Author: E tū

E tū union news – September 2023

You’re invited to our election launch this month!

There’s a lot at stake this election, and we want to see a Labour-led Government back in power to protect the gains we’ve made for workers.

Join Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, Deputy Prime Minister, Carmel Sepuloni, Green Party co-leader, Marama Davidson, and your E tū leaders for an afternoon of music, kai and activism!

We’ll also head out to knock on doors and talk with the local community about the importance of voting and why a Labour-led Government is vital for workers.

WHEN: Saturday 16 September
WHERE: EFKS Church, 43 Thomas Road, Māngere, Auckland
TIME: 12pm start

Remember to pledge to vote

E tū members all over Aotearoa are making clear their intention to vote in the General Election.

Make the commitment by filling our Pledge to Vote HERE (if you haven’t already), and pass it on to share with workmates, whānau, friends, and your community.

We need everyone to get out and vote for a Labour-led Government, so we can ensure our voices are heard and we keep everything that we’ve worked so hard for!

Cleaners’ strike continues

Last week, cleaners working for cleaning company OCS took strike action again – this time at Auckland Airport, with a picket outside the domestic terminal.

OCS is refusing to come to the table with a pay increase for these workers, as one of the companies in bargaining for the new cleaners’ Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA).

Jacqueline Davis, one of the cleaners who went on strike, says the zero offer shows the companies don’t care about their workers.

“Personally, I think they just don’t give a damn about us. We’re nothing in their eyes, we’re just the little cleaners.

“OCS and all the other companies need to treat us with respect. If it wasn’t for us cleaners, the airport would be a hell of a mess. They need to treat us like people, we are sick of being treated like doormats.”

Strike action is planned to continue until OCS cleaners are offered a fair pay rise.

E tū leader joins international union conference

Last week, E tū leader Rosey Ngakopu, who works as a security guard in Wellington, joined UNI Global Union’s 6th World Congress and Women’s Conference in Philadelphia.

Rosey was there to talk about E tū’s Fair Pay Agreement journey – from campaigning for it to become law, to finally starting to negotiate for security guards’ first-ever FPA!

She says the conferences were eye-opening and inspiring – and now E tū members need to take action to protect FPAs.

“We are being looked up to and watched by the unions overseas for our FPA model. Now we have to save FPAs by voting for a Labour-led Government.

“We have to encourage our family and friends to put their votes forward for the parties that support workers and will put them first before profit.”

New alliance in Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga Tāmaki Makaurau

Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga Tāmaki Makaurau is a new community alliance that seeks to unite the voices of our communities to tackle some of the big problems we face in Auckland.

E tū has been a strong driver of this new alliance, which focuses on three areas – housing, decent work, and migrant, former refugee and asylum seeker issues.

Come along to help us officially launch Te Ohu Tāmaki on Wednesday 6 September, 6pm-8pm in Māngere!

Living Wage ticks over to $26 per hour

On 1 September, the Living Wage went up to the official 2023/24 rate of  $26 per hour.

This is a huge achievement and means a wage increase of almost 10%, which reflects the real cost of living increase for working families.

The rate increase comes after a rate review, which happens every five years.

People working for Living Wage Employers are now entitled to this new rate, as are thousands of workers across the public sector, where E tū has won Living Wage victories.

Diversional therapists meet in Wellington

Do you know what the role of a diversional therapist is?

Diversional and recreational therapists support people with physical and developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and age-related conditions like dementia.

They organise and facilitate creative and engaging programmes for the clients to increase their psycho-social health.

In mid-August, E tū members working at diversional therapists joined the annual conference for workers in their profession. It was a great chance to come together, connect, and attend a range of workshops.

E tū co-president Muriel Tunoho also gave a presentation (to standing ovation!) on employment rights, including E tū members’ current fight for pay equity for care and support workers.

E tū offices on the move

Our Wellington office is now moving into the city!

From 11 September, our new Wellington office address is:

Level 12, 79 Boulcott Street

Wellington 6011

Please note that the Whangarei office is now closed permanently. If you need to get in touch with an organiser in this area, please email for more info.

New to E tū? Come to a welcome meeting

Learn more about how E tū can support you, how to use our digital tools, and more!

Click on the link of your preferred time to register.

WHEN: Wednesday 11 October
TIME: 10am-11am:
TIME: 7pm-8pm:

We use Zoom to host our meetings.

Events coming up

Auckland Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga launch – Wednesday 6 September, 6pm-8pm
Lesieli Tonga Auditorium, 143 Favona Road, Māngere
CLICK HERE to register now

E tū Election Campaign Launch – Saturday 16 September, 12pm
EFKS Church, 43 Thomas Road, Māngere, Auckland
CLICK HERE to register now

Climate Action Week – Monday 18 September to Sunday 24 September
Nationwide events, CLICK HERE for more.

Living Wage Forums – Friday 29 September, 6.30pm-8pm
Auckland: Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, 27 Galway Street, Onehunga
Wellington: St Peters on Willis, Willis Street, Wellington
Christchurch: Aldersgate Centre, 309 Durham Street, Christchurch

Got news to share?

Get in touch with us at – we’d love to hear your stories!

Cleaners strike at Auckland Airport to reject zero increase

Cleaners at Auckland Airport will be stopping work today and going on strike, after their employer OCS has offered zero increase in recent negotiations.

The workers will strike in groups and will be on a picket line at the Auckland Domestic Terminal (Air New Zealand side) from 1:30pm until 2:30pm.

OCS is one of the parties to the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) for commercial cleaners, which also includes ISS, City Cleaning, PPCS, Total Property Services (TPS), Millennium, Kleenrite, Watershed, United Cleaning Services, and Westferry. These companies hold some of the biggest cleaning contracts across both the public and private sector.

While the MECA has been settled with some margin above the minimum wage in previous years, this time the employers aren’t budging.

Jacqueline Davis, an airport cleaner who will be going on strike today, says the zero offer shows the companies don’t care about their workers.

“Personally, I think they just don’t give a damn about us. We’re nothing in their eyes, we’re just the little cleaners,” Jacqueline says.

“OCS and all the other companies need to treat us with respect. If it wasn’t for us cleaners, the airport would be a hell of a mess. They need to treat us like people, we are sick of being treated like doormats.”

E tū has been campaigning for the Living Wage for cleaners. Jacqueline says getting the Living Wage would be a huge help, including for her health.

“Right now, if I get sick, I can’t afford to take the day off or go to the doctor. I had to use up all my sick leave after an accident, so I simply have no choice.

“Getting a decent wage would mean not having to worry about finding the money for a simple day off and a doctor’s visit.”

E tū Director, Sarah Thompson, says OCS and the other cleaning companies need to step up.

“This is such a harsh position from the employer group,” Sarah says.

“It shows that they just don’t value the essential work of cleaners like Jacqueline and thousands of others.”

Sarah says it’s a clear demonstration of why cleaners need a Fair Pay Agreement.

“Right now, we’re getting ready to bargain the very first Fair Pay Agreement for the cleaning industry, which will be the best opportunity in decades to really improve things for this essential workforce.

“The National and ACT parties have promised to scrap Fair Pay Agreements before they even get started. It’s another slap in the face to working people like Jacqueline, and we can’t let that happen.”

E tū union news – August 2023

Invite to your Biennial Membership Meetings (BMMs)

This September, you’re invited to come together with other E tū members for one of the most important events in your union’s democracy.

Every two years, your Biennial Membership Meetings (or BMMs) take place around the motu at your workplace or local community hubs, and we discuss E tū’s direction and plan for the future.

At these meetings, you’ll also elect the members who will represent your region on the E tū National Executive, which is the governing body of your union.

CLICK HERE to see the date and time of your nearest BMM – and keep an eye on your email for updates.

E tū and you – new online magazine out now!

Check out the latest edition of our online magazine!

This issue, we feature a spotlight on the aviation industry (a new magazine feature!), updates on our important campaigns, a report from our Delegate Forums, an article by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, and much more.

CLICK HERE to read now!

Cleaners protest employers’ zero pay offer

At the end of July, E tū members working as cleaners for major cleaning companies currently bargaining for a new MECA (multi-employer collective agreement) took action after a zero offer pay rise.

Their employers – OCS, ISS, City Cleaning, PPCS, Total Property Services (TPS), Millennium, Kleenrite, Watershed, United Cleaning Services, and Westferry – refused to give workers a single cent over the minimum wage, even though in past MECAs they have paid 30 cents above this.

Auckland Airport cleaner Jackie Clark says getting no offer is stressful and workers don’t feel respected. “We have whānau to feed, rent and other bills to pay. It’s also affecting our health physically and mentally, and these cleaning companies don’t care.”

The zero-offer shows is exactly why cleaners need a Fair Pay Agreement – to stop the race to the bottom on wages. With E tū initiating Fair Pay Agreements for both cleaners and security workers, we are on track to finally be able to negotiate for what we know these essential workers really deserve!

Keep an eye out on social media for upcoming action and how you can support.

From the picket line to third collective!

Lifewise members have a new collective agreement. Ratified last week, members will now be able to take a defensive driving course and first aid courses for free. They also won the right to long service after 15 and 20 years, a $500 Pak’n’Save voucher, and a special fund to assist members taking bereavement leave has been doubled.

Delegate Maggie Greig says it’s a good outcome. “It feels really good that we’ve got the ball rolling and the momentum of improving our work conditions. It’s awesome, and it’s makes it better for the new staff coming on too. With every new collective, we’re gradually improving lives for Lifewise members.”

It shows how far Lifewise have come since members needed to take strike action in 2021/22 to win their first ever collective agreement.

Solid pay rises for packaging workers

Members at Oji Packaging at six sites around the country got a great deal for their next three-year collective agreement, winning a pay increase of 7.5% and then 5% per year after that for the term of the agreement.

Delegate Barry Jackson from Christchurch says, “it’s probably the biggest offer we’ve had in most people’s memories, and everyone was really happy.”

E tū Election campaign kicks off

We want members and workers to keep the gains that we’ve all fought so hard for – legislation like Fair Pay Agreements, 10 days’ sick leave, and decent minimum wage increases.

This General Election, we’ll be campaigning hard for a Labour-led government and we need your support.

Make sure you pledge to vote HERE, and if you’d like to be involved in our election activities, let us know.


Leadership change from November

As most members will already be aware, E tū’s National Secretary, Bill Newson, is stepping down from his position in late November.

From then until the next Biennial Conference (where you’ll officially elect a new National Secretary), the E tū National Executive has officially endorsed E tū Co-Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh to take over Bill’s role.

New to E tū?

If you’re new to the union and would like to meet other new members and learn more about how E tū can support you, come to our next online new member meeting.

Click on the link of your preferred time below to register.

WHEN: Wednesday 30 August

We use Zoom to host our online meetings.

Need financial help?

Check out these tips from Super-Advice on how the Government can assist you to get back on track with regard to your finances.

Events coming soon…

Nationwide Living Wage Forums – 29 September, 6:30-8pm

Auckland: Venue TBC
Wellington: St Peters on Willis, Wellington
Christchurch: Aldersgate Centre, 309 Durham Street, Christchurch

Auckland Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga launch – 6 September, 6-8pm

Lesieli Tonga Auditorium, 143 Favona Road, Māngere, Auckland
CLICK HERE to register now for free

Cleaners picket as employers refuse to offer any pay rise at all

Cleaners employed by multiple large cleaning companies will form a picket line today in Auckland as the companies have offered them nothing at all in recent negotiations. The picket will be outside a special general meeting of the Building Service Contractors of New Zealand, the employer association for cleaning companies.

E tū members have been in negotiations for the multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) for commercial cleaners seeking a pay increase to the Living Wage and other improvements to conditions, such as the provision of first-aid kits.

The employer representatives have offered nothing at all – not even the 30c above the minimum wage which has been negotiated in previous terms of the agreement.

The employer parties to the MECA are OCS, ISS, City Cleaning, PPCS, Total Property Services (TPS), Millennium, Kleenrite, Watershed, United Cleaning Services, and Westferry. These companies hold some of the biggest cleaning contracts across both the public and private sector.

“We feel that cleaning companies don’t care about the cleaners, and they don’t respect us,” says Jackie Clark, cleaner at Auckland International Airport.

“Getting no offer is stressful for us. We have whānau to feed, and rent and other bills to pay. It’s also affecting our health physically and mentally, and these cleaning companies don’t care.

“We’re doing this for all the cleaners around the country, because we deserve more.”

E tū Director Sarah Thompson says the zero-offer is a particularly stubborn position.

“Although cleaners have traditionally been paid near the minimum wage, we have usually been able to negotiate some increases above that rate in MECA bargaining,” Sarah says.

“For companies to not budge even one cent above the minimum wage is unprecedented and frankly insulting, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.”

Sarah says the employers’ position is a clear demonstration of the need for a Fair Pay Agreement in the cleaning industry.

“We’ve initiated bargaining for a Fair Pay Agreement for cleaners because our members are sick and tired of being undervalued for so long.

“When employers are committed to offering literally nothing to their own workers, the system is broken. We need to negotiate a Fair Pay Agreement that truly values the essential work of cleaners across Aotearoa, and that’s why E tū will be campaigning to re-elect a Labour-led Government which will keep this vital mechanism in place.”

E tū union news – July 2023

Cleaners’ turn to bargain for Fair Pay Agreement

E tū members working in cleaning are thrilled their hard mahi campaigning for change has been recognised, as the government gives them the green light to start bargaining for their first Fair Pay Agreement (FPA).

This will mean that no matter which cleaning company they work for, all cleaners will have the same base pay, rights and protections on the job – even if they don’t belong to a union.


It also means union members on collective agreements can keep bargaining for better terms and conditions.

Cleaner and mum of two Iunisi Fainga’anuku says an FPA is very important not just to her but to her whole whānau.

“[Because I’ll get paid more], it means I’ll be able to work fewer hours and spend more time with my kids. It will also help cleaners to get health and safety training – we work with lots of different chemicals and worry that they might be harmful to our health,” she says.

Your organising wins

Kone NZ

Members at elevator engineering company Kone have finally settled their latest collective agreement for another three-year term. The new agreement includes a pay increase of at least 14% over three years, and free union membership for new and existing members. Both can now claim to have their membership fees reimbursed. Now that’s a power lift!

Spotless hospital service workers

Spotless members working as kitchen and cleaning staff at Te Whatu Ora in the Bay of Islands, Kaitaia, Rotorua, Kenepuru, and Wellington hospitals, had a major win after they filed strike notices in June.


Spotless hadn’t signed off on their collective agreements, which were ratified by members back in March. The morning before they were due to strike, the company finally signed everything off so the members could get their pay rise. Wellington members (above) were quick to celebrate!

Photo exhibition by E tū leader celebrates 20 years of gardens

E tū National Executive member, delegate, and union leader Jason Fell recently opened his latest photo exhibition, based around the university grounds where he’s worked for more than 20 years and represented E tū members as a delegate.

The exhibition, Mā ngā Karu o he Kaitiaki māra – Custodian of the Grounds, is part of the University of Auckland’s 140-year anniversary celebrations and showcases the gardens that its horticulture team, including Jason, has carefully tended over the years at various campuses.

Mā ngā Karu o he Kaitiaki māra – Custodian of the Grounds runs at Old Government House, 24 Princes Street, Auckland, until 4 August.

New law supports health and safety reps

New Zealand now has a new law that means all workers are entitled to have an election for a health and safety representative if they ask for one. Before this, smaller, “low risk” businesses could refuse this request.

Before this, most employers with fewer than 20 workers could refuse to have workers participate in their own health and safety.

In June, the Health and Safety at Work Act was amended, delivering a big win for E tū members who campaigned for the law to be changed.

Businesses now also have a to establish a health and safety committee if a health and safety rep or five or more workers ask for one.

Read more about the law amendment HERE.


Too little sleep for cleaners on night shift, reports international survey

E tū members and cleaners around Aotearoa New Zealand were recently invited to participate in an international survey by UNI Global Union on how their work as cleaners affects their health.

Eighty-two cleaners from New Zealand responded to the survey, and 80% of those survey respondents were women.

Around 7 out of 10 cleaners who work evening or night shifts said they get too little sleep. Read the FULL REPORT HERE.

New to E tū? Meet other new members this July!

If you’re new to E tū or just want to learn more about your union, join us at a new online member meeting this month.

You can also check out your new members’ page here.

WHEN: Wednesday 19 July
TIME: 10am-11am


WHEN: Wednesday 19 July
TIME: 7pm-8pm

Got news to share?

Get in touch with us at – we’d love to hear your stories!

Union signs Just Transition agreement for NZ Post members set to lose jobs

E tū is advocating for a ‘Just Transition’ for more than 700 postal workers in the wake of a major redundancy proposal.

On Tuesday, New Zealand Post announced plans to reduce its mail processing and delivery operations in Auckland and Christchurch over the next five years.

The proposal affects around 750 workers.

E tū has signed a Just Transition agreement with the company to support and guide E tū members in their transition to new work.

Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says while the proposal is not unexpected in the face of declining global mail rates, a Just Transition is about making sure there is more than “one tool in the toolbox” to assist members.

“A Just Transition process is about workers being treated with fairness, equity, and transparency, so they can focus on things like transferring their skills to other kinds of work, or retraining and upskilling as they explore different options for their futures,” he says.

“E tū strongly supports its members as they go through this difficult time, and we will be advocating for workers to have the best opportunities possible to assist them through the transition period.”

The union also ran a Just Transition process to support New Zealand Post members in Manawatū who lost their jobs when their mail processing centre closed in March.

Doing the beat with the right feet

“Perfect,” “wonderful,” “grateful,” and “awesome,” are just some of the words that Te Whatu Ora members are using to describe how they feel after organising to win for a special shoe voucher, which means they can pick out their own work shoes.

For those working as orderlies and cleaners at the hospital, the change has put a smile on everyone’s faces, an E tū delegate Barbara says.

Members working in these services roles at Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau and Waitematā were previously provided with a pair of shoes by Te Whatu Ora – even though there was a clause in their collective agreement around having a shoe voucher so they could go out and buy their own.

So, when it came to light that many members were resorting to buying their own shoes as they were so uncomfortable, Te Whatu Ora delegates organised a survey to see how widespread the problem was.

After 150 responses to their shoe survey, it became clear that the issue was urgent, and management acted quickly.

Now members have the choice of between five and nine different shoe styles and pay for them using a voucher. They also have the option of spending the remainder of the voucher on socks if there’s anything left over.

Barbara says, “Members are really rapt. It’s put a smile on everyone’s faces – they really appreciate what they’ve got, which is so much better than before.

“Workers do beat the feet a lot during their shifts, especially the orderlies. They’re grateful for the work that’s been done by the union and across the board.”

E tū union news – June 2023

Government gives green light for security guards’ FPA

“Like a dream come true” is how security guard and E tū FPA campaigner Rosey Ngakopu described the moment she heard that security guards across Aotearoa New Zealand will now be able to start bargaining for their first-ever Fair Pay Agreement (FPA).

At the end of May, the Government gave the green light to members’ application to negotiate an FPA for security guards

after thousands of workers signed on to initiate it. This is huge for E tū members who have campaigned for years to get FPAs into law and will now be able to bargain with an employer representative to put down minimum standards and conditions for all security guards. CLICK HERE to see our members’ FPA journey from start to finish.

E tū members put hard questions to MPs

Ka pai to our members in Auckland and Wellington who put important questions about their industry issues to our Government at the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) Government Forum, where workers and ministers came together for an evening of kōrero and workshops last week.

Members asked ministers about a range of vital issues, including pay equity, the cost of living, Just Transition, and the Living Wage in the public sector – a unique
opportunity to talk directly to ministers about what matters.

The forum also highlighted the importance of voting at this year’s General Election, in order to keep the gains we’ve won – like Fair Pay Agreements and to get our equal pay settlement for care and support workers finalised. Check out some of our snaps from the night HERE.

Your organising wins

Visy Glass

In March, Visy Glass members settled their latest collective agreement, after almost a year of bargaining. Bargaining at Visy Glass is done by the delegate team, with the support of a union organiser.

By negotiating this way, it means everyone around the table has a better understanding of what’s going on and the jobs that members do, says delegate Gerard Peters. “Even though it might be a bit scary, because you’re talking to management and you have to work with them day in and day out, you get to know each other better.”

Te Whatu Ora service workers

Since mid-May, Te Whatu Ora members working as orderlies and cleaners at Counties Manukau and Waitematā now have access to shoe vouchers, so they can buy their own shoes and choose from a bigger range than was previously supplied.

This win comes after a huge organising effort by delegates, including a survey.


A delegate at Waitākere Hospital, Barbara, says her members are “rapt”. CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Delegate Forums wrap up

More than 700 delegates around the country came together for 25 Delegate Forums over the last couple of months.

Alongside our campaigns for a Just Transition and equal pay, a big focus for the forums was the union wins at stake in the General Election on October 23, such as Fair Pay Agreements law.

If you haven’t yet pledged to vote in this year’s election, take the pledge now! We’ve also got posters you can put up in your workplaces to get the word out about how important it is to make your voice heard. If you’d like posters for your workplace, email and we’ll get some out to you.

NZ Steel Mill moving on climate

E tū delegates are calling for a Just Transition at New Zealand Steel. In the first plan of its kind, the Government is contributing up to $140 million to the company’s mill in Glenbrook so it can purchase an electric furnace and make 50% of its steel from recycling scrap.

Estimated to reduce carbon emissions by the same amount as taking all the passenger cars in Christchurch off the road, E tū delegate Lester Udy says the move signals “exciting times” ahead for industry.

However, both Lester and E tū are clear that any changes to workers’ jobs means that they’ll need a Just Transition, a chance to up skill or transition without losing pay or conditions. CLICK HERE to read more.

New member welcome meetings reminder

If you’re new to E tū or just want to learn more about your union, you’re more than welcome to join us at a new member meeting. You can also check out your new members’ page here.

WHEN: Wednesday 19 July
TIME: 10am-11am


WHEN: Wednesday 19 July
TIME: 7pm-8pm

Got news to share?

Get in touch with us at – we’d love to hear your stories!

Union and security industry body celebrate green light for Fair Pay Agreement bargaining

E tū and the New Zealand Security Association are excited to learn that the bargaining process for a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) for security workers can now begin, now workers’ initiation signatures have been approved by the Government.

E tū is the union for security guards and initiated for an FPA for this group of workers in March, with more than 1,000 signing on to start the initiation process for an agreement.

Union members have led the way in advocating for FPA legislation in a multi-year campaign to see workers such as security guards and cleaners protected by minimum standards around pay and working conditions.

E tū delegate and security guard Rosey Ngakopu says it’s been a long journey, but she can’t wait for the next stage to begin.

“Our dream of an FPA will now become a reality,” she says.

“We want to reset the security industry, so let’s get into the conversation to create and build a better security industry for the future.”

Gary Morrison, CEO of the New Zealand Security Association, says the association and the union have common goals regarding advancing the interest of employees in the industry, and it looks forward to being the Employer Association representing security employers.

“We will work collaboratively to ensure the best outcomes for the security industry, including our employees, our customers, and security providers.

“In particular, we see opportunities to set standards for training, upskilling, and the health and safety of our workers,” says Gary.

E tū’s Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says E tū is thrilled that bargaining can now begin.

“It’s wonderful that we’re now able to use this exciting new mechanism – Fair Pay Agreements – to bargain across the whole of the security occupational group for better terms and conditions for all workers,” she says.

“We look forward to working alongside NZSA to improve the lives of all security guards in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as ensuring workers have a strong voice at the bargaining table.”

E tū’s hospitality workers will also benefit from an FPA, which has also been approved for bargaining to start.