Author: E tū

New funding to reduce carbon emissions positive for industry, union says

E tū and members working at the New Zealand Steel mill in Glenbrook have welcomed the Government’s offer to contribute funding for a new electric furnace to halve coal use at the site.

On Sunday, the Government announced it would be partially funding up to $140 million to reduce carbon emissions at Glenbrook, by replacing an existing steelmaking furnace and two of its four coal-fuelled furnaces with the electric one.

It means half of the steel produced at the site would be made using electricity to recycle scrap metal, rather than producing new steel using coal and iron sands.

Site delegate Lester Udy says the announcement signals “exciting times” for workers and the company.

“New Zealand Steel contributes a lot to our communities and the area in general,” he says.

“Covid illustrated the importance of having industry in New Zealand, and a lot of other businesses benefit from the fact that we produce our own steel here.

Lester says the move represents a solid strategy for reducing carbon emissions in the steel industry and is a positive step for all industry. But workers still need to be at the forefront, he says.

“The transition also needs to be a Just Transition for workers. It’s about finding new and different ways of production, while at the same time making sure workers keep their jobs.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says the announcement is “huge” for the workforce and local community.

“Jobs at the Glenbrook steel mill are high value jobs and critical to the community, so it’s really important that we support steel made in here in Aotearoa.

“The Government’s announcement is about protecting our local steel-making industry for the future by assisting in the transition to lower carbon steel production.

“It means that we’ll keep business here, rather than pushing it offshore.”

Joe says the funding could be a blueprint for other industries to transform to a low carbon model, which will mean they remain viable as the businesses transform in response to climate change.

However, he says a Just Transition for workers will be needed, including reskilling or upskilling, so they are able to take on the new roles required as technology at the site changes.

This also includes working with suppliers and other businesses who will inevitably be affected.

“We need to work with Government, the company, and workers, to create a Just Transition process that can be modified and adapted for other industries, so we are not able to only protect valuable industry but workers and their communities as well.”

E tū union news – May 2023

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Delegate Forums kick off around the country

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Just after Easter, our annual Delegate Forums started around the country – the first time we’ve been able to hold them face to face for more than three years!

Our Delegate Forums are open to all E tū delegates and are a chance to catch up on everything that’s been going on at E tū, especially our major campaigns.

This year, we’ve talked about things like Fair Pay Agreements for security guards and cleaners, pay equity for care and support workers, and a Just Transition for all members affected by changes in industry due to climate change and technology.

Are you interested in becoming a delegate? Check out our delegate page here!

From ‘stuff all’ to good stuff – your organising wins

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Stuff members who work as journalists have now seen the fruits of their hard strike mahi last year with a decent pay rise of 6.8% and the reintroduction of a stepped pay scale. It’s the first time in years journalists have gone on strike, and it all paid off!

McCallum Industries members working at a food manufacturing plant in Henderson, Auckland, got a $1.60 an hour pay boost and 7.2% on allowances in their most recent collective agreement signed in March.

Members at Cordis Hotel have won some great new clauses in their collective, including a new family violence clause and one that means new employees need to be shown their collective and how to join the union. All current members are now paid at the 2022/23 Living Wage rate as a minimum, backpaid to February.

A strike notice by Oji Fibre members in Penrose resulted their company filing a lockout notice but was successfully resolved with mediation and a good outcome for members with 6% in their next one-year collective agreement.

First FPAs for security guards and cleaners on the way

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In March and April, security guards and cleaners sent through thousands of signatures to start the ball rolling for their Fair Pay Agreements. News about our FPAs has also made it around the world!

After the Fair Pay Agreements law was passed in October 2022, E tū members campaigned for months, encouraging workers to sign a document saying they wanted to initiate to begin bargaining an FPA.

Each group needed to collect more than 1000 signatures from their fellow security guards and cleaners.

Now these have been sent through to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the signatures will be checked and verified. Then the next stage of the process can begin – drawing up claims to take to the bargaining table!

What’s an FPA?

A Fair Pay Agreement is an agreement that is bargained by unions (representing workers) and employer representatives to set minimum standards across occupations or industries, for example, security or cleaning.

For workers, it means that no matter which company they work for, they’ll all have the same minimum pay, conditions, health and safety requirements, and whatever else we are able to negotiate.

Other unions have so far filed for an FPA for bus drivers and hospitality workers. But there’s also potential for FPAs to benefit many other occupations and industries in future.

Pay equity promise for care and support workers

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In April, pay equity meetings for E tū, PSA, and NZNO members kicked off around the country to update members about their pay equity claim, which will benefit all workers once it’s settled.

In July 2022, the unions filed a pay equity claim against 15 employers across the sector to assess whether the current pay rates for care and support workers are fair.

The claim compares their jobs with a job of similar responsibility and skill done by workers in male-dominated industries, as care and support workers have long been undervalued and underpaid.

The last pay equity claim, which was settled in 2017, led to historic pay rises of up to 50% which transformed the lives of our members.

Election 2023: Real change starts with us

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The election is coming around fast! We want to make sure issues for our members heard, and a big part of this is encouraging our members to vote.

This year we’ve prepared a simple pledge form for you and your whānau to commit to voting. Click here to take the pledge!

Welcoming new E tū members

To strengthen our union and create active leaders, E tū is running online welcome meetings for our new members around every six weeks.

On each call, we also have organisers, E tū leaders, and other members of the E tū team on hand to answer your questions and provide inspiration.

If you are 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 7 June
TIME: 10am-11am


WHEN: Wednesday 7 June
TIME: 7pm-8pm

Living Wage goes up to $26 per hour

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On 1 April, the new Living Wage rate of $26 was announced for 2023/24.

That’s an increase of almost 10%, which reflects the real cost of living increase for working families in recent years.

From 1 September 2023, any Living Wage Employer will need to pay the new increased rate if they want to stay accredited.

The rate increase followed a special rate review, which only happens every five years.

E tū cleaner Iunisi Fainga’anuku talked about the new rate on PMN. You can listen here.

Print this newsletter for your noticeboard

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We know not all our members communicate by email – so why not print this newsletter out for your union noticeboard?

  • Click on ‘View this email in your browser’ at the top of the email.
  • Once in the new screen, then right click and select ‘Print’.

We’ve also got some fresh new E tū noticeboard headers, so you can create a dedicated space for everything union. If you’d like some for your workspace, please contact your delegate or organiser.

Upcoming events

Unions Auckland May Day event

Come and hear speakers from unions around Auckland (including E tū’s very own Ines Mitgutsch) and live music to celebrate and recognise May Day this evening.

WHEN: Monday 1 May
Whammy Bar & Wine Cellar, 183 Karangahape Rd, Auckland
TIME: 7pm
COST: Optional koha, all proceeds go to the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa

Got news to share?

It’s always great to hear from our members and about any news in the community that might be helpful for others.

Write to us at if you have something you’d like to share.

E tū member discounts

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Save at least 10 cents per litre on your petrol – apply for your Kora card today!

Union’s Just Transition aim for members affected by potential Webstar closure

A “Just Transition” is the aim for E tū members working at Webstar Masterton who will lose their jobs if the plant shuts next year.

On Wednesday, Webstar, which is part of the Blue Star Print Group, announced its proposal to close its Masterston plant in early 2024.

More than 20 E tū members will be affected if the proposal goes ahead. The consultation period runs until Tuesday.

E tū Negotiation Specialist Joe Gallagher says members are “shocked but not surprised”.

“Webstar’s closure proposal is a symptom of the wider decline in print advertising and the rising costs around power, freight, and paper.”

Joe says E tū will be working hard to support members and making sure a Just Transition plan is put in place.

“A Just Transition plan would ideally see a range of support available to assist members as they prepare to move on.

“It would ease some of the stress of finding another job or moving into study to upskill for other types of work.”

Just Transition is the idea that workers should not bear the brunt of changes in the labour market, such as those in response to technological and climate change.

Cleaners second group of E tū members to initiate Fair Pay Agreement

Cleaners are the latest group of workers from E tū to initiate for their Fair Pay Agreement.

Since the Fair Pay Agreements Bill was passed in October 2022, more than 1000 cleaners across Aotearoa New Zealand have put their signature forward in support of a Fair Pay Agreement.

E tū, the largest private sector union in the country, will send the initiation document on their behalf to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) on Tuesday.

A Fair Pay Agreement sets minimum pay and conditions for workers across whole industries or occupations by way of bargaining between unions and employer representatives.

So far E tū members in both security and cleaning have initiated for a Fair Pay Agreement.

An E tū leader and cleaner Iunisi Fainga’anuku says the day brings lots of emotion.

“I’m overjoyed and emotional. It’s like a dream come true. Fair Pay Agreements are very important, not just to me but to my whole family, because it means I’ll be able to work fewer hours and get more time to spend with my kids.

“It will also help cleaners to get health and safety training. We work with lots of different chemicals, and we worry that they might be harmful to our health.”

Assistant National Secretary at E tū Annie Newman says a Fair Pay Agreement for workers in the cleaning industry is a huge achievement, as it will help to fix a number of issues.

“Pay is one of the number one issues for cleaners, as many work two or three jobs to get by. The first thing that a Fair Pay Agreement will address is securing base rates of pay for cleaners, no matter which employer they work for.

“This will really help to prevent employers from undercutting each other to win work contracts, which usually sees workers’ wages lowered to make the company more competitive.

“It will also mean workers’ pay rates won’t be affected if they transfer to a new cleaning company when a cleaning contract changes hands.”

Annie says members in cleaning often want more training and development, so they can see a career pathway in the industry with progressive pay rates and opportunities.

“Cleaning is an essential job and cleaners are essential workers. As we have seen through the pandemic, workers everywhere deserve respect, recognition, and dignity, and Fair Pay Agreements are a way of achieving that.”

New Living Wage rate a celebration for workers and their communities

E tū is celebrating the announcement of the new Living Wage rate and the positive difference that it will make to workers’ lives and to those of their whānau.

On Monday, the new Living Wage rate of $26 was announced for 2023/24, which represents an increase of almost 10% on the previous rate after its five-yearly review.

The rate change will take effect from 1 September.

Auckland City Council cleaner and E tū member Menbere Woldemeske says she is so excited to hear the news.

“This is going to help my family a lot to pay the rent, electricity, and grocery shopping, as the cost of living is so high now.  

“It also means I can help my community and the church that have always been supporting us. Then, send some money home to support my elderly parents.”

Annie Newman, an E tū Assistant National Secretary, says the new Living Wage rate is a much-needed step forward for workers and their families, particularly with the current cost of living.

“This current rate increase means low-paid workers will be more able to live with dignity and participate in their communities, without having to work constantly to make ends meet.

“We also know that when workers are not living in financially precarious situations all the time, they are more able to support their children and their families as they can spend time with them and can better afford what they need to live and be active in society.

“The Living Wage is not just about lifting individual workers out of poverty. It’s about lifting the wellbeing of entire communities.”

Excitement as security guards initiate for Fair Pay Agreement

Security guards have made their voices heard and now have enough signatures to initiate a Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) for workers in their occupation.

Since the Fair Pay Agreements Bill was passed in October 2022, more than 1000 security guards across Aotearoa New Zealand have put their signature forward in support of a Fair Pay Agreement.

E tū, the union for security guards, will send the initiation document on their behalf to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) on Wednesday.

A Fair Pay Agreement sets minimum pay and conditions for workers across whole industries or occupations by way of bargaining between unions and employer representatives.

E tū delegate and security guard Rosey Ngakopu, who has been campaigning for Fair Pay Agreements for the past four years, says she’s excited it’s finally time to initiate an agreement.

“It’s an awesome feeling – all our hard work has paid off. Fair Pay Agreements will mean we’ll be able to address industry issues in a collective conversation and find possible solutions.

“FPAs are about raising the standards of our working conditions, lifting our pay, skills and training, and making sure we have everything we need on site to work safely and with dignity.

“I can’t wait to get around the bargaining table and start negotiating.”

Annie Newman, an Assistant National Secretary of E tū, says the initiation is a momentous occasion for security guards – one of the most positive changes for these workers in decades – by giving them a say in the conditions for all security guards across the country.

“Our members tell us that they want improved health and safety, more participation in decision-making, and of course, decent wages,” she says.

“Being able to negotiate on these issues in good faith through Fair Pay Agreements, which our members have fought hard for, will be life-changing for security guards.”

A Fair Pay Agreement will also stop the frequent ‘race to the bottom’, so employers can’t compete by paying the lowest wages to win a work contract, as all workers would be paid the same base starting rates, Annie says.

Security FPA initiation day event

Minister of Workplace Relations, Hon Michael Wood, E tū officials and members will give short speeches outside Parliament on Wednesday morning to mark the occasion.

When: Wednesday 29 March 2023
Outside New Zealand Parliament House, 1 Museum Street, Wellington
9.15am (for a 9.30am start) to 9.45am

There will be opportunities for photos with E tū members and the Minister. An E tū official and member will also be available for interview.


For more information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340

Strike threat pushes company to come to resolution with members

A strike notice led to a productive win for E tū and FIRST Union members at Oji’s Penrose Mill in Auckland. 

Members prepared to strike in December but instead secured a one-year deal with a 6% increase, including rates and allowances. 

E tū delegate Maurice Upton says it was the threat of a strike which led to the company filing a lockout notice, and the resulting mediation that meant Oji finally listened to members’ concerns.

“It got all sides talking and both wanted a good outcome,” he says.

There were two sets of claims for FIRST and E tū members, who each work in different parts of the business – production and maintenance.

E tū claims were mostly around ensuring pay parity with other workers in similar roles across the industry, along with a decent pay rise to bring base rates up.

They also strongly supported FIRST members fighting for better job conditions and allowances.

 Maurice says while some E tū members were disappointed the raise wasn’t higher given low base rates, 6% is probably the highest members have had as a one year deal, at least in the 18 years he’s worked there.

From ‘stuff all’ to great stuff for journalists

Team effort and unprecedented strike action turned things around for members at one of the country’s largest media organisations, putting them off to a good start for the new year.

Last year, Stuff journalists in Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, and elsewhere, took to the streets for several hours, fighting for a decent pay rise in the face of wages that have stayed stagnant for years.

Thanks to their action and hard work, from 2023, members will see a 6.8% pay increase and the reintroduction of a stepped pay scale.

The lowest paid members will also now start on $55,000 – an enormous achievement, which means a boost of around $7000 to an entry-level starting salary.

Delegate Tom Hunt says strikes are rare for members in the journalism industry, who haven’t done one for at least more than a decade.

But when it became obvious that negotiations had come to a stalemate, members wanted to go in strong right away, he says.

“People were really just struggling so hard financially that they really wanted to take action.”

After just a two-hour strike, the team got back around the table and “got things sorted pretty fast”.

Tom says top management was surprised that their workers were living so close to the poverty line: “People don’t want extra money to go to the pub – it’s about the cost of living.”

Now, the higher start rate combined with the annual pay scale increases means members coming into the profession at Stuff will see their pay progress as they gain more experience, he says.

E tū ready to initiate first Fair Pay Agreements

The Fair Pay Agreements Bill is finally about to become law, as it gets its Third Reading in Parliament later this afternoon.

Fair Pay Agreements will set minimum standards for pay and conditions across entire industries, making it one of the most transformative changes for workers in Aotearoa New Zealand in decades.

E tū members and supporters made over 1,000 unique submissions on the bill, and the final text reflects what is needed for a great new system.

The private sector union has been campaigning for Fair Pay Agreements since 2017 and is prioritising the security and cleaning industries to be first in line for a Fair Pay Agreement.

Rosey Ngakopu, a Wellington-based security guard and E tū member leader, couldn’t be happier with the development.

“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. Yippee!

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

E tū Team Leader, Sarah Thompson, says the union is excited about this opportunity.

“Workers across Aotearoa New Zealand are taking this opportunity to create better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities, and future generations,” she says.

“Winning a Fair Pay Agreement will mean better pay and standard conditions for everyone in our industries.

“At a time with huge cost of living pressures, this will be huge for some of the most vulnerable workers in Aotearoa, especially the essential workers who kept us going during the pandemic.”

Security guards and cleaners can now sign up to initiate their Fair Pay Agreements at


For more information and comment:
Sarah Thompson, 027 591 0024

Rosey and Sarah will both be available for media around Parliament at the time of the Third Reading.