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Editorial: Looking ahead to 2023

Welcome to this final edition of our union magazine for 2022.

We close a tough year for working people. E tū members have been experiencing increased inflation on already stretched family and personal budgets.

The importance of a Living Wage and wage increases that protect our incomes against inflation are more important now than they have ever been. In the last edition of our magazine, I acknowledged those members who have made a stand for decent pay increases in recent times.

We need a better wage-setting model that provides fairness to all who work to create wealth for others and that’s why we have a lot to celebrate in the passing of historic Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) in October.

It is fair to say that E tū has led the way on FPAs to ensure a platform of improved minimum employment conditions and to stop the ‘race to the bottom’ on workers’ wages. My thanks to all members who supported us with submissions and select committee hearings.

We can now look forward to establishing our first industry-based Fair Pay Agreements in 2023.

I have reinforced the importance of union democracy in previous introductions to our magazine. You can judge the strength of a union by the depth of its democracy.

E tū has a deep democratic structure. Our successful Biennial Conference, the highest policy making body in our union, held in July provides testament to that.

Our final National Executive meeting of this year will be appointing our Industry Councils from among expressions of interest from delegates across our union.

I am looking forward to our next round of regional Delegate Forums next April. These will be our first in-person Delegate Forums since Covid hit us in 2020. Held across our country, the Forums will be a key democratic event and I am asking all E tū delegates to try to attend.

Later in 2023 we will have our Biennial Membership Meetings, a chance for all members to hear about our union strategies and have a say.

Next year will be a year of democracy in a wider sense with the 2023 General Election providing an opportunity for all of us to have our say.

In E tū we understand that unions cannot have strong industrial outcomes without an effective political voice. In the coming general election we will be engaging on the issues and policies that effectively support workers – that is our job.

We have our sights on the issue of exploitative “dependent contracting” employment models that push all of the risk and little reward onto the shoulders of those who can least afford it.

The E tū and FIRST Union victory in the Uber case is an important first step, but we need to continue to advocate for legislative changes that resolve the core question in regard to dependent contracting – is the person doing the work genuinely in business
for themselves, or for someone else?

In 2023 we will also continue to advocate for continued apprentice training support. It was great to see our Government extend the Apprentice Boost programme in the 2022 budget, but we need to extend that support over the coming uncertain times.

I want to close by acknowledging our E tū workplace health and safety representatives. We continue to advocate for further improvement in ensuring a workers’ voice for health and safety with the extension of health and safety representation rights to all workplaces, not just those with 20 or more employees.

Please take the time to read our magazine and, on behalf of our National Executive, all the best wishes for the New Year summer period.

Thank you for being an E tū member.

E tū organising

Good gains for Lifewise workers more than a year on from summer of strikes

Two summers ago, Lifewise community support workers stood out in the heat in a busy Auckland suburban street, day after day, striking for better pay and conditions.

Now, a little over a year on from their first-ever collective agreement, things have really turned a corner for workers.

In August, workers ratified their second collective agreement, which meant a total 5% pay rise that the company agreed to before the Government mandated rise of 3%, $1 more per hour for weekend work, and mileage reimbursement rates up to 70 cents a kilometre.

Delegate Susie Kaio, who was one the delegate team who saw members through nearly three months of strikes in 2020 and 2021, says she “couldn’t be more happy” with the new agreement.

“I was ecstatic, to be very honest. This time around bargaining with our new management, it felt like it was about wanting to make lifewise better for the home care workers.”

Members will also have access to a collective bereavement fund, if they find themselves running out of bereavement leave and still needing time off work.

Fellow delegate Christine Faga says while some members wanted to bargain for longer, she thinks overall people are feeling good.

“We’re the only ones we know of that have got a pay rise. I think we got a fair agreement, given the environment we’re in now.”

Strike action brings all Assa Abloy members above the Living Wage

For Assa Abloy delegate and night shift worker Ralph Greig, it’s the first time in years he hasn’t had to work two jobs to get by, despite regularly working around 50 hours a week at the plant.

After a day of strike action in June and months of continued negotiations, members at the Auckland lock manufacturer finally won a decent pay rise in their new collective agreement.

Assa Abloy members on the day of the strike

With at least 9% and backpay in their first year, followed by 3% in the second, Ralph says Assa Abloy members are “elated”, and he’s at last able to give up part time weekend work.

Before the raise, members at the plant were doing at least 10 hours of regular overtime each week to pay the bills. Now, everyone has been brought up to at least the Living Wage rate of $23.65.

“For our members, their overtime has dropped by quite some percentage. It’s made a big difference what we went for and what we got.”

If the cost of living rises again next year by more than 7%, members will also get an additional 1% added to their pay.

Ralph says it’s been a big turnaround from the company, after members explained it was “shameful” to see workers who had been there for more than 10 years still earning under the Living Wage.

“The strike was mainly to make the company realise that we were all united in our demands, which were very practical and reasonable.

“Now, we are all happy, there’s no sourness left. Things have fallen into place.”

New pathway to Living Wage and stable jobs with security collective

From now on, all E tū members working for FIRST Security have the option to move to the Living Wage.

Thanks to their new collective agreement, around 200 members now have a pathway to a Living Wage rate – the first time union members have had such a win with a big security employer.

Members can complete their Level 3 training – which the company pays for – to receive the Living Wage, and the company needs to offer the training within 18 months.

Delegate and bargaining team member Rosey Ngakopu says although it was her first time in the negotiating room, straight away she took the approach of being open and transparent, leaving emotions to one side, and sticking to the facts.

E tū delegate and FIRST Security bargaining team member Rosey Ngakopu

“They didn’t hold back and we didn’t hold anything back. We met in the middle and we talked it all out – otherwise we won’t come to an agreement,” she says.

“You also need to have guards’ experience to back up your claims. I came with evidence, so it was very easy to get into it, negotiate, and move onto the next claim.

Members who have also been working at the company as casuals but with regular shift patterns will also be given the option to move to a permanent contract after 12 weeks, provided they have a good performance review.

Rosey says, “We are now respected guards working for FIRST, and we built that through the conversations in bargaining.”

Take off for renewed Airbus collective after strike action

After months of taking action to secure decent wages, E tū aircraft engineers who work at Airbus, finally reached an agreement with the company.

More than 100 engineers in Marlborough and Manawatū will now get a pay rise of more than 6% and then 5% in the second year of their collective agreement, as well as some additional allowances.

Airbus engineers mainly service military aircraft, alongside private work on civilian planes.

During the prolonged strike action, members didn’t go off base or do overtime, as well as refused to do certain tasks, delaying maintenance on planes like those used for disaster relief.

One of the Airbus delegates Bill Frost says the strike was a bit of an “eye opener” as to the power of collective action.

“While members are generally relieved that the industrial action is over, it’s been quite a positive experience and the show of support from people has been really humbling,” he says.

“There was amazing generosity – a food bank, pledges of money towards a war-chest type of thing – as not being able to do overtime was biting a bit for some members.”

Members will renegotiate their next collective in 2024.

Packaging workers mass joint strikes for decent pay and better lives

Mass strikes have paid off for more than 100 E tū packaging members who have now secured pay rises and more overtime pay.

Packaging members first joint strike and picket was a success, despite the weather

For around a month in September, members from Visy Board in Wiri, Charta Packaging, and Opal Kiwi Packaging took strike action collectively and individually outside their worksites.

With many working anywhere from 60-70 hours a week to get by, members wanted a decent pay rise to keep with the rising cost of living.

Many members say they work long overtime hours just to survive

Visy members also wanted their overtime to start at 40 hours, rather than 50 hours.

Now pay rates will go up by 7.3% at Visy Board Wiri and Charta Packaging and 6% at Opal Kiwi Packaging this year.

Visy Board delegate Reeaz Ali says the strike was key to getting a better deal for workers.

“All the boys are pretty happy, telling me that if they had never striked, they never would have won that.

“We’ve never striked before, but now we’ll get a pay increase and time and a half pay from 45 hours.”

Wellington musicians join E tū to develop industry pay standards

E tū, is rebuilding its power with new independent musicians coming on board, reviving our musician union identity with fresh initiatives to improve the industry.

E tū and WMA members Chris Armour (right) and Miles Calder (left). PHOTO: Nick George

A group of musicians in Wellington who have also formed their own advocacy group, the Wellington Musicians Association (WMA), are the latest members to sign up to E tū, after they found themselves needing to resolve issues around their pay for a music festival run by the council.

A WMA leader, guitarist and new E tū member, Chris Armour says it was the “catalyst” for local musicians to organise and voice concerns, and also get in touch with E tū for support.

He says the situation highlighted the lack of any framework or collective voice in place to protect the rights of musicians or to ensure basic, fair minimums of pay and conditions.

“There are no established rules, so it’s a bit like the wild west – particularly surrounding minimums,” he says.

“You have situations where world class musicians are playing on stage for minimum wage or less.”

The group then decided to gather data from around 300 musicians who had performed at the festival, going back to 2004.

Their research showed when everything was taken into account, the musicians were being paid roughly $11 per hour (adjusted for inflation).

Alongside securing commitments for pay and conditions for future festival work, they are also now working with E tū to develop an online Living Wage ‘calculator’ to help independent musicians work out how much to charge for particular types of gigs.

Chris says that establishing industry wide minimum rates will help to create a Living Wage for musicians that can scale with cost of living and provide a framework of minimum pay that will fairly account for their skills, experience, and profile – and one they can build on.

“The end goal is to have these rates function as a line in the sand. Exposure is not, and never has been, a substitute for fair pay.

“We want to change the idea that music itself as a profession or artform can’t be tied to a minimum expectation of labour and costs, because it’s quantifiable,” he says.

Broad-based organising gets moving in Auckland

The ‘broad-based organising’ approach describes a diverse range of community groups of civil society organisations working together towards common goals. 

We’re familiar with how successful that can be thanks to the Living Wage Movement. 

E tū is excited to be a founding member of Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga, a new broad-based alliance in Auckland, focused on some of the biggest issues facing our communities, such as housing, decent work, and the issues affecting migrants and former refugees. 

The alliance is made up of community, faith, union, and Māori organisations who all have a history of fighting for social justice in Aotearoa. 

The recent commitment of 36 organisations to work together as Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga is a milestone in re-building democracy in Aotearoa’s biggest city. The name was gifted by the Māori Women’s Welfare League, and represents the values of aroha (love), utu (reciprocity), manaakitanga (care,dignity), tautoko (support), awhi (embrace,assist), and mahitahi (working together for the common good). 

Upgrading democracy in Aotearoa

The Government has launched the Independent Electoral Review, to investigate ways of improving democracy in Aotearoa. There are many interesting decisions to make in this space, such as what the voting age should be, how often we should have general elections, and the various ways in which election results shape our Parliament.

As a democratic and politically involved union, E tū has important knowledge and perspectives to add to the review. We are currently working on a submission, and E tū Co-President Muriel Tunoho says the most important point is to remedy improved access to, engagement and consistency in our democratic system.

“It is ridiculous having a different voting process to elect MPs into Parliament and local body representatives onto Councils.  This can be extremely confusing and it compounds the real barrier for those where English is not their first language.”

“Many of our E tū members do not have regular work hours, some have difficulty with access to transport, and they may have limited understanding of how democracy works.”

“When calling around members for various election campaigns, we often find that people simply do not have the time and ability to make their voices heard on the ballot paper.”

“Although voters have the ability to cast special votes in some circumstances, the process for that can be quite complicated and intimidating – especially if you aren’t already familiar with the voting process.  There is a lot of room for improvement, and the wisdom of our union will have a positive impact on this review.”

There will also be a separate Future of Local Government review which looks at finding ways to make democracy better at the local level, like council elections. 

Muriel says it’s important to have consistency between the two processes.

“One really disappointing thing was seeing reports of special voting places running out of ballot forms for people who were ready to vote, many for the first time. That simply is not good enough.”

Would you like to make a submission on the Independent Electoral Review? Click here!

Living Wage people power at the local elections

The Living Wage has become well-established as a hot local elections issue. 

E tū always joins with other unions, faith groups, and community organisations in the Living Wage Movement to put our Living Wage expectations to candidates as a crucial part of the Living Wage victories we have had across Aotearoa.

This year was no different. The Living Wage Forums held in Auckland, Hamilton, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Christchurch, and Invercargill all had their unique local flavour, and all called on their council candidates to progress their Living Wage journey.  

In Auckland, the new mayor Wayne Brown attended the Forum and signed up to all the asks, including, applying for accreditation as an official Living Wage Council this term – a huge milestone for the Auckland arm of the Movement. 

Mayors and councillors supporting the Living Wage were elected in many other parts of the country. 

The community turned out for a lively forum in Invercargill, where E tū delegate Karen Brown shared her story of how important it was to win the Living Wage at Southern Institute of Technology, where she works as a cleaner.  

“As a cleaner, I’ve struggled to pay bills because our rate of pay was the lowest in any Polytech in New Zealand,” Karen told the crowd.

“I’m now on the Living Wage, after 22 years. It took a lot of struggle, a lot of fight, and a lot of energy to get there. Since we’ve had the Living Wage, our lives have turned around. We can actually live our lives comfortably.

“That’s why I’m calling on our local government to pay the Living Wage. I know that there are council cleaners her in Invercargill that are now on the minimum wage, and it’s time for council to step up.”

All candidates in attendance stood up to indicate their support for the Living Wage asks, including full implementation of the Living Wage and championing the Living Wage in the local community. 

In Auckland, Invercargill, and everywhere in between, local E tū activists put in the hard yards to make the forums a success. 

With many E tū members working for councils or companies that contract services to councils, we know that winning commitments from candidates truly helps improve the lives of E tū members, their families, and their communities.

We have finally won Fair Pay Agreement law!

The Fair Pay Agreements Bill is now the Fair Pay Agreements law! This is a gigantic milestone for E tū, after years of campaigning for this transformational new system for industry-wide bargaining.

E tū members and our allies across the union movement witnessed the Third Reading of the bill in parliament last month. We welcomed the occasion with cheers, tears, hugs, and waiata.

Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards for pay and conditions across entire industries, with unions negotiating with employers on behalf of everyone.

Rosey Ngakopu, a Wellington-based security guard and E tū member leader, has already been signing people up for a Fair Pay Agreement in security.

“I’m super excited,” Rosey says. “It’s been a long journey. Now it’s about getting cleaners and security guards to sign on and sign up. Then we can really win the pay and conditions we know we deserve.”

“Fair Pay Agreements are the way of the future, to constructively address the issues between our employers and us. I can see that we really can work together to find better solutions and get rid of the underlying problems we have always faced as workers.”

To initiate a Fair Pay Agreement, unions need to collect signatures from at least 1,000 workers in an industry, or 10% of workers – whichever number is smaller. E tū is focusing on cleaning and security for our first Fair Pay Agreements, as these jobs are some of the worst affected by poor conditions and poverty wages.

“My message to all security guards and cleaners in Aotearoa is don’t wait – sign up for our Fair Pay Agreements today,” Rosey says.

To sign up for a Fair Pay Agreement in cleaning or security, click here!

Editorial: An action-packed season

Kia ora E tū members, welcome to the Spring edition of our union magazine for 2022.

We began this year grappling collectively as a nation with Omicron, the third wave of the global Covid pandemic. Our Government has done well to lead our country through the unforeseeable public-health, employment, and economic impact of the three pandemic phases of Covid, Delta and Omicron.

However, the legacy of fighting that pandemic is now being felt globally as inflation and increasing interest rates impact on the cost of living for working people and their families.

E tū members are meeting that challenge, and I would like to begin by acknowledging E tū members who have been taking a stand to achieve collective agreement settlements that protect their wages against inflation.

While we always strive for negotiated settlements in good faith, sometimes members find it necessary to put notice of industrial action on their employer and to take strike action.

Here are just some of the workplaces in which E tū members have elected to take industrial action in recent times, sometimes gaining a last-minute settlement as a result:  Asahi, ETEL, Assa Abloy, McKechnies, Allied Press (ODT), Mainland Poultry, Pan Pac, NZ Starch, Pacific Coil Coaters, Fletcher Easy Steel, Visy, Opal, Charta, DB, Nexans, Forbo Siegling. I know that there have been others – it is inevitable that I will have missed some members out, my apologies for that.

These members, and others, express the industrial strength of E tū that we can bring into play when necessary. E tū deploys industrial, legal and political strategies to represent the best interests of our members; we know that we can’t achieve strong industrial outcomes without having an effective political and legal voice.

We know from international experience that an effective industry-wide platform of employment conditions stops the ‘race to the bottom’ on worker’s wages and lifts the bar for everyone working in that industry over time. That’s why we have been out front on Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs).

FPAs are the most significant change to New Zealand employment law in 30 years and became law in Parliament on 26 October.  We are now moving to initiate and negotiate our first FPAs in 2023. My thanks again to all members who supported us in this historic achievement.

E tū has also achieved some significant legal victories in recent times that establish potential precedents for our wider membership and those who come after us.

We won an important ruling in the CHH ‘leave harvesting’ case, defining entitlement to annual holidays and clarifying the principle that employers cannot force employees to use accumulated leave to offset pay, as happened during the Covid lock-down.

In another hugely significant case, E tū and FIRST Union worked together on a legal challenge to the Uber-driver dependent contractor model, and we won.

In a ruling that has wider potential impact, Uber drivers were found to be in an employment relationship rather than dependent contractors, and therefore entitled to legal minimum employment rights and protections, including the minimum wage, guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick leave, KiwiSaver contributions and the right to challenge an unfair dismissal.

This landmark legal decision came through the morning after Labour Day, a paid public holiday brought to you by the union movement.

In many ways these are historic achievements for New Zealand working people, and Labour Day provided an opportunity to commemorate those who came before us to establish important employment rights and protections.

E tū is involved in a number of other important commemorations over this period.

On 12 November, I look forward to joining mining members to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Waihi mining strike and the tragic death of union member Frederick Evans. 

On 19 November, we acknowledge the 12th anniversary of the Pike River Mine disaster in which 29 miners and contractors, the ‘Pike 29’, lost their lives.

Finally, 28 November is the 43rd anniversary of the Erebus Air NZ disaster in which 237 passengers and 20 crew were killed when Air NZ TE901 crashed into Mount Erebus, Antarctica. We will be honouring those cabin crew who perished at a special ceremony at the commemorative garden near Auckland Airport.

Our recent achievements, and commemorating the struggles and losses of the past, remind us that employing people is a privilege to be carefully valued, and not a right, and that unions give dignity, equity, and respect to that privilege through the strength of collective solidarity.

On behalf of our E tū National Executive and all E tū staff, thank you for being an E tū member.



Keen to serve on your Industry Council?

Our National Executive is calling for Expressions of Interest from any E tū delegates who may be interested in being appointed to our Industry Councils. Under E tū Rules Industry Council delegates are appointed by our National Executive every two years.  

E tū Industry Councils are a key part of our E tū democracy and they have a significant role to play in our industry strategies. Made up of elected workplace delegates from across the country, our Industry Councils meet at least twice a year to contribute to the development of industry strategies that meet the union’s goals and purpose, and to advise the National Executive on issues relevant to its industry. 

We have six E tū Industry Councils and all E tū members are allocated within these six industry groupings: Aviation; Communications; Community Support Services; Engineering, Infrastructure and Extractives; Food and Manufacturing; and Public and Commercial Services.  Each Industry Council elects a convenor who sits on our National Executive and each Industry Council elects a representative to the E tū Conference. 

How to make an application:
To submit an expression of interest application, please click here.
Applications must be received by 5pm on Friday 11 November 2022


Watch out for scams!

Phone and online scams are getting more sophisticated, and more people are getting caught out. This has been happening to people across Aotearoa, including E tū members. Often, a scammer will send a convincing email (or even make a phone call) appearing to be a bank or other organisation you belong to, in an attempt to steal your private information or even money from your bank account. Netsafe has provided some useful information to help people avoid getting scammed. Click here to check it out. 

E tū organising

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.”