Author: E tū

An update for our Metals members

Dear members,

Your bargaining team met for talks with Metals employers over the last three days – one day of claims and two days of bargaining.

The big issue for us this year is the rise in the minimum wage and the effect this has had on the relativities of paid rates for those covered by the Metals MECA.

There were valuable discussions around how to resolve this and now both parties have agreed on a common approach.

We have adjourned bargaining for the moment while we await the employers’ response on some issues.

There is another day set aside for bargaining on Friday, 19 July but discussions are continuing via video conference.

Regards,

Your bargaining team.

Access workers begin four-day strike

PSA and E tū members at Access Community Health have voted overwhelmingly in favour of further industrial action after their latest pay talks stalled – more than a month after members first took to the streets for better pay.

The latest round of industrial action begins today across the country, with members on strike for up to four days from today, Friday 21 June until Monday 24 June.

Access Community Health coordinators, administrators, and call centre workers held a week of partial strikes and walkouts in mid-May, with further action in early June after efforts to negotiate a new pay deal failed.

“Our members are beyond frustrated by Access’s ongoing refusal to lift the wages of those who are some of their lowest paid workers,” says Melissa Woolley, PSA assistant national secretary.

“In one month of bargaining, Access have used bullying and intimidation tactics, undermined the bargaining process, and have made offers that would see disproportionate rates of increase between members.”

“Attempts to divide and silence our members have only made them more determined not to back down, as seen by our members continuing to vote overwhelmingly in favour of taking action and by an increase in membership since industrial action began in May.”

“We urge Access to come back to the bargaining table and offer a better deal for these workers,” says E tū Home Support coordinator Kirsty McCully.

“It’s time for Access to recognise these workers as the glue that holds Home Support together in New Zealand. Access’s failure to give their workers a fair increase is disrespectful to both the members, and to Access service users.”

ENDS

Member action:

Access coordination staff in Whangarei will be gathering with supporters in the Whangarei Town Centre to distribute information to the local community at 11am today, Friday 21 June.

For further information, contact:

Kirsty McCully E tū Home Support Coordinator ph: 027 204 6354

For any local Whangarei media interviews and information please contact Moana Witehira E tū organiser ph: 027 204 6367

24-hour strike at IDEA services after mediation fails

A 24-hour strike by E tū care and support workers employed by IDEA Services will go ahead on Sunday after eight day of failed mediation talks.

The workers will walk off the job at 9am on Sunday, returning to work at 9am on Monday.

Three thousand members are affected by the dispute which has been running for eight months and has seen six previous strikes including last Sunday’s 12-hour stoppage.

The members are seeking extra pay for senior support workers, weekend penal rates and the protection of key health and safety rights. They are also resisting IDEA Services demands for more flexibility over their rosters.

“Despite another full day of mediation on Thursday 20th June, IDEA failed to make any offer to settle, so Sunday’s strike is on”, says E tū advocate Alastair Duncan.

Alastair says the strike will affect up to 600 residential homes with many unionised workers “having a well-deserved and rare Sunday off to spend with loved ones,” he says.

There will also be pickets around the country to inform the public about their concerns –

particularly IDEA Service’s insistence on being allowed to roster workers anywhere, anytime.

“Under the guise of so called “flexibility” IDEA wants to undermine the job security of the very staff who support vulnerable New Zealanders,” says Alastair.

Alastair says penal rates for weekend remains a key claim.

“IDEA’s parent company IHC took away weekend rates during the dreadful days after the Employment Contracts Act became law. It is now time to once again respect the fact that weekend work deserves an extra pay margin.”

In an effort to break the deadlock, E tū has also applied for a formal facilitation hearing by the Employment Relations Authority, which is due to be heard on Tuesday.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū advocate ph. 027 245 6593

Another serious assault at Waikato DHB

A female security guard is off work and recovering after an assault at Waikato Hospital which has left her with a suspected broken nose.

The assault happened on Tuesday, when the guard was called to help with a highly agitated patient who was trying to leave the hospital.  The patient lashed out, giving our member a closed-fist punch to the nose.

It follows the assault on another female guard last month, which has left her with multiple facial fractures and off work for at least three months.

Allied Security is the security contractor for the Waikato District Health Board, and also the Canterbury DHB, where there have been four serious assaults on guards since Christmas.

E tū organiser, Iriaka Rauhihi says the union is appalled by the second serious assault in just over a month at the hospital.

“What are they waiting for – a fatality?

“Assaults are frequent at this DHB and we’re well aware of Allied Security’s record in Christchurch as well. Our members feel unsafe and I’m not the only one worried that someone will die if things don’t improve – our members are saying the same thing,” she says.

E tū Campaign Lead, Mat Danaher says the string of assaults has raised serious alarm bells.

“We are now looking at a record of failure to stem the on-going violence on hospital wards in Waikato and Christchurch,” says Mat.

He says DHBs are due to meet shortly with E tū to review hospital security – a move that’s long over-due.

“Violence on our hospital wards is a serious issue, affecting all staff. The nurses complain wards are unsafe and both they and our security members are frequently in the firing line.

“There are systemic failures including under-staffing, lack of training and poor health and safety processes. We are looking forward to the upcoming security review and welcome the fact that DHBs nationally are taking this issue seriously.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Iriaka Rauhihi E tū Senior Organiser ph. 27 544 8697 – Iriaka can speak for local Waikato members. 

Mat Danaher E tū Campaign Lead ph. 021 336 519 – Mat will be speaking on the situation nationally.   

Members “blind-sided” by Sanford job cuts proposal

E tū says its members at Sanford’s Bluff fish-processing plant have been blind-sided by job cuts proposed by the company. 

Up to 30 jobs – almost half Sanford’s Bluff workforce – could be lost if the proposal to move white-fish processing to Timaru goes ahead.

E tū organiser, Anna Huffstutler says members were completely in the dark about Sanford’s plans until they were suddenly called to a meeting on Tuesday.

“That was the first we’d heard of these plans,” says Anna.

“Our members were completely blind-sided. It had never been mentioned before. There was no discussion, not an inkling that this was happening,” she says.

“The members are shell-shocked, absolutely shell-shocked. They feel like they’ve been lied to. They are really angry. Some of them have worked there a long time.”

Anna says Sanford recently gained a resource consent to expand its salmon farms at Bluff, arguing this would bring jobs and benefits to the community.

“So, the community thought things were solid in Bluff because Sanford made a commitment that there would be more jobs if they got the consent. Now, what they’re saying is, that’s not going to happen for three years.

“People are furious, and they feel very misled.”

Anna says the move appears to be driven by profits.

“Sanford made a $66 million profit last year. So, I said to the CEO, Volker Kuntzsch, ‘How much is enough?’

“He told us shareholders want a $100 million profit and a 10 percent return on shares. So, it’s not like they’re doing this out of financial hardship,” says Anna.

“Bluff’s a small place. There are no other jobs, so they’d have to look outside Bluff. It’s a real blow.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Anna Huffstutler E tū organiser, ph. 027 209 7436

IDEA Services dispute escalates: 12-hour strike Sunday

A 12 hour strike this Sunday by care and support workers at IDEA Services will go ahead after two days of failed mediation this week.

The workers will be striking from 8.30am to 8.30pm.

Three thousand E tū members are affected by the dispute which has been running for eight months and has seen five previous strikes.

E tū union advocate Alastair Duncan says the 12-hour stoppage signals an escalation of strike action.

“To date we have held a series of one-hour stoppages in an effort to convince IDEA of the need to seriously respond to staff concerns around health and safety, workloads and job security,” says Alastair.

“At IDEA’s request we attended additional mediation this week only to find the employer had little constructive to add and only wanted to deal with ‘hypothetical’ bargaining scenarios, with no firm pay offers.”

The union has applied for a formal facilitation process, arguing the bargaining has become protracted and the employer has shown bad faith.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Alastair Duncan E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 245 6593

E tū: screen production bargaining rights welcomed

E tū welcomes the Government’s commitment to legislation which will allow film and television contractors to bargain collectively.

Currently, most workers in New Zealand’s screen sector are contractors without employment rights, including the right to negotiate working conditions collectively.

Workers were legally robbed of this right in 2010, after the Key Government changed the law in response to a bid by Actors Equity to win collective bargaining rights for actors on the film, The Hobbit.

“We are pleased the Government is finally going to address the issue of giving collective bargaining rights to workers employed as contractors in the film and television production industry,” says E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall.

John says the new law may also have implications for other dependant contractors in other industries who have been traditionally locked out of any employment rights.

As well as collective bargaining rights, the legislation will set universal terms for all screen contractors, including good faith provisions; protection from bullying, discrimination and harassment; fair and reasonable contract termination, and fair rates of pay.

The new law is expected to become law in mid-2020.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant Secretary ph. 027 520 1380

E tū welcomes Air NZ move on Tā moko, tattoos

E tu’s Head of Aviation, Savage, has welcomed Air New Zealand’s move to allow employees to display Tā moko and other appropriate tattoos.

Savage says while the tattoo issue has not been a central aspect of the union’s discussions with Air New Zealand it still important.

“For the last two years we’ve been talking to the company about a tattoo and uniform policy that respects gender and cultural diversity,” says Savage.

“New Zealanders are used to seeing tattoos, but it is a smart move for an airline operating globally to forge ahead in this way,” he says.

“Aotearoa is a Pacific nation. No one should be surprised to board an Air New Zealand flight or turn up at a New Zealand airport and be attended to by someone with a tattoo and a smile on their face. Tā moko, tatau and tattoos are all Pacific artforms.”   

Savage says the question of what counts as an appropriate tattoo is a subjective issue but the company has a process in place to deal with that.

“Overall, where it is a concern, employers should have a clear and fair policy on these matters,” says Savage.

“The first step to achieving good workplace policies is to include the people who might be affected by the policy in the discussion, which Air New Zealand has done.

“Air New Zealand is embracing diversity and inclusiveness to increase workplace wellbeing and productivity and as a union we support that.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Savage E tū Director of Aviation ph. 027 590 0074

Fourth assault on hospital security guard

E tū says a fourth assault on a hospital security guard has raised the alarm over health and safety for security guards at the Waikato and Canterbury DHBs.

Both contract out security services to a private company, Allied Security.

The latest assault – the fourth serious assault this year – involved a security guard attacked in the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital on Queen’s Birthday.

The assault occurred just weeks after an earlier very serious attack on a security guard member at Waikato Hospital – where Allied is also the security provider.

Another two guards remain off work after serious assaults at Hillmorton and Christchurch Hospitals.

Christchurch Senior organiser Ian Hodgetts says the string of assaults since Christmas is alarming.

“We are absolutely concerned about such a series of vicious unprovoked attacks on our members, who are simply doing their job,” he says.

Noting the epidemic of violence faced by hospital staff nationwide, he said hospitals needed more security and better security training.

DHBs also needed to improve their staffing and health and safety processes, he said.

E tū Campaign Lead, Mat Danaher says the series of assaults on guards at DHBs has highlighted serious issues with the outsourcing of security services.

“The fact is Allied Security is the security provider at both Waikato and Canterbury DHBs, and I would hope these DHBs, and DHBs nationally, are taking a serious look at who provides their security, and whether the services are fit for purpose,” says Ma

“In the case of Allied, we don’t believe that’s the case and we’ve lost any confidence they’re up to the job.”

Mat says many DHBs employ their security guards in-house – which the union supports.

“Directly employed security seems to be the model to look at for DHBs. Our hospitals are plagued by violence and all staff are affected, not just our security guard members.

“Hospital security needs a whole team approach, and the best way to do that is to make sure guards are part of the same team as other staff.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū Campaign Lead ph. 021 336 519

Ian Hodgetts E tū Senior Organiser ph. 027 446 4972