Celebrating a year of change

By Bill Newson, E tū National Secretary

E tū National Secretary, Bill Newson

Welcome to our final magazine for 2017. It’s been an eventful year and we have reason to celebrate.

Being an E tū member is about standing up together to make a difference and achieve a fairer deal at work and across our society, for working people and their families. We have certainly worked hard to achieve that this year with our historic equal pay settlement, significant gains for the Living Wage, our trend-setting wage settlements, and the formation of a Labour-led coalition Government.

Our E tū membership meetings held across New Zealand in August, our workplace meetings and our one-on-one phone contact with members overwhelmingly endorsed our General Election campaign to elect a new Government with better policies for our members.

We can be proud that, despite her busy legislative schedule, one of the first acts of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been to visit our E tū National Executive meeting.

We must now ensure this Government remains committed to addressing our most important issues: a fairer deal at work, better minimum wages and support for the Living Wage, improved health and safety participation systems, supporting skills training for recognised qualifications, and laying the groundwork for the massive changes ahead in the future of work. We will encourage the new Government to transform the lives of workers, their families and our communities.

I believe all E tū members can be rightly proud of our National Executive for endorsing our formal ongoing support for White Ribbon Day on 25 November.

On White Ribbon Day people wear a white ribbon to show that they oppose violence towards women. White Ribbon Day celebrates the many men willing to show leadership and commit to promoting safe, healthy relationships within families, and encouraging men to challenge each other on abusive attitudes and behaviour.

Once again, we have been a key sponsor of the ‘Got a Trade, Got it Made’ apprenticeship promotion campaign and we will continue to advocate for better trades training policies under our new Government.

It was the second anniversary of the launch of E tū in October and we can look back on our first two years with a degree of confidence in the vision we set out to achieve. We have successfully integrated the second biggest union in the country, membership is growing as are our delegate numbers, our last financial year produced a balanced budget, and our influence is growing as we lead the way in our campaigns.

Across our benchmark industry agreements and many hundreds of enterprise collective agreements we have achieved wage settlements which exceed the average increases of all other Kiwi working people (but see page 11 for the outrageous increases top CEOs are paying themselves).

However, we cannot be complacent. We face ongoing challenges to our employment and income security as the form and content of work transforms at a growing pace. We must ensure that we are a union that meets the needs of the worker of the future, with the strength and resources to be relevant and respected and to get results.

Thank you for being a supportive E tū member. On behalf of our elected National Executive I wish you and your families all the best for the festive season.