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PMN members lead the change with new menstrual leave policy

“Why can’t we be the change?” was delegate Sia Petelo’s thinking when she went into bargaining to fight for members’ claim to have menstrual leave introduced at her media company.

To her knowledge, Pacific Media Network or PMN is the first company and first media company in Aotearoa to offer leave for members for menstrual or menopause-related reasons.

Since December, E tū members at PMN now have 12 days of menstrual or menopause leave per year.

Sia, a radio host at Niu FM, says the idea of putting in a claim for menstrual leave came up after there was a kōrero about it on air and a PMN colleague raised the issue.

Before even taking the claim into bargaining, Sia says she and fellow union members did their own research by talking to Pacific GPs and meeting to discuss if menstrual leave was introduced, what it would look like and why it was important to them.

“As a Pacific community, we already have a lot of taboo and stigma around topics that we should talk about regularly within our own communities, especially because they’re important.

“So as a media company, I saw it as our collective is right: [talking about these issues] pretty much starts within our brand or our company.”

When Sia, as the sole delegate on the bargaining team, initially presented the claim, it was turned down.

Amid all the doubt and pressure, Sia says along the way she realised that she was going to have to push for change on behalf of her PMN sisters.

With encouragement from fellow union members and her organiser, she stepped back into the bargaining session, which was taking place via Zoom, and spoke from the heart.

“One of my points when I challenged their ‘no’ was, ‘okay, we are a Pacific media company, we are a media company, we use our platform to share great news, breaking news, bad news, any kind of news.

“‘We especially share news when there is groundbreaking change in the world, whether it be good or bad. Why are we not doing the same, and pretty much walking our talk?’”

Management went away to consider their response and then came back with a yes. Sia says she was emotional.

“I was in so much shock that I started crying. It was a cry of relief, but also I was crying because I was proud. I was crying because I couldn’t believe it, I was crying because I was like, ‘damn, the collective just did it.’

“As much as people keep coming and saying, ‘Well done, Sia’, ‘Well done, Sia’, it’s not well done, Sia.

“It’s well done PMN union collective, all thanks to the people that helped us behind the scenes, the E tū union. It is a collective effort.”

For the moment, the special leave is only available to union members, which Sia says she feels is fair for now.

However, all women at the company have benefitted, as the company now offers free sanitary products in the women’s bathroom.

Now fielding interview requests from as far afield as news stations in America about the ground-breaking leave policy, Sia says she also wants to get another message out.

“It definitely wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the union, and so I only hope that that when people hear about this – and whether they agree with it or not – I hope that they look at the bigger picture that as a collective you can make change.”

Members getting active in local government elections 2022

Many E tū members are getting active now in the local government elections to take place in October this year.

Nureddin Abdurahman is one of a number of E tū members running for a position and in the next magazine we will have a full rundown for you.

Nurieddin is in the Paekawakawa Southern Ward in Wellington and he is encouraging all E tū members to get out and vote, wherever in the country they are.

“It’s all about democracy, with communities choosing who will make the hard decisions on our behalf,” Nureddin says.

“From the moment you wake up and turn on the tap, to when you leave the house whether you are using active, public, or private transport, to when you come home and turn on the lights – these are all things that rely on councils keeping the infrastructure working.”

“You need to make sure you trust the people making those decisions, so you need to vote. I’m running in this election simply because I want to make life easier for everyone in our communities.”

In local government elections you get to decide who makes important decisions in your local area, whether that’s the mayors, city councillors, regional councillors, or local boards. Decisions made at this level are often the most important decisions for working people, our families, and our communities. From housing to stadiums, footpaths to streetlights, libraries to parks, drinking water to rubbish collection – councils make it all happen.

Local representatives also make decisions about the wages of directly employed workers, as well as the contracting and procurement decisions that cover anyone doing work for a council. This is one of the main reasons E tū gets active in the campaigns, winning the Living Wage for council workers across Aotearoa.

E tū members have often identified housing costs as one of the biggest issues that affects their lives. Local authorities have a huge role to play in this, whether it’s by directly providing social housing, supporting the infrastructure needed in new and existing neighbourhoods, or developing planning and zoning rules that allow our communities to grow and thrive.

E tū’s campaign for Fair Pay Agreements finally delivers a Bill!

It’s the moment we have been waiting for! After nearly five years of campaigning, we finally have a Fair Pay Agreement Bill going through parliament, and about to become law. Now it’s time for submissions – and it’s easy! Follow the link to tell Parliament why you want Fair Pay Agreements: Click here to get started on your submission!

Fair Pay Agreements will be the best change for workers in decades. By establishing a system for workers and our unions to negotiate minimum pay and conditions that will cover every worker in an industry or occupation, Fair Pay Agreements will set a level playing field that helps everyone get ahead.

Click here to learn more about how Fair Pay Agreements will work.

E tū members have led the campaign for Fair Pay Agreements since the very beginning. Our union was instrumental in getting Fair Pay Agreements into Labour Party policy, we’ve lobbied MPs from across the political spectrum, and members have been sharing their own thoughts and experiences with the public, to strengthen our call.

We know that good pay and conditions don’t just fall from the sky – union members win them. It has been no different with Fair Pay Agreements. E tū members have made sure this transformational policy has stayed firmly on this Government’s agenda.

We’re nearly there, but we have to keep the pressure on. Submissions on this bill are open right now. E tū has created a very straightforward tool that everyone can use to tell Parliament why we support Fair Pay Agreements.

Click here to get started on your submission!

In her own words: Watch the video below, where E tū member Iunisi Faingaanuku explains why it’s so important that everyone makes a submission on Fair Pay Agreements

Decent Work Charter launched at Summit

A Decent Work Charter has been launched at an E tū Decent Work Summit. The Charter has four pillars: a decent income, secure work, a quality work environment, and worker’s’ voice.

The Summit in February was a total hit. E tū members and our union and community allies joined forces for a day of members telling their stories, contributions from academics and experts, and discussing exciting new ideas.

E tū Industry Convenor for food and manufacturing, Edwin Ikani, explained how each of these four pillars were relevant to areas of his life and work.

“Nobody should have to earn less than the Living Wage and what they need to participate [fully in society] – everyone should be able to live with dignity, including what decent income enables, which is the material things, but also time with the family and the opportunity to make your mark,” Edwin said.

We also explored mechanisms that will help us achieve Decent Work, such as the Living Wage, Fair Pay Agreements, a Just Transition, the New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme, and a model for new employment institutions.

The Summit had to be moved online as a result of the Omicron outbreak, but that meant that members and participants from across the country could join, 260 in total! Our union has become so well equipped with digital platforms that while nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, the Summit was another demonstration of E tū members rising to a new opportunity.


Editorial: E tū and you in 2022

Welcome to the first digital edition of our union magazine for 2022.

As I write this our regional Delegate Forums are underway, and it is great to be engaging with our workplace leaders on the issues facing our membership now and into the future. The Forums are being held online due to Omicron, and I really appreciate our delegates taking the time and effort to attend.

Delegate Forums and Industry Councils are a critical part of our deep union democracy, providing an important balance of regional and industry representation to our Biennial Conference to be held on 20 and 21 July this year in Auckland.

The Omicron surge is beginning to subside, and our Government is relaxing some of the key public-health measures. We have managed the effects of the pandemic well relative to other countries, however, there have been many family tragedies.

We should remain cautious as experts are foreshadowing the potential emergence of new COVID-19 variants. The general advice is to maintain high levels of vaccination and mask use, while taking common sense precautions.

We must learn the lessons of the COVID-19 period as similar disruption could occur in future – climate change and decarbonisation of jobs, technological transformation, and economic contraction linked to global political uncertainty are all known challenges that will test our resilience.

We need to have a strong union view of what Decent Work should look like now and into that challenging future. We must stake our position! Decent incomes, secure jobs, a quality work environment, and a workers’ say in the decisions that affect us at work.

E tū members can be proud of our Decent Work Summit held online in February and our Jobs Expo. Right now, E tū is playing a key role in assisting redundant members find good alternative employment through our E tū Job Match.

And that’s where government policies such as Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) and the NZ Income Insurance Scheme (NZIIS) come in.

E tū members know about FPAs because E tū members have been out in front advocating for them. FPAs will provide an important minimum platform for wages and conditions across industry sectors and stop the “race to the bottom” on workers’ wages and conditions.

Legislation has been introduced into parliament for political debate. We will be working hard to ensure we get the best possible FPA law, and I am asking all E tū members to help us achieve this historic opportunity by making an online submission.

Fair Pay Agreements are important for all of us. They are about acknowledging that we must value all work in our society as a vital part of creating productive wealth at work.

The NZ Income Insurance Scheme will be a game changer for those who get made redundant. Workers will access the first ever statutory redundancy pay in New Zealand history (in addition to provisions in collective agreements). The scheme will also be life-changing for those who suffer loss of work and income through work-related health issues that ACC does not currently recognise.

We continue to advocate for policies that provide better protection against exploitative “dependent contracting” work arrangements and health and safety representative rights in smaller workplaces.

I am looking forward to our very first Matariki Public Holiday observed on 24 June this year.

E tū has played a significant role in the Government’s review of vocational education, which is transforming the way apprenticeships and work-related training is recognised and supported in Aotearoa New Zealand. Government support for apprentice training, put in place during the pandemic, comes to an end later this year and we are advocating for continued support.

It was an honour to be asked to join the Board of WorkSafe. WorkSafe is the government regulator for ensuring health, safety, and wellbeing at work through the Health and Safety at Work Act, and this is the first time a sitting union National Secretary has been on the board. My personal commitment to workplace safety comes from my own experience of serious industrial accidents and this appointment recognises our union’s strong track record of leadership in health, safety, and wellbeing for working people.

Please take the time to read our magazine and, on behalf of our National Executive, thank you for being an E tū member.

E tū organising

The sound of solidarity: bargaining at NZSO

Instruments, tours, performances… It’s not your regular workplace nor your regular collective.

However, the country’s only full-time and salaried orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), is a heavily unionised workplace – most of its 90 musicians are members of E tū.

In November, the bargaining team began negotiating their new collective which has a strong worker voice.

Delegate Lyndsay Mountfort says musicians are “slightly unusual employees” in the traditional sense.

“For example, a lot of what we’ve got in our collective are things like professional and artistic issues, about standards and wanting to retain a level of control for our members.”

One element of the collective that’s being reworked is around managing musicians’ performance during their orchestral career, which can be long, as they tend to settle into an orchestra and stay.

“We’re trying to replace previous processes to be lighter in touch and support players to maintain their standards.

“In most workplaces, that’s something that’s monitored by managers, but with us, we do it ourselves,” the longtime delegate says.

“We have very long careers, and it’s very much a big family – you can end up with people playing alongside their own kids!”

Taking a bow at Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga PHOTO: Latitude Creative

They’re also reviewing the symphony’s audition policy to reflect how the process happens in reality.

In orchestras around the world, a “trial period” is seen as a normal and critical part of the hiring process to make sure the fit for both parties is right, Lyndsay says.

As NZSO often recruits players internationally, new musicians may want to have played with the group in person before accepting the job, in a new city or a new country.

Players also have regular opportunities to talk with the orchestra’s board and meet with its executive around once a month.

So how does this group of musicians manage to work so closely, year after year, with high levels of trust? It’s all about solidarity, Lyndsay says.

“It’s the way we have to work – partly the environment here, as it’s the only full-time salaried orchestra in the country – and when you’re performing, it’s a team activity.

“Particularly as [in normal times] we tour more than most orchestras – sharing planes and buses, socialising and eating together. You kind of need to get on!”

Workers unite for safe staffing action day

Aged care workers are continuing to push the Government to update the current staffing recommendations and make them law.

In December, members from E tū, NZNO, and Grey Power are presenting a parliamentary petition and open letter for mandatory safe staffing to Parliament, with actions taking place at rest homes and aged care hospitals around the country.

Current staffing guidelines were set down in 2005.

They are not only woefully out of date, but are not mandatory either.

E tū member Mokasehina Vaetoru, who has 10 years of experience working in aged care, says safe staffing is about improving the lives of residents and workers.

“Everyone has the right to proper care, and having a safe number of staff means a better quality of life and quality of care for residents.

“We need a new policy that not only protects the staff and guarantees safe care for residents, but provides a minimum number of staff on the floor,” she says.

E tū member Mokasehina Vaetoru (third from left) with other members at David Lange Care Home

“Safe staffing needs to be mandatory – the residents are suffering daily and workers are injuring themselves under pressure.”

The joint campaign will continue into 2022, until aged care workers win!

See for more.

Win for two groups of Geneva community care workers

It’s a double win for Geneva members working in home and community support, and residential community living, with two collective agreements settled at the same time covering hundreds of care workers around Aotearoa.

After the hard slog of bargaining, there are some great and precedent-setting wins achieved by the bargaining teams led by delegates at Geneva.

Union members now have more sick leave than the Government’s minimum, with a union-only premium being negotiated, more bereavement leave (also for union members only), and cultural leave in line with commitments to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Geneva community living delegate Isaac Otineru says both collectives have “lots of goodies” for members, thanks to the hard work of the delegate teams.

“We’re really stoked for the outcome and what’s in it for our people in the long run,” he says.

Geneva home support delegate Colleen Frost says the bargaining process was a positive experience.

Member Colleen Frost (right) with the E tū and PSA Geneva Home and Community Support bargaining team

“We’ve more than doubled our union membership at Geneva since our last collective was settled.

“This time around, it was great to be able to make progress and create change in our sector – care is our future.”

“We rely on that pay”: Rest home workers strike over proposed cuts

Members at the only rest home in a rural Northland town took matters into their own hands after being threatened by their employer with potential redundancies if they didn’t accept the terms of their new collective.

So far, members at Claud Switzer Rest Home in Kaitaia have had two short strikes with more planned for December, in an attempt to get their employer to listen to their point of view.

The home, run by Claud Switzer Memorial Trust, has proposed cuts to members’ allowances, such as extra pay for working on weekends, along with other concerning clauses around job security, wages, and medical issues.

It also put out posters outlining a grey future if the members didn’t accept the new collective: no new building or refurbishments, leading to a reduced number of beds and then redundancies.

While strike action has led to some movement from the trust, the proposals around worrying cuts to weekend pay and others haven’t changed.

Longtime worker at Claud Switzer and E tū member Kam Wijohn only works weekends so she can care for her grandchildren during the week.

She estimates that she’ll be potentially losing thousands from her pay per year if her weekend allowance is reduced in three years’ time from an extra $5 per hour down to just $12 for the whole shift.

“My husband is on minimum wage. That’s why we compromise – he works during the week while I care for the grandkids, and I work the weekends.”

Workers say not having extra pay for weekend work will affect their budgets and staffing levels

“We have mortgages, we’re trying to pay for our own homes. To have that cut in pay would be really hard – we rely on that pay.

“We feel that our employer isn’t listening to us,” she says.

Staff turnover at Claud Switzer is already on the rise, and members say the roster is full of gaps, with weekend work being some of the hardest shifts to staff.

Members have said they will continue to strike until they get what they need from the trust.

And while it’s the “hardest thing for us to do to walk out on our residents,” E tū delegate Margaret McQuade says being on the picket line wasn’t all bad.

“Our members really enjoyed being out there together and feeling like they had a voice.”

Being on the picket line created a feeling of solidarity

Ready for take off at Jetconnect with new collective

After more than three years of on-again off-again negotiating, cabin crew at Jetconnect finally have a collective agreement.

Jetconnect, a subsidiary of Australia’s Qantas, has come under fire during the Covid crisis with cabin crew on a Special Leave Without Pay ‘furlough scheme’ for much of the year, having to find second jobs to survive. During the recent lockdown, the company was also ineligible for the wage subsidy.

But having been through such tough times, members are celebrating having a new collective agreement.

Delegate Andrew Reilly (left) with Jetconnect members

From a six percent pay rise over three years (including backpay) and a bonus payment that’s three years overdue, the team is positive about their gains, says long-time delegate Andrew Reilly.

“A lot of members are relieved that we have an agreement and that things are starting to move forwards again.”

Members’ base salary will start again in December, and they will now have eight or 12-hour reserve periods to ensure clearer rest periods.

Andrew says many members had to pick up casual jobs during Covid, which meant they worried about inconveniencing their new employers each time flying restarted at Jetconnect and they went back to their old jobs.

As the only remaining member of the original bargaining team and now a moonlighting hospital orderly, Andrew says he’s grateful to still be on board.

“I like to be positive – we have been lucky. We were stood down and told to hang around, but most got good jobs. There is still a lot of unease, but it will be great to be back in our uniforms.”

Putting the heat on to put up pay

Most weeks, factory workers at Argus Heating do overtime, making industrial electric blankets used to keep things like food at a stable temperature when it’s exported.

They might expect to work a 12-hour day during the week, plus a 10-hour day on Saturday, and a few extra hours on Sunday.

Now E tū members will not only be cutting back, but getting paid more for the hours they work – with time and a half pay on the weekend and a normal 40-hour work week.

E tū delegate Katrina Michie says members have been prepared to take strike action since April if the deal didn’t come through.

“We’ve fought long and hard to get it, and I’m very glad that management did change their mind.”

Members were prepared to strike for their overtime pay

New delegate Nu’u Fata agrees: “Every year towards summer it’s always busy and we’re always working hard, long hours, so I think getting overtime rates is a good reward and extra money.”

Katrina says most of the production team are now union members.

“Everyone wanted changes to be made, and thought the union would be a good idea to help make change.”

So what’s next on the cards? “Sorting out redundancy pay – that would be nice.”

Cabin crew rostered together again after 10 years

After almost a decade of segregated rostering, two groups of Air New Zealand A320 cabin crew will crew their first rostered flights together from next April.

Since around 2013, following a restructure, the company’s short haul cabin crew have been divided into two groups on separate rosters and ‘schedules’ of a shared collective agreement.

It meant that existing workers – who were designated the ‘Schedule 500’ cabin crew – retained their terms and conditions. It was also agreed that the two groups of workers would not be rostered on together (except if required in exceptional circumstances).

Meanwhile, newer workers – known as the ‘Schedule 400’ Cabin Crew – joined a new schedule inside this collective agreement, with differing terms and conditions that they fought to improve in the following years.

Now after years of negotiating for a variation that would bring the group under one roster, a successful variation vote was achieved.

Both groups of cabin crew will now fly together, while still retaining their respective terms and conditions.

The variation also includes improved conditions to help crew to maintain work life balance, as flying begins to ramp up and borders open.

With around a 70 percent majority vote from both schedules, delegates say members are excited for this change.

“It will be a big change of dynamic to how we have been working and we’re looking forward to this new way forward,” says long-time Schedule 500 delegate Suzanne Aull.

The change also means the Schedule 500 crew can return to flying international routes again.

A Schedule 400 delegate, Josh Nicoll, who’s been with the company for around six years, says he believes coming together is the right thing to do.

“It does help the company, but for our crew, it’s the start of a new dynamic of flying and represents new beginnings for our fleet heading into 2022.”

Creating the factories of tomorrow

Lavina Rickard didn’t expect to end up working in one of Aotearoa’s most well-known wine and food regions. But as a team leader at Sanfords with decades of experience behind her, she’s playing a role in reshaping the future of manufacturing for workers.

How did you come to be working in food production?

Marlborough is a food-producing district, so in terms of work, it’s mussels or it’s wineries. I’ve now been in the sector for 26 years.

What’s involved in your role?

I’ve been a team leader for the past 15 years – first on the processing shifts, then around 2010, I transferred to the sanitation shifts. We clean the factory and the machinery. It’s the most important shift at the Havelock site – Sanford’s only mussel site. If the hygiene specifications aren’t met, then the processing shift can’t work. I’m also a health and safety rep, fire warden, and first aider. The variety of ‘hats’ I wear are due to the different job titles I’ve held. I’ve also been an E tū delegate for more than 10 years!

Can you tell us about any unusual parts of your work?

It’s out of necessity that I work my shift from midnight to 6.00am. The hours suit me better in relation to my personal life.

Where are you originally from?

I grew up in Whangārei and came down to Blenheim at 17 to find employment. Then I studied at AUT (then AIT) in Auckland and carried on at Lincoln University. Two years in, I fell pregnant and have spent the last 26 years supporting my three children.

How did you get involved with the union?

I’ve always been union – even before Sanfords – and my family has always been union. For me, it’s just about supporting each other, and making sure workers are treated right. Being in this industry for as long as I’ve worked in it – I’ve come from the ‘bad old days’ – I know how important it is to look after people.

You’re now doing work on the Government’s Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) for advanced manufacturing. What’s it all about?

The ITP is a government initiative that involves workers, union, Māori, business leaders, academics, and scientists, working toward a goal to improve the lives of all. That means better paying jobs for current and new workers in the industry, better jobs and career opportunities. It’s also about decent working conditions, which will be beneficial not only for the workers and their families, but also their communities.

The Advanced Manufacturing ITP is about lifting the ‘manufacturing profile’ from hard, labour-intensive work, to an industry that future workers can forge a great career path in. It’s about attracting a diverse workforce and talent that stems from all different walks of life, to use their skills and experience to create a more innovative, sustainable, connected industry, based around a ‘Just Transition’.

How will workers be affected?

To cope with the fourth revolution of industry – ‘industry 4.0’ a.k.a. the ‘smart factory’ – businesses will have to invest in the upskilling (preferably transferable skills) of their workforce. There needs to be a focus on building a solid foundation first. Basic literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy will enable workers to cope with the changes and advances in manufacturing.

What do you like to get up to in your free time?

I don’t have much free time with work and family commitments, but I do enjoy fishing. A great downtime activity and a chance to catch up with my sister, who has as busy a schedule as I do. My siblings and I were brought up around the sea, so we all indulge in a variety of sea-related activities.

Working for the future with our Runanga

Creating decent work and a world in which all workers are valued for their contributions is a future that Sharryn Barton would like to see.

Sharryn, the convenor of Te Runanga o E tū, and E tū co-president Muriel Tunoho are part of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) Runanga on the Government’s Future of Work Forum.

Set up in 2018, the Forum is a tripartite group made up of Government, business, and unions to plan and then create the future of work in Aotearoa. The Forum looks at how we can have a decent future in the face of climate change, globalisation, and technological advancements.

Sharryn says having Runanga from different unions in the forum is important, as it means all workers can be represented.

“When changes to the economy and employment happen, Māori workers are affected. Just like in 1991 when the Employment Contracts Act came in and led to widespread redundancies in industries like forestry and the freezing works.

“Today, many of our people work in industries like cleaning, security, and care work. But everything’s going to be digitised, so we’ll be training everyone up to work in a digital world,” she says.

“That’s ok, but we still have to have work that workers enjoy doing. And we’re still going to need jobs like cleaners and security guards.”

Some jobs aren’t seen as important, even though their value is clear, Sharryn says.

“A job is about more than pay and the role that you do. It’s about valuing the contribution that everyone makes to their community and environment – be it as a doctor, a nurse, or a cleaner.”

However, Sharryn says, jobs need to be decent jobs with room for family life, with workers able to do one job – not two or three – to make ends meet.

“I think we need to reprioritise our values and decide: what are the things that are really important to us? What do we do to build a healthy and sustainable future?

“The greatest asset is the people – you can’t make money if you haven’t got the people to produce the product.”

See the ‘Future of Work Tripartite Forum’ on for more.

Our week of Living Wage wins

E tū members once again led the charge this Living Wage Week in November. We celebrated some awesome victories and kept the pressure on with our campaigns for even more E tū members to win the Living Wage (currently $22.75).

One massive win was the Government announcement that all cleaners, security guards, and caterers who are employed by contractors in the public service will now get at least the Living Wage, as the service contracts are renewed. They will have guaranteed annual increases in line with the labour cost index, which is one way of measuring average wages, and adjustments will be made to keep pace with changes in the independently calculated Living Wage rate.

For E tū delegate and experienced Living Wage campaigner Mele Peaua, the biggest advantage of the Living Wage is simple – more time with her family.

“Because the Living Wage helps so much with the cost of living, it means you only need to work eight hours and then go home,” Mele says.

Another big victory was the Hutt City Council (HCC)becoming Aotearoa’s third accredited Living Wage council. E tū members have been organising for this win since the Living Wage Movement started. Our co-president Muriel Tunoho, who has led this charge since the beginning, said it was a proud day for the local movement.

Spotless catering workers present their petition for Living Wage increases

“It has been a long journey! We overcame every obstacle because of our network’s determination and the courage of HCC cleaners and E tū members to keep telling their stories,” Muriel says.

“This is what community power can achieve to build a more just society together.”

Spotless catering workers who make the food for the Government’s school lunch programme had started on the Living Wage, but hadn’t had their pay increased to reflect the new rate this year. On Living Wage Week, our members went straight to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Wood, to share their stories.

As Minister Wood said at the meeting: “The healthy school lunches initiative was set up for the wellbeing of our communities, and that should also include those people who are performing the mahi.”

E tū members joined our allies in the Living Wage Movement to host an online forum about Fair Pay Agreements, which will be a vital tool for winning the Living Wage across whole industries. E tū leader Iunisi Faingaanuku shared a message of solidarity with her cleaning colleagues.

“To all my co-workers – school cleaners, commercial cleaners, and hospital cleaners who look after the wellbeing and health and safety of New Zealand – my heart goes out to you all,” Iunisi said.

“We deserve more than the minimum wage and a ‘thank you’. We don’t want our children and grandchildren to go through the struggle we are going through now.”