Author: E tū

E tū Aviation commemorates air tragedies

November 28th is the day for all New Zealanders to stop and think about the importance of aviation safety.

New Zealand’s largest aviation union, E tū is today commemorating two aviation tragedies which happened on the same day 29 years apart.

In 1979, an Air New Zealand scenic flight over Antarctica crashed into Mt Erebus killing all 257 people on board including 20 crew.

E tū aviation members and union representatives will attend the annual wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden at Auckland Airport this afternoon.

There will be a minute’s silence at 1.49pm (12:49 NZST) – the time the crash occurred.

E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage says the memorial remembers the crew who died there including 15 cabin crew who never came home from work.

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the crash involving an Air NZ A320 which crashed off the coast of Perpignan in France in 2008.

Five New Zealand aviation workers died in that crash including Air New Zealand engineers Murray White, Michael Gyles and Noel Marsh.

“Just as we honoured the memory of the men who died at Pike River, so we should remember the people who died in the Erebus tragedy and in the A320 crash,” says Savage.

“Air disasters are a tragedy for everyone involved but we should never forget that they are also workplace accidents.

“Our aviation industry connects us to the world. Our entire economy and the lives of workers and passengers alike is dependent on maintaining the highest possible aviation safety standards”.

ENDS

 What: wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden

Where:  Auckland Airport – the memorial is located to the side of the Tom Pearce Drive 300m north of Puhunui Road roundabout

When: 28th November 1.30pm – there is a minute’s silence at the time of impact 1:49 (12:49 NZST)

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Savage E tū Aviation Director ph. 027 590 0074

 

 

E tū DHB MECA huge win for members

A new multi-employer agreement, or MECA, for public hospital service workers is a huge win for members, with many receiving pay-rises of up to 40 percent over the next three years.

The MECA sets the conditions for about 3500 service workers, including cleaners, laundry workers, orderlies, catering and security staff at the country’s 20 District Health Boards. E tū is confident about finalising the same settlement with the major DHB contractors by the end of the year.

Those on the lowest rates will benefit the most through formal training with this settlement lifting wages for another historically undervalued female dominated workforce.

“This is a fantastic outcome for members who have struggled with costs rising faster than their low wages,” says Sam Jones, E tū’s National Hospitals Coordinator.

“It’s a major investment by the DHBs and the Government in the lowest paid workers in our public hospitals and helps deliver on the Government’s promise to lift the living standard of those at the bottom,” he says.

Sam says by lifting wages, the MECA will benefit families and communities with the worst health statistics.

“It’ll be easier for people to pay the bills and feed their families properly so they’re healthier and happier.”

“Everyone is looking forward to the new pay deal,” says Auckland DHB cleaner, Lena Hiku.

“We will get a good wage in 40 hours without having to work overtime on the weekend. This will be good for our family life and for our health,” she says.

Sam says the DHBs are committed to providing the training workers need to gain qualifications with higher wage rates, “which is great news for our members.

“These jobs are an important entry point into the health service and the promotion of training will enable some to progress in the public health sector making the settlement a real win/win.

“The increases are impressive and the work of E tū on behalf of members, and the DHB on behalf of the government should be applauded.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Sam Jones E tū National Hospitals Coordinator ph. 027 544 8563

We can also put reporters in touch with members who can speak about the new MECA.

Some figures:

  • By the end of the MECA term, new workers on the basic scale will start on $20.90 an hour – an increase of 26.7 percent on the start rates.
  • E tū hopes to see all members earn a Level 3 qualification which will mean a pay rise from $17.28 to almost $25.00 by 2021 – an increase of 40.9%.
  • At the top of the basic grade, wages will lift to $21.25 an hour from June this year – an immediate increase of nearly 10 percent. This will increase to at least $25.63 over the next three years – which is 30 percent more than those on the top step of the basic grade earn now.

All new rates will be backdated to 25 June 2018

 

National to blame for Kiwibank changes

E tū sympathises with community concerns over the loss of Kiwibank branches – an issue with obvious implications for our Kiwibank and Post members.

Union Industry Coordinator, Joe Gallagher says the union is working with Kiwibank to minimise job losses as Post ejects Kiwibank from its sites and franchises out postal services.

“Our primary concern is that members are able to transfer within the new structure or to exit with dignity. It’s about minimising job losses,” he says.

However, he says it needs to be recognised that these are changes forced by the previous National Government.

“The National Govt set this pathway five years ago when it changed its Deed of Understanding with NZ Post, allowing it to close post shops, which hosted Kiwibank branches.”

He says he understands why local politicians might react to bank closures on behalf of their constituents, “but it’s a bit rich when one of them is National MP, Nick Smith whose government set this up,” he says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Joe Gallagher E tū Industry Coordinator ph. 027 591 0015

Second strike by E tū Sistema members

E tū members at Sistema have taken strike action this morning, walking off the job at the giant Auckland plastics factory at 11am.

The strike follows a walk-out by nightshift union members from 11pm on Tuesday as workers take action over low pay and poor conditions – issues the company won’t budge on.

Striking workers will be picketing at the plant this morning and available for media to speak to.

“It’s a hard thing for these workers to take this action, especially so close to Christmas. They work hard for the money,” says E tū Lead Organiser, Mat Danaher.

“But they are determined to win a better deal for themselves and their colleagues and are prepared to make sacrifices to do that,” he says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū Lead Organiser ph. 021 336 519

Picket:

Where: Sistema Plastics 221 Ihumatao Road, Mangere

When: from 11am –

 

 

 

Night-time strike at Sistema

 

E tū members working at Sistema Plastics in Auckland walked out at 11pm last night in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Sistema workers have been negotiating with their employer since February, with the aim of getting more than the minimum wage.

Sistema worker Maria Latu says, “We don’t want to strike, but we know our employer does not value us.

“We work long hours for just above the minimum wage. We get sick, we don’t spend enough time with our families, and our bosses just tell us to go and work somewhere else if we don’t like it.”

E tū Campaign Lead Mat Danaher says that Sistema have driven their workers to take drastic steps by refusing to listen to them.

“Sistema make millions selling their products all round the world. They are a well-known Kiwi brand, sold last year for $600 million, and yet they refuse to recognise the worth of their workers.”

“We’re sick of it,” says Maria. “My colleagues have had enough, we are prepared to stand up to have a chance at a decent life.”

“It’s about time Sistema came to the table and gave their staff an offer that will make a big difference to their lives, but which will be tiny drop in the ocean when it comes to their profit,” says Mat.

ENDS

More information contact:

Mat Danaher E tū ph. 021336519

 

 

E tū welcomes Pike River re-entry

E tū has welcomed the decision to proceed with the re-entry of the Pike River mine drift in a bid to uncover the cause of death of the 29 men who died there in November 2010.

The Minister in charge of the re-entry effort, Andrew Little made the announcement this morning, together with some of the Pike River families, E tū officials, police, and members of the Pike River Recovery Agency.

“This is a major victory for the families and their supporters who fought hard for this outcome, which we hope will further illuminate the cause of this tragedy which cost the lives of 29 workers,” says Paul Tolich, E tū Senior Industrial Officer.

“The more we know, the more we can plan to protect lives in high-risk industries,” he says.

“For the families, it holds the hope of closure and it is a milestone in the campaign for justice.

“It is also important for health and safety and the prevention of deaths on the job. All workers have the right to return home to their families at the end of the working day.

“The union also congratulates Andrew Little, the Minister responsible for the Pike River entry, who has shown fine leadership in carrying this task through to fruition.

“Although she is no longer with us, Helen Kelly has also been vindicated in her support for the families and the fight to re-enter the mine.

“This also shows what can be achieved by those who battle for a just outcome. The families have shown that if you campaign long enough and your cause is just, you can achieve success despite the naysayers who told the families they were wasting their time.

“When you have a government determined to do the right thing, you can achieve an outcome that serves justice and vindicates the families’ long years of struggle.

“This is yet again another example where the Labour/NZ First government has fulfilled the promises made on the campaign trail.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Paul Tolich E tū Senior Industrial Officer ph. 027 593 5595

 

Big fine after worker caught in press

31 October 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

Big fine after worker caught in press

E tū has welcomed the big fine handed down to Carter Holt Harvey LVL plant at Ruakaka in Northland after a member was seriously injured in October 2016.

Steven Vincent had his chest and shoulder crushed, suffering multiple fractures, lacerations and lung injuries after his body became trapped in a conveyor belt at the plant.

A WorkSafe investigation found the LVL press machine wasn’t guarded, in breach of the company’s health and safety procedures.

In the District Court in Whangarei today, CHH LVL Ruakaka was ordered to pay Mr Vincent $55,000 in reparations, and fined $371,000 plus costs.

E tū organiser, Annie Tothill says the judge said he had taken into account the fact that there were more than 26 previous cases involving Carter Holt Harvey, some involving a lack of guarding, which in this case added another $60,000 to the fine.

“This was essential guarding,” says Annie.

“Steve was putting his body at risk.  His whole body went into the press. Not only was there inadequate guarding: there was no guarding at all.”

Annie says the fine sends a message that workplaces must be safe and that a failure to meet basic safety requirements is unacceptable.

“Steve has suffered months of agony and recovery from his injuries – he’s only recently had more surgery for the lung damage caused by this terrible accident and may require more,” says Annie.

“He is lucky to be alive.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Annie Tothill E tū organiser ph. 027 573 4934

 

Workers to picket Sistema

From 5am to 9am tomorrow, Sistema E tū members and supporters will picket outside the plant to highlight problems caused by Sistema’s low pay and poor working conditions.

There will also be a sausage sizzle, with other workers and members of community groups also attending to show their support.

Most workers at Sistema are on the minimum wage, working 60 hours a week.

“Production has recently ramped up, but a revolving door of staff shows workers are increasingly unwilling to put up with the long hours and poor pay,” says Mat Danaher, E tū Campaign Lead Organiser.

“New staff are starting every day and then leaving as soon as they can,” says Sistema worker and E tū delegate, Sesilia Williams.

“Sometimes they just drive off at the first break, not even telling anyone they’re going,” she says.

“They get here and soon realise they’re not able to handle the work or hours, and the pay doesn’t make it worth their while. They would rather take their chance that there is another job out there.

“Meanwhile, the high turnover is putting greater pressure on the workers who stay to pick up the slack and fill those Christmas orders,” says Sesilia.

Mat says Sistema refuses to learn the lesson that it has much to gain from providing decent, well-paid job with reasonable hours.

“Other New Zealand companies have realised that taking care of their staff makes their businesses more productive, as well as being of benefit to their workers. Sistema needs to take that on board.

“Workers there have had enough, and this picket and sausage sizzle is a way for them to show their frustration, blow off a little steam, and enjoy the company of other people who will be joining them to show their support,” says Mat.

ENDS

For more information or to speak with workers, contact:

Mat Danaher E tū Campaign Lead Organiser ph. 021 336 519