Put your hand up to be active

Former Assistant National Secretary John Ryall

“E tū will be known not just because of the quality of its bargaining and its campaign outcomes, but by the means it achieves these outcomes, a union that is constantly activating and mobilising its members collectively to grow the union’s membership and power.”

 – E tū founding document 2015

In September this year E tū has a month of Biennial Membership Meetings for our elected National Executive to report directly to our membership on the progress of our union goals and our priority plans for the future.

The hundreds of Biennial Membership Meetings (see pages 17-21 for details) are not just an opportunity for all members to have a say and to hold our union leadership to account, but also to become more involved in our union campaigns for the Living Wage, pay equity, industry or occupation-wide Fair Pay Agreements, and for an economic framework that supports workers whose jobs are changing.

If you want to put your hand up for these campaigns, or to become active in our Runanga, Komiti Pasifika, Women’s Committee or Youth Network, then put your name down at your meeting.

The union has 130 staff and about 3000 workplace delegates, but if we are to make big gains for our members, their families and communities, we need to increase the number of our member activists tenfold.

We mobilised our members in 2017 to elect the Labour-led Coalition Government and have won higher minimum wage rates, more paid parental leave, and greater rights to negotiate collective agreements. However, change is still frustratingly slow.

We know that we cannot simply elect the Government and expect them to deliver everything for us. We must keep organising and mobilising around the policies that we want to see delivered, whether it is improved wage rates, better housing, decent public transport, or any number of other issues important for our communities.

Our September BMMs happen just before the local elections. This presents us with an opportunity to cement in the council Living Wage policies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and to extend them to other cities and towns where the right to a Living Wage for workers is not yet on their agenda.

In a few cities we have some outstanding E tū members standing for election to councils and District Health Boards, including mayoral candidates Justin Lester in Wellington and Campbell Barry in Hutt City. We already have groups of volunteers who will be contacting our members in these areas to encourage them to support E tū candidates.

E tū is about developing member leaders, who take the union message outside of their workplaces into every local and national forum that we can.

It starts with attending your local Biennial Membership Meeting, making the decision to become more active, and putting your hand up.