Article Category: April 2022

Te Papa members win Living Wage

Two groups of workers at the country’s national museum will now be paid the Living Wage as their starting rate.

Te Papa’s front of house workers, who work in customer service, have secured the Living Wage with the ratification of their 2022 collective agreement.

After negotiations, the museum also agreed to fund the Living Wage rate for its contracted cleaners, who are employed by ISS, from 1 April.

Rehu Tui, who recently moved to Wellington and just joined E tū as an ISS cleaner, says the new wage rate will make a big difference after her income took a hit when she left her old job working as a hospital cleaner.

“We’re finally getting recognised and appreciated for all the hard work we put in.”

“People might not realise, but it’s cleaners who make sure that your office is nice when you come to work, your room’s nice, your cubicle’s nice.”

PMN members lead the change with new menstrual leave policy

“Why can’t we be the change?” was delegate Sia Petelo’s thinking when she went into bargaining to fight for members’ claim to have menstrual leave introduced at her media company.

To her knowledge, Pacific Media Network or PMN is the first company and first media company in Aotearoa to offer leave for members for menstrual or menopause-related reasons.

Since December, E tū members at PMN now have 12 days of menstrual or menopause leave per year.

Sia, a radio host at Niu FM, says the idea of putting in a claim for menstrual leave came up after there was a kōrero about it on air and a PMN colleague raised the issue.

Before even taking the claim into bargaining, Sia says she and fellow union members did their own research by talking to Pacific GPs and meeting to discuss if menstrual leave was introduced, what it would look like and why it was important to them.

“As a Pacific community, we already have a lot of taboo and stigma around topics that we should talk about regularly within our own communities, especially because they’re important.

“So as a media company, I saw it as our collective is right: [talking about these issues] pretty much starts within our brand or our company.”

When Sia, as the sole delegate on the bargaining team, initially presented the claim, it was turned down.

Amid all the doubt and pressure, Sia says along the way she realised that she was going to have to push for change on behalf of her PMN sisters.

With encouragement from fellow union members and her organiser, she stepped back into the bargaining session, which was taking place via Zoom, and spoke from the heart.

“One of my points when I challenged their ‘no’ was, ‘okay, we are a Pacific media company, we are a media company, we use our platform to share great news, breaking news, bad news, any kind of news.

“‘We especially share news when there is groundbreaking change in the world, whether it be good or bad. Why are we not doing the same, and pretty much walking our talk?’”

Management went away to consider their response and then came back with a yes. Sia says she was emotional.

“I was in so much shock that I started crying. It was a cry of relief, but also I was crying because I was proud. I was crying because I couldn’t believe it, I was crying because I was like, ‘damn, the collective just did it.’

“As much as people keep coming and saying, ‘Well done, Sia’, ‘Well done, Sia’, it’s not well done, Sia.

“It’s well done PMN union collective, all thanks to the people that helped us behind the scenes, the E tū union. It is a collective effort.”

For the moment, the special leave is only available to union members, which Sia says she feels is fair for now.

However, all women at the company have benefitted, as the company now offers free sanitary products in the women’s bathroom.

Now fielding interview requests from as far afield as news stations in America about the ground-breaking leave policy, Sia says she also wants to get another message out.

“It definitely wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the union, and so I only hope that that when people hear about this – and whether they agree with it or not – I hope that they look at the bigger picture that as a collective you can make change.”

Members getting active in local government elections 2022

Many E tū members are getting active now in the local government elections to take place in October this year.

Nureddin Abdurahman is one of a number of E tū members running for a position and in the next magazine we will have a full rundown for you.

Nurieddin is in the Paekawakawa Southern Ward in Wellington and he is encouraging all E tū members to get out and vote, wherever in the country they are.

“It’s all about democracy, with communities choosing who will make the hard decisions on our behalf,” Nureddin says.

“From the moment you wake up and turn on the tap, to when you leave the house whether you are using active, public, or private transport, to when you come home and turn on the lights – these are all things that rely on councils keeping the infrastructure working.”

“You need to make sure you trust the people making those decisions, so you need to vote. I’m running in this election simply because I want to make life easier for everyone in our communities.”

In local government elections you get to decide who makes important decisions in your local area, whether that’s the mayors, city councillors, regional councillors, or local boards. Decisions made at this level are often the most important decisions for working people, our families, and our communities. From housing to stadiums, footpaths to streetlights, libraries to parks, drinking water to rubbish collection – councils make it all happen.

Local representatives also make decisions about the wages of directly employed workers, as well as the contracting and procurement decisions that cover anyone doing work for a council. This is one of the main reasons E tū gets active in the campaigns, winning the Living Wage for council workers across Aotearoa.

E tū members have often identified housing costs as one of the biggest issues that affects their lives. Local authorities have a huge role to play in this, whether it’s by directly providing social housing, supporting the infrastructure needed in new and existing neighbourhoods, or developing planning and zoning rules that allow our communities to grow and thrive.

E tū’s campaign for Fair Pay Agreements finally delivers a Bill!

It’s the moment we have been waiting for! After nearly five years of campaigning, we finally have a Fair Pay Agreement Bill going through parliament, and about to become law. Now it’s time for submissions – and it’s easy! Follow the link to tell Parliament why you want Fair Pay Agreements: Click here to get started on your submission!

Fair Pay Agreements will be the best change for workers in decades. By establishing a system for workers and our unions to negotiate minimum pay and conditions that will cover every worker in an industry or occupation, Fair Pay Agreements will set a level playing field that helps everyone get ahead.

Click here to learn more about how Fair Pay Agreements will work.

E tū members have led the campaign for Fair Pay Agreements since the very beginning. Our union was instrumental in getting Fair Pay Agreements into Labour Party policy, we’ve lobbied MPs from across the political spectrum, and members have been sharing their own thoughts and experiences with the public, to strengthen our call.

We know that good pay and conditions don’t just fall from the sky – union members win them. It has been no different with Fair Pay Agreements. E tū members have made sure this transformational policy has stayed firmly on this Government’s agenda.

We’re nearly there, but we have to keep the pressure on. Submissions on this bill are open right now. E tū has created a very straightforward tool that everyone can use to tell Parliament why we support Fair Pay Agreements.

Click here to get started on your submission!

In her own words: Watch the video below, where E tū member Iunisi Faingaanuku explains why it’s so important that everyone makes a submission on Fair Pay Agreements

Decent Work Charter launched at Summit

A Decent Work Charter has been launched at an E tū Decent Work Summit. The Charter has four pillars: a decent income, secure work, a quality work environment, and worker’s’ voice.

The Summit in February was a total hit. E tū members and our union and community allies joined forces for a day of members telling their stories, contributions from academics and experts, and discussing exciting new ideas.

E tū Industry Convenor for food and manufacturing, Edwin Ikani, explained how each of these four pillars were relevant to areas of his life and work.

“Nobody should have to earn less than the Living Wage and what they need to participate [fully in society] – everyone should be able to live with dignity, including what decent income enables, which is the material things, but also time with the family and the opportunity to make your mark,” Edwin said.

We also explored mechanisms that will help us achieve Decent Work, such as the Living Wage, Fair Pay Agreements, a Just Transition, the New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme, and a model for new employment institutions.

The Summit had to be moved online as a result of the Omicron outbreak, but that meant that members and participants from across the country could join, 260 in total! Our union has become so well equipped with digital platforms that while nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, the Summit was another demonstration of E tū members rising to a new opportunity.


Editorial: E tū and you in 2022

Welcome to the first digital edition of our union magazine for 2022.

As I write this our regional Delegate Forums are underway, and it is great to be engaging with our workplace leaders on the issues facing our membership now and into the future. The Forums are being held online due to Omicron, and I really appreciate our delegates taking the time and effort to attend.

Delegate Forums and Industry Councils are a critical part of our deep union democracy, providing an important balance of regional and industry representation to our Biennial Conference to be held on 20 and 21 July this year in Auckland.

The Omicron surge is beginning to subside, and our Government is relaxing some of the key public-health measures. We have managed the effects of the pandemic well relative to other countries, however, there have been many family tragedies.

We should remain cautious as experts are foreshadowing the potential emergence of new COVID-19 variants. The general advice is to maintain high levels of vaccination and mask use, while taking common sense precautions.

We must learn the lessons of the COVID-19 period as similar disruption could occur in future – climate change and decarbonisation of jobs, technological transformation, and economic contraction linked to global political uncertainty are all known challenges that will test our resilience.

We need to have a strong union view of what Decent Work should look like now and into that challenging future. We must stake our position! Decent incomes, secure jobs, a quality work environment, and a workers’ say in the decisions that affect us at work.

E tū members can be proud of our Decent Work Summit held online in February and our Jobs Expo. Right now, E tū is playing a key role in assisting redundant members find good alternative employment through our E tū Job Match.

And that’s where government policies such as Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) and the NZ Income Insurance Scheme (NZIIS) come in.

E tū members know about FPAs because E tū members have been out in front advocating for them. FPAs will provide an important minimum platform for wages and conditions across industry sectors and stop the “race to the bottom” on workers’ wages and conditions.

Legislation has been introduced into parliament for political debate. We will be working hard to ensure we get the best possible FPA law, and I am asking all E tū members to help us achieve this historic opportunity by making an online submission.

Fair Pay Agreements are important for all of us. They are about acknowledging that we must value all work in our society as a vital part of creating productive wealth at work.

The NZ Income Insurance Scheme will be a game changer for those who get made redundant. Workers will access the first ever statutory redundancy pay in New Zealand history (in addition to provisions in collective agreements). The scheme will also be life-changing for those who suffer loss of work and income through work-related health issues that ACC does not currently recognise.

We continue to advocate for policies that provide better protection against exploitative “dependent contracting” work arrangements and health and safety representative rights in smaller workplaces.

I am looking forward to our very first Matariki Public Holiday observed on 24 June this year.

E tū has played a significant role in the Government’s review of vocational education, which is transforming the way apprenticeships and work-related training is recognised and supported in Aotearoa New Zealand. Government support for apprentice training, put in place during the pandemic, comes to an end later this year and we are advocating for continued support.

It was an honour to be asked to join the Board of WorkSafe. WorkSafe is the government regulator for ensuring health, safety, and wellbeing at work through the Health and Safety at Work Act, and this is the first time a sitting union National Secretary has been on the board. My personal commitment to workplace safety comes from my own experience of serious industrial accidents and this appointment recognises our union’s strong track record of leadership in health, safety, and wellbeing for working people.

Please take the time to read our magazine and, on behalf of our National Executive, thank you for being an E tū member.