E tū organising

A group of members after voting to ratify the three-year deal

New scope for pay rises with journalists’ collective at NZME

This year members at media company NZME, which owns NZ Herald, will be getting a pay bump close to inflation with the added potential for individual pay reviews undertaken in “good faith” by the company.

All members will receive 5%, with the opportunity for further pay rises by requesting an individual performance review. Pay brackets for NZME journalists have also been increased by $4000 each.

Delegate Tom Dillane says the negotiations with the company were constructive, and it promised to enter into personal pay reviews in good faith.

“Members seem pretty happy with the 5% collective increase. We’re also trying our best to get as many people to take up individual pay reviews on top of the collective increase and we’ve had a decent uptake already.”

Tom says the increase in the pay bands is also progress for journalists looking to join the company.

“For a junior role, the company won’t be able to pay them under 50 grand which is at least a move in the right direction. No one should be on an income under 50 grand.”

Solid increases for NZ Post members in new Redbook

It’s not often that you get more than 30 delegates around a table, but with more than 1000 members at NZ Post, big bargaining is the norm.

And bargain big they did. Members in the first three pay grades will see their pay boosted by around $120 extra a week, with increases ranging between 11% up to almost 16% in the first year of the agreement. Members already in higher pay grades received between 7% and 8% in the first year. Then for the next two years, members receive 3% plus 3%.

Long-time delegate Missy Moreau says pay was the claim at the top of the list for the collective agreement, known as the ‘Redbook’.

“I think in the kind of climate that we’re in now, this was a really good one for our people and the membership,” she says.

“With the cost of everything, we need more money.”

Even with a solid collective agreement in place, there’s still more work to do. Another long-time delegate Terry Howells says members would have preferred a shorter term of two years, and higher pay rises for those in higher pay grades.

“The posties and processing staff are very happy with what they got, but a lot of the higher pay grades who have been with the company for years feel they aren’t getting rewarded for it. We fought hard to get bigger rises for the higher grades too, but unfortunately weren’t able to reach an agreement with NZ Post as it wasn’t willing to spend more on wages.”

Care and support members file new claim against employers to raise pay rates for all workers

Around the country, members working in care and support have been marching in the streets, calling local MPs, and signing petitions, to call on the Government to raise their pay by more than 3% in the renewed legislation that sets down their pay and conditions.

In May, members from E tū, the PSA, and NZNO rallied in main centres and regional towns in bursts of colour and energy.

They also delivered a petition to Parliament with more than 10,000 signatures, collected in just 10 days.

However, the Government refused to move on their 3% pay offer.

Unions have now taken the first step towards wage justice for care and support workers by filing a pay equity claim on 1 July – the first day it was possible to do so.

The process is expected to take around 18 months.

Convenor of E tū’s Community Support Services Industry Council, Marianne Bishop, says many members are upset about the Government’s pay rise, which is also set down for the same 18-month period.

“Given that people worked through the pandemic in difficult circumstances – it’s a bit of a kick in the guts only offering us 3% when inflation is now over 7%.

Auckland members from E tū, PSA, and NZNO rally in Kingsland

“We have to keep helping and talking to each other, and keep building our membership and strength, so new members will be part of the success of the improved settlement too.”

Delegate and home care support worker Patricia Wilshier, inspired to join the sector after a long recovery from her own injury, says she’s encouraged her employer is very supportive of the pay equity claim and “one-hundred percent for us to get a pay rise”.

“We struggle with staff shortages, and yet it’s the most rewarding and amazing career anyone could have,” she says.

“We need workers to know, “You are valuable – people are depending on you. You need to get paid what you’re worth!”

Members at big Northland home support provider win first collective agreement

A new collective agreement is a great start for home support workers at a large Northland provider to win better working conditions.

Home Support North bargaining team members (from left) Sabrina Munro and Hemoata Foley

The one-year agreement has important changes to workers’ guaranteed hours to make it fairer and easier for them to pick up the hours of work they need.

Members also receive a one-off $250 payment, a pay incentive at the top qualification level, and can access free counselling for the first time.

E tū member Hemoata Foley – one of the bargaining team of two – says members are pleased, despite industry-wide problems with low pay and having to use their own cars for the job.

“One lady who has been working at Home Support North for 13 years said that workers had never had anything like this before, and they’re happy that they won these improvements.”

Take-off for aviation membership after the pandemic

Member Seema Suri (centre) rejoined
E tū as soon as she came back on board as cabin crew

As travel opens up, aviation workers are rebuilding their union power.

Air New Zealand’s contact centre has seen around 50 new members join E tū in just one month, as more new workers have been hired to cope with the huge demand for customer service.

Delegate Scott Marks says the team has been crying out for new workers for months, as call volumes stretched into the hundreds and wait times into hours.

And with union bargaining starting in August, it’s the perfect time to let workers know about E tū.

“When management announced it would be hiring new staff, we organised fairly quickly – mapping out the call centre to work out where our existing members were and tailoring a message to go out to every single non-union member,” he says.

“At their induction, we also go along and talk to staff about the benefits of union membership.”

The results have been promising, with union density at around 70% and membership numbers up by around a third. E tū’s long-term goal is for all aviation workplaces to be 100% union.

“Every single member who joins just makes us stronger and gives us better outcomes when we go into bargaining,” Scott says.

Cabin crew have also been rejoining E tū as they return to flying after losing their jobs in the pandemic, like former Virgin cabin crew Seema Suri.

Now starting back on the 787s at Air New Zealand, Seema says she “couldn’t be happier” to be back.

One of her first priorities? “I wouldn’t have started flying again without joining the union.”

Impressive strike action puts most members at transformer manufacturer ahead of Living Wage

ETEL members’ one-day strike turned their pay offer around

Members at an Auckland transformer manufacturing plant celebrated when most members won a pay rise that puts their hourly rate above the Living Wage.

Around 100 members from ETEL went on strike on a wintry morning in June, showing plenty of determination and energy on the picket line.

Their hard work means the majority of members, who are also the lowest paid, will move to $24 per hour by December, with a pay bump to $22.80 per hour in the meantime.

Overall, all members will receive at least 8% by the end of the year, with a further 2% in mid-2023, if the price of goods and services gets up to 10%.

The ETEL delegate team says the situation in the end was “win-win”.

“Everyone worked really hard to get where they are. We had a good negotiating team and fought hard.”

Most members were happy with the outcome, says the team: “They got together as a big family and did what they had to do.”

Eggstraordinary results after poultry workers organise for decent pay

Members from Zeagold and Mainland Feed had their first-ever strike for two days in June and July

This year, members from an egg production factory and feed producer decided to take a stand for better pay.

In June, members at ZeaGold and Mainland Feed, both owned by Mainland Poultry, voted to strike, with some donning chicken costumes and heading for the picket line.

After two strike days, the end result was eggstraordinary: a 10% increase after years of just ones and twos, with no pass-on. New workers will start on no less than the Living Wage for 2021-22 of $22.75.

For around 90 members in Auckland and the South Island covered by the one-year collective agreement, it’s a welcome change.

Delegate Hans Van Der Laan, who works at Zeagold’s main egg farm in Waikouaiti near Dunedin, says historically workers had taken whatever the company was offering without complaint.

But when he got around the bargaining table and was presented with the same sort of wage offer, he thought, “this year is the year we stand up and do something”.

“This is the biggest increase I can recall in more than 10 years,” Hans says.

Auckland delegate David Pearce says while taking industrial action was a “last resort”, members are “very, very pleased” at the changes.

“There have been challenges on both sides – for the company and for us. But we’ve achieved some great outcomes in terms of better rates of pay and working conditions.”

David says he hopes the new collective will mean members feel they’re on a more “equal footing” with the company the next time around.

Member power generates big win at timber company

South Pine members came together as a team to win better pay

E tū and FIRST Union members from a large South Island timber mill are stoked with their recent win after a snap strike, calling for pay that was on par with other timber companies in the area.

After one and a half days of hard yards on the picket line, South Pine members in Nelson secured a pay rise of 7.2% to match inflation. Other wins were a start rate of $23.30 – bringing it closer to the 2022/23 Living Wage rate of $23.65, and a flat rate of $34 per hour for trades workers with most previously on $28–$32 per hour.

Long-time delegate Dave Barton says the decision to strike was entirely “member generated”.

“The members made this happen, and I’m really proud of what they achieved. Aside from pay increases, the biggest outcome of the strike is the solidarity we had with our union members who all pulled together as a really cohesive team.”

The agreement, which is for one year, will also include several months’ backpay, including overtime.

Another delegate Kurt Collier, who works as a tradie, says members are “rapt”.

“The lower-paid guys are ecstatic. It’s life changing and is more than a loaf of bread a week for some people.”

Morale at work has completely changed, he says. “It’s like another workplace.”