Author: E tū

Time

by Sean Hindson

We have time, right now – we all have time. I say this because we have time in the form of the moment we are in together; right now.

It’s is the ‘right now’ that we all share, regardless of our beliefs, our fears, our worries, our hopes, or our views on the world.

We can take this ‘right now’ to acknowledge that we are vulnerable, acknowledge that we have made mistakes, acknowledge that we have to (not need to) but have to come together.

The planet we belong to is screaming at us, demanding change. It is showing us through fires, typhoons, floods, and storms that we have to change. The planet is demanding change, it’s demanding it because it too is vulnerable.

Being vulnerable, as we and the planet are, is the catalyst for change.

I have been in discussion with people who deny the fact the world is changing. I have had the ‘what ifs’ thrust upon me. I have had my conversations cut short by those people who refuse to acknowledge the absolute certainty that the impact of humans has transformed our earth.

These people seem to be strong now, but are essentially oblivious to the change that is required by us all to enhance the lives of the generations of youth to whom we will entrust this earth.

Those of us aware of our collective vulnerability are already forging greater change, fighting by looking inwards and having an awareness of the fear we all have, shifting the way we think and allowing ourselves the courage to think differently

Take a moment to think about the courage it takes – undiluted courage – to know that vulnerability is a strength.

The first steps are already being taken around the world. In New Zealand, the Just Transition is to my mind, an acknowledgment of that vulnerability which can be such a strength.

So where do workers and people tie into this? They are at the core, the foundation. Workers are the ones who will essentially have the power to change these mindsets.

We have to change ourselves. It is painful to look in the mirror, acknowledge our faults, and be true to ourselves and each other.

Workers mostly have more to worry about than the long-term future. When we work together, truly work together, to shift those mind sets, to force change in those businesses that do not allow workers to have standards of living that afford them the ability to think compassionately about more than just the immediate future… then we shift the world.

In essence that is the key.

Workers in our regions should be in a position where they can think about the long-term future while acknowledging and appreciating the moment they are in.

This ability comes with equal standards of pay, training, and that most precious of assets… time. Time to share moments with community, family and friends. Time to converse and be open with those that surround you.

I personally reckon we have known this for a very long time. My question is: why has it taken so long for businesses to allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to care in a truly honest and deep way?

After all, time marches on for businesses, too. No one is exempt from the effects of what we are doing to ourselves and our environments, because our environments are, in the end, ourselves.

E tū welcomes Green Party’s pay equity policy

E tū has welcomed the Green Party’s commitment to pay equity for women.

The party’s pay equity policy promises pay equity legislation which includes the recommendations of the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity principles. It would also require greater pay transparency by companies, so people know what men and women in the same workplace are paid.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Jill Ovens says the pay equity policies of both Labour and the Greens recognise the integrity of the court rulings in the case of Kristine Bartlett vs Terranova, as well as the Joint Working Group principles.

“We applaud the fact that this begins to recover the ground that’s been lost under a government which has fought against equal pay,” says Jill.

“In the dying days of the current parliament, the Government introduced a bill that would slam the door on hundreds of thousands of women and their hopes of equal pay. Both Labour and the Greens have promised to put this right, which we absolutely support,” she says.

Jill says the union also supports transparency on pay.

“Knowing what men and women earn quickly reveals any pay gap.  This is essential to ending the traditional gap in pay between men and women doing the same or comparable work.”

E tū Women’s Committee Convenor, Marianne Bishop says under the current bill, care and support workers would have struggled to achieve their historic pay equity settlement.

“I think it’s great because obviously the new bill that National put forward, I don’t feel would have helped us get that settlement,” says Marianne.

“It’s good that parties are all looking at this as an election issue.  People need to remember that when they cast their vote, and vote to support those parties which put forward good pay equity policies.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Jill Ovens E tū Industry Coordinator, Public and Commercial, ph. 027 446 4966

Marianne Bishop E tū Women’s Committee Convenor, ph. 021 257 4146.

Chorus enjoys profit as workers lose quality jobs

E tū says Chorus’s profit has been achieved at the expense of quality jobs and the integrity of ultrafast broadband (UFB) connections to homes and businesses.

The Chorus result coincides with cable company Broadspectrum announcing today it will exit its connection contracts in Hamilton, Christchurch, Nelson, Blenheim, Rotorua, Taupo, and Whakatane.

The move will affect 119 jobs, including 35 designers and about 50 technicians, with a net loss of about 65 jobs at this stage.

E tū Industry Coordinator Joe Gallagher says the connection contracts will be picked up by Australian company, Universal Communications Group (UCG), which uses an owner-operator model favoured by Chorus because it cuts costs and enhances their profits.

He expects most of the designers will find new jobs with Broadspectrum which will in future focus on laying UFB cables, as well as maintenance of the legacy copper network.

But he says it’s a different story for the technicians.

“UCG’s owner-operator model will effectively require the technicians to “buy” their new jobs.

“They’ll have to purchase their own vehicle and equipment, at great cost,” says Joe.

“In many cases, people will have to borrow the money for the equipment, but there is no guarantee of sufficient work to pay the bills and ensure a decent living,” he says.

“I think a lot of people will walk away because they can’t afford it.”

Joe says it’s likely much of the work will be picked up instead by unskilled migrants, with a resulting decline in the quality of home and business high-speed internet connections.

“That’s abundantly clear by the situation in Auckland where complaints about installations number in the hundreds,” says Joe.

Joe says the sub-contracting of the work is a direct result of Chorus refusing to properly fund companies like Broadspectrum to build and connect the UFB network.

“Chorus can wash its hands of any responsibility for this work by keeping contracts at arms-length, leaving companies like UCG to hammer down costs on their behalf.

“No one benefits here except Chorus.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

E tū court action targets labour hire at LSG SkyChefs

E tū will be in the Employment Court in Auckland on Monday to argue its case on behalf of labour hire workers at global airline catering company, LSG SkyChefs.

The union is acting on behalf of workers Kamlesh Prasad and Liutofaga Tulai, and will argue that they and other labour hire workers should be entitled to the same employment conditions as directly-employed staff.

The company, which is owned by Lufthansa, operates kitchens in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says the use of labour hire has been growing in New Zealand as employers seek to cut their costs.

But he says labour hire work is precarious.

“Using labour hire staff means employers have no responsibilities to these workers and can get rid of them at any time without going through the normal consultation processes,” says John.

“Labour hire can also be used to suppress wage demands because directly-employed workers fear being replaced by labour hire workers themselves,” he says.

John says many labour hire workers are migrants, who accept minimum wage, casualised jobs with labour hire companies because they have few other options.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

John Ryall, E tū Assistant National Secretary, ph. 027 520 1380

 

Proceedings begin at 9.30am, Monday, 14 August in the Auckland Employment Court. 

E tū embraces Equal Pay Week as mental health workers pursue equal pay

E tū is urging women to embrace Equal Pay Week, as it focusses on winning an Equal Pay deal for mental health support workers.

These workers were left out of the Equal Pay Settlement after the government refused to include them.

Mental Health support worker, Sandra Rawenata is one of those workers.

“It’s unfair. We do pretty much the same work but we’re not paid the same,” says Sandra.

“We’re very supportive of what’s happened for our colleagues in other care and support jobs.

“We’re part of the team that helped them get there, we attended the rallies, so we’re very happy for them.  Now it’s time to come together and get our share.”

Sandra will be among the speakers at the event in Auckland tomorrow to launch Equal Pay week, 12 August – 20 August.

“We’ve had a great win for care and support workers.  But the government wants to change the law to ensure no one else wins Equal Pay,” says Yvette Taylor, E tū’s Equal Pay Coordinator.

“If this bill passes, it means back to the beginning for mental health workers and huge hurdles for other women battling for Equal Pay,” she says.

She says E tū will be participating in the events of Equal Pay week to drive home the message that women want Equal Pay and won’t settle for less.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Yvette Taylor, E tū Equal Pay Coordinator ph. 027 431 8486

Strike action today by Wellington parking wardens

Wellington City Council parking officers will take strike action today to protest at the refusal by the Council to negotiate with their union over their wage rates.

The parking officers have been trying for over two years to get their collective agreement settled but the Council refuses to include wage rates in the agreement.

The parking wardens will strike from 3.30pm to 5pm this afternoon, with a picket in Courtenay Place.

E tū has also lodged a case with the Employment Relations Authority, seeking a ruling on the impasse with the Council.

“We believe that the ongoing refusal of the Council to negotiate wage rate or include them in our collective agreement is a serious breach of good faith,” says John Ryall, E tū Assistant Secretary and advocate for the parking officers.

“We have been to mediation three times, held high level meetings with the Council and now we feel that the only option is to go on strike,” he says.

The parking officers are promising a noisy show to drive home their frustration.

“We’re at the stage where we need to send the Council a message,” says E tū delegate, Steven Carlyon.

“This is about our ability and our right to bargain for our wages as well as being able to negotiate how we move up the wage scale and into other roles, maybe even management.

“It’s our right to have this in our collective agreement.  Everyone around New Zealand has the ability to have their wages written into their agreement so why is Wellington City Council not agreeing to this?”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant National Secretary and advocate for WCC Parking Wardens

ph. 027 520 1380

The parking officers will be picketing in Courtenay Place, from 3pm to 5.30pm, Friday 4 August. We have delegates who can speak to interested media. 

E tū extremely disappointed with MBIE report on cheap Chinese steel

E tū is extremely disappointed with a report which has found there is little evidence of steel dumping in New Zealand by China.

The report details the findings of an enquiry by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment into a complaint by NZ Steel that imported Chinese galvanised steel coil is subsidised, making it hard for New Zealand steel producers to compete.

The report found no evidence of anything more than “minimal” subsidies, with the government announcing it won’t act on the complaint.

E tū Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says there are serious questions about the rigour of the research underpinning the report.

“Only one Chinese manufacturer responded to questions from the enquiry about subsidies. The Chinese government barely responded either, claiming its steel producers wouldn’t cooperate.

“MBIE admits its findings rest on “very limited information”, their words – then tells us that “on that basis”, it concludes that the Chinese subsidies are minimal.

“This isn’t just disappointing. It’s frightening that the livelihoods of entire communities rest on this poor-quality enquiry and report which shrugs off the failure of key players to answer questions at the heart of the NZ Steel’s complaint.”

Joe says the government’s refusal to act is also “a further kick in the guts” for local steel producers who also face pressure from Emissions Trading Scheme charges and the threat of big price hikes by power industry lines companies.

“There is clear evidence of an over-supply of steel coming in from China at below market prices,” says Joe.

“There are no proper quality checks in China to make sure this steel is of the proper standard, such as are required of NZ Steel, and equally, there are no tariffs on these products.

“It’s not a level playing field,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015.

Equal Pay update: Equal pay deal for Vocational workers & pay equity claim for mental health support workers

Vocational Disability Support Workers

Yesterday, (Monday 3 July) the PSA and E tū met with the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki to extend the pay equity settlement to vocational disability support workers.

The Government negotiators and the unions have reached agreement on the text of the settlement and its coverage.

The next steps will include agreement from the appropriate cabinet ministers and the signing of the agreement next week pending ratification.

There will be a short ratification process, although as most vocational support workers have already ratified the agreement and legislation is required, it will be deemed to be ratified from 18 July.

We will notify you of the details of the ratification meeting process shortly.

It is agreed that the new rates will be back paid from 1 July 2017.

Community mental health support workers

E tū and the PSA have filed a pay equity claim in the Employment Relations Authority on behalf of community mental health support workers.

The current situation is causing a major imbalance and will affect the ability for the sector to attract mental health support workers.

The first day of negotiations between the Unions, Ministry of Health and sector representatives is this Thursday 6th July.

Please check your email for updates, and for information of union meetings to talk about the case. In the meantime, talk to your workmates about signing up to the union and supporting this campaign.

Please call Union Support 0800 1 UNION if you would like further information about Equal Pay and what it means for you.

IDEA Services Collective Ratified

Dear E tū members

With the final votes counted we can confirm that E tū members have ratified the new collective agreement for admin and support workers. The final vote was 604 in favour and 243 against – meaning 7 out of every 10 votes were to settle.

It’s been a long year but firstly a big ‘thank’ you to all members for your hard work and continual support and dedication. Your membership has meant we have the resources to support each other at work as we deal with service reviews and disciplinaries, as well as mounting and winning the successful legal campaigns with Sleepovers, Home Support Travel Time, Home Support Guaranteed Hours. And now the Equal Pay Settlement for All Residential, Vocational and Supported Living Members.

The new rates start from the 1 July 2017, and there will need to be an adjustment to this fortnight pay as Idea Services will be legally required to back date any back pay from the 1 July 2017. And ‘yes’ vocational are included.

We thank you all for continually standing tall, despite the challenges from the Government and from within IDEA.

Because of members like you, we overcame these challenges and achieved another successful campaign for members.

Because of the delays, we don’t have long to wait until the next round of bargaining. Negotiations will start again as early as October and we expect to discuss the impact of relativities, the need to resolve equal pay for our admin members as well as ensuring the gains in Guaranteed Hours and health and safety are built on and enforced.

Nic Corrigan

E tū Industry Council member

On behalf of the E tū IDEA bargaining team.