance their organisations,” Sheree says.

“This initiative aligns with our commitment to creating more engaging and satisfying work environments, ultimately contributing to a productive and positive workplace culture in Southland.”

E tū National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says hearing the perspectives of workers is crucial.

“We know that workers have excellent insights about their own jobs that can often be overlooked,” Rachel says.

“By working with a wide group of interested parties on this survey, we have given a voice to workers across the region and ensured that their experiences can be properly taken into account for a variety of purposes, especially planning for an uncertain future.”

Bobbi Brown, the Project Lead for Beyond 2025 Southland, recognises the role of workers in the Southland economy.

“Our workforce is the lifeblood of our economy and while our unemployment rate remains very low, our employers are very focused on retaining their current staff while also attracting new people to fill vacancies. These insights are very helpful.”

Key insights:

  • Workers feel they are doing useful and meaningful work.
  • The majority of workers in Southland say their pay is not enough or just enough to meeting their basic living needs.
  • Most workers would immediately struggle to meet the cost of basic necessities if they were to lose their job.
  • Workplace culture is closely associated with management practices and the most frequent reason workers decide to leave or stay in their jobs.

E tū urges Government to support NZ media by passing Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

E tū, the union for journalists and media workers, is urging the Government to pass the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill as an important part of the solution to the problems facing the media in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last week, it was announced that Newshub and Three will close in June. Recent redundancies affecting Stuff’s sports reporters, and uncertainty about job security across the wider media landscape, demonstrate the revenue constraints that will continue to harm the industry.

E tū senior delegate at Stuff, Tom Hunt, says the Government passing the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill would be a good balance of supporting the industry while maintaining media independence.

“Government help for the media can and has been appreciated, but it can also be a poisoned chalice. It has given people a weapon to attack us with, and that is understandable, even if the so-called media bias is a fiction,” Tom says.

“But the Government helping to create a level playing field against billionaire-owned tech giants is not a bailout. It is rational, and I can see no reason to stop it unless the Government is afraid of scrutiny.”

E tū National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says the matter is urgent.

“Things will just keep getting worse if we don’t find sustainable approaches to the way the digital age has completely changed how people publish and access news,” Rachel says.

“The Government has one simple action it can immediately take to improve confidence in the news industry in the short term and significantly improve its financial viability in the medium term. That is, it must listen to the calls of basically everyone in the industry and support the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill.

“This is even more important now, given the way the tech giants have responded to similar moves overseas. They cannot be allowed to bully governments into getting their way – we must stand up for fairness as an international community.”

Rachel is concerned the Government doesn’t appear to understand the importance of a well-functioning media landscape.

“The Government can’t just sit on their hands and allow the Fourth Estate to crumble on their watch, they need to step up now.

“Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee should be a champion of new ways of raising revenue for the industry, but instead she has been slowing the progress of this bill, now using the development of AI as an excuse for inaction.

“Our country deserves much more serious leadership on this matter.”