Everyone deserves Decent Work

What does ‘decent work’ mean to you? That’s the question E tū members are discussing as we get ready for our next big campaign.

The Decent Work campaign brings together many strands of E tū’s existing work, such as our campaigns for a Just Transition, Fair Pay Agreements, the Living Wage, and social insurance.

On top of that, there is a Decent Work Charter in development, and E tū will host a Decent Work Summit in February 2022, to which E tū member leaders in Auckland will be invited.

The campaign is there for all E tū members to own – we all know what is needed to make our work decent and we know that we deserve no less. For some it might be better wages, for others it might be increased job security.

NZ Post worker Misty Fergusson attended one of E tū’s first Decent Work trainings and knows what Decent Work means to her.

“It’s about giving everyone a fair fighting chance,” Misty says.

“It’s things like Fair Pay Agreements and the Living Wage. That’s a really big one – if I was getting paid over the Living Wage for my job, I’d be so much better off. It wouldn’t be as much of a struggle as it is now.”

The Decent Work training discussed the idea of social insurance, which is a guaranteed income for people who are made redundant, set at a much more liveable level than the basic benefit. Misty thinks it’s a really good idea.

“Social insurance would be a good last resort to help families while they look for other employment, especially better employment, after losing their job. It would help so many people.

“It would mean you had so many better options, instead of MSD just shoving you into the first job they can get you, expecting you to stick it out on the minimum wage.”

Misty says that E tū’s education programme is well worth participating in.

“The thing I like about the E tū training is that it opens your eyes up to the idea of living better. Everyone wants to live better, but not many people know how to get from A to B. The E tū training shows you new horizons, where changes for the better are a reality, not just a dream.”

E tū has identified four key pillars that underpin our Decent Work thinking:

A decent income

  • A minimum of a Living Wage for directly employed and contracted workers employed on a regular and ongoing basis
  • Pay rates reflective of skills and responsibility
  • Leave provisions, for holidays, sickness, bereavement, and parental leave recognised in employment agreements
  • Equal pay

Secure work

  • Provision for stable work, including social insurance
  • Processes for restructuring and redundancy that mean workers are no worse off
  • Options for training and development
  • Guaranteed work hours
  • Family-friendly approach to hours and location of work

A quality work environment

  • Safe and healthy work, with the elimination of physical and psychological harm, and an end to violence, harassment, and discrimination
  • Reasonable and managed time pressures, with the elimination of excessive hours, unmanageable deadlines or excessively intensive work
  • Opportunities to learn, including on-the-job training
  • Healthy workplace culture, including appropriate tikanga, recognition of diversity, good planning, and work organisation

Workers’ voice

  • Promotion of collective bargaining and union representation
  • Recognised structures for ongoing engagement with workers and union representatives
  • Ability to genuinely influence decisions in the workplace, company, and industry

What does ‘decent work’ mean to you? Take this survey to let us know.