All eyes on Fair Pay Agreements in cleaning and security

Dan Harward Jones (left) and a new Fair Pay Agreement signer Gail Brown

We are on a roll! E tū is busy collecting the signatures we need to initiate Fair Pay Agreements in cleaning and security. We already have hundreds of the 1,000 signatures we need in each industry and are planning to initiate bargaining early next year.

Workers across Aotearoa are taking this opportunity to create better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities, and future generations. Winning a Fair Pay Agreement will mean better pay and standard conditions for everyone in a particular industry.

Green MP Teanau Tuiono with E tū members Kari Daniels and Rosey Ngakopu in Palmerston North

Since the Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 was passed in October, we’ve been travelling up and down the country with other unions on the Fair Pay Agreement Roadshow, to educate communities about this transformative new law.

E tū Youth Network Convenor and security guard, Dan Harward Jones, joined the Wellington leg of the Roadshow and found it both exciting and productive.

“It was a really good way for different unions and workers in different industries to come together and share what we have in common – the fight against low pay and poor work conditions,” Dan says.

“Together, we went to different security workplaces around Wellington and spoke to security guards about the new law. A lot of people had heard about it already. Every single guard was either keen to sign on, or keen to take information home to go read about it.”

Wellington cleaners signing up

“We also talked to a lot of people about joining E tū, and it was awesome to see people really enthusiastic about the union and our goals.”

Wellington security guards signing up

Dan says that there are clear issues to resolve in bargaining for the first Fair Pay Agreement in security.

“Better pay, that’s probably the first thing for everyone. For security guards, better training is a must as well. We also want fair and consistent hours, and of course, workplace safety.”

As cleaners’ and security guards’ work is spread out across our cities and towns, it’s a steady process to get the 1,000 signatures necessary to initiate our first E tū Fair Pay Agreements. We’re looking forward to the summer season of events, where we will be able to talk to both security guards and cleaners in greater numbers, and expect to be ready to initiate early next year.

Meanwhile, we might be on a fast track for a Fair Pay Agreement for some E tū members in hospitality, as the other hospitality union, UNITE, has been collecting signatures to initiate a Fair Pay Agreement. This will likely cover hundreds of E tū members including those working at Sky City Casino, The Cordis Hotel, and other hotels, clubs, bars, and restaurants across Aotearoa.

E tū activist and cleaner Karena Kelland during the Invercargill leg of the roadshow

While this Fair Pay Agreement will have very broad coverage, there are issues that unite many workers in hospitality, such as low pay, poor hours of work, and a lack of training and upskilling opportunities. Many people in hospitality work simply don’t have meaningful access to a union, so Fair Pay Agreements are an obvious way to fix the problems in the industry.