Author: E tū

TVNZ’s consultation process legally challenged by E tū

E tū has filed a claim with the Employment Relations Authority against TVNZ, as the company did not follow their consultation requirements that are guaranteed for workers in their collective agreement.

The filing comes as TVNZ makes formal announcements about the fate of major parts of their news and current affairs offering, including Fair Go, Sunday, Re: News, and the Midday and Tonight bulletins.

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says it’s vital TVNZ follow the correct processes through such significant changes.

“It’s crystal clear in the TVNZ collective agreement that workers must be involved in developing proposals like this, not just asked for their views at the end of the process,” Michael says.

“The requirement is that union members must be involved in the developmental stages of decision-making processes and in the business planning of the organisation. The fact is, members simply weren’t given the opportunity to engage with the design of TVNZ’s plan until the proposal was presented.

“It is vital that workers are involved all the way through – not just because it’s their right, but because they have valuable insights that would have helped TVNZ to develop a better proposal.”

Michael says the short consultation process has already shown the value of member participation.

“Even just within the flawed process we’ve seen to date, workers have convinced TVNZ to introduce a new team for long-form consumer and current affairs reporting. That’s a win and reinforces that a proper process could have led to much better outcomes.

“There has been a massive outpouring of support for TVNZ’s workers and the vital content they create. The community supports robust news and current affairs to tell Aotearoa’s stories and hold power to account. This is all the more important given we’ve also learned today the plan to take Newshub off air is going ahead.

“We reiterate our call for TVNZ to go back to the drawing board and work properly with their staff to shape a way forward which properly values their massive contribution to our media landscape.”

The contracting model is wrong for NZ Post

E tū is disappointed with NZ Post’s decision to move mail delivery into the parcel network, which will mean workers are moved to a contracting model.

NZ Post announced the details of the plan today, which is a response to declining mail volumes.

Postal worker and E tū delegate in Dunedin, Terry Howells, says workers are upset by the changes.

“I think it’s the end of an era for post itself, and people are quite downtrodden about it,” Terry says.

“A lot of posties took this job because it’s a good lifestyle, and this will be a major disruption to that. I can’t see it working in the long run.

“Being directly employed comes with all the employee benefits we’ve built up over time. I don’t think contractors are treated well here at all, the contracts are tough. Going into that side would be horrible, really. We can see it leading to exploitation, particularly for migrants.”

Terry says that affected workers are still looking for answers.

“It’s difficult to know what the next steps will be, we need more concrete information. The company needs to be a bit more upfront on what direction they’re going in. That’s a crucial part of the transition ahead.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Joe Gallagher, says NZ Post contracting out mail delivery will make them disconnected from the community.

“Having directly employed posties not only gives workers better protections, it also means NZ Post has a real stake in all parts of the delivery of the services,” Joe says.

“Passing the buck to a network of contractors means we’ll see a ‘race to the bottom’ with perverse incentives to make the most money, not deliver the best service. We see examples of this across many different industries.

“Mail delivery volume might be declining, but a robust network remains a core part of our society’s infrastructure.”

Joe says that while the union continues to oppose these changes, E tū and NZ Post are both committed to a ‘just transition’ for affected workers.

“The good news is that due to a long history of strong union membership, NZ Post workers are in a better position to shape their own future and all parties can work together to minimise the harm to affected workers.

“When people lose their jobs, or their jobs become more precarious, it affects the whole community. We’ve been proud of the work we have done in the past to ensure workers who are affected by changes in the post system are on the best footing possible, for example by helping them into new work through the E tū Job Match programme.”

E tū TVNZ members launch Save Our Stories campaign

E tū, the union for journalists and media workers in Aotearoa, is today launching a campaign to stop the proposed changes at TVNZ.

The Save Our Stories campaign is a response to last week’s announcement of a proposal for significant cuts across the workforce and the programmes produced, including cutting the shows Fair Go and Sunday, gutting Re: News, and cutting the Midday and Tonight bulletins.

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says the Save Our Stories campaign is about everyone coming together to protect the media platform.

“We’re bringing together workers, viewers, and supporters to remind TVNZ of their purpose and responsibilities. TVNZ isn’t just some business, it’s a vital part of our society and Kiwis need a strong TVNZ to tell Aotearoa’s stories and hold power to account.

“This is about everyone – every single New Zealander is a stakeholder in this, so we invite everybody who wants to build and protect a strong media landscape to support the campaign.”

The campaign has been launched with a video featuring people from across TVNZ’s workforce, and an open letter.

“So many people have reached out to our union to show their support for TVNZ workers and ask how they can help. From prominent public figures, to people whose lives have been changed thanks to TVNZ’s coverage, to dedicated viewers who don’t want to see their favourite shows get the axe.

“These people can help by signing the open letter, sharing our video, and sending the message to decision-makers that our media is worth protecting.”

TVNZ workers concerned with company’s process and will fight proposed cuts

E tū, the union for media workers in Aotearoa New Zealand, are alarmed by TVNZ’s proposal to cut up to 68 jobs, and are worried there won’t an adequate process for working through this proposal.

TVNZ has told their employees that people will find out if they are affected today, with more specific details to come tomorrow. It is expected that Fair Go, Sunday, Tonight, and Re: are all at risk.

One E tū member at TVNZ says that workers are particularly feeling the pressure around not yet knowing their fate.

“It’s the uncertainty right now around what is proposed that’s the hardest for us,” they say.

“Programmes like Fair Go, Sunday, Tonight, and Re: are well-respected, and continue to be a crucial part of keeping people informed about critical issues that affect their real lives. We are hoping for the best, for the people who watch and the people who make the shows.”

E tū Negotiation Specialist, Michael Wood, says E tū will be challenging the cuts both in the interest of affected members and the wider public who rely on a well-functioning media.

“TVNZ has a responsibility, not just to the Government as sole shareholder but to all New Zealanders, to lead a positive vision for the future of media,” Michael says.

“Our members are deeply concerned that there is no clear strategy developed to protect the TV functions at the heart of the whole TVNZ enterprise.

“As we’ve all recently heard about the decision to close Newshub, it is more important than ever to protect and enhance our local media. TVNZ’s proposal is to do the opposite. Our members are passionate about their work and know the importance of a strong Fourth Estate.”

The company has indicated to the union that they will only open consultation for a very short period of time. Michael says that the consultation process must be genuine.

“Giving workers just a few working days to understand and give feedback on this proposal would be simply ridiculous.

“The workforce at TVNZ are the people best placed to work with the company to solve the problems and find a way forward that protects the vital role they play in our media landscape. In the past, E tū has worked with the company through change processes to successfully protect jobs, maintaining a strong platform for telling Aotearoa’s stories.

“We need to do this again, and it starts with the company engaging, and not dictating. They cannot make the best-informed decisions without a genuine and thorough consultation.

“Every New Zealander has a stake in this decision, as it will have a huge impact on the quality of public media. TVNZ and the Government, as the sole shareholder, must take a wider view that reflects the importance of this platform for everyone.”


Crucial insights for Southland’s business and workforce from the Decent Work Survey

Southland’s first ever region-wide scientific survey of decent work provides valuable information about the experience of local workers.

The survey was conducted over three months from April 2023, inviting all workers in Southland to participate and share their perspectives about employment in the Southland region.

Participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, working in different jobs, from the largest firms to small businesses.

The Decent Work Survey was commissioned by a broad group of stakeholders, including the Southland Business Chamber, the private sector union E tū, Murihiku Regeneration, and Great South, the organisation responsible for the ‘Beyond 2025’ Southland long-term plan.

The survey design, delivery, and data analysis were overseen by independent experts at Massey University.

CEO of the Southland Business Chamber, Sheree Carey, says the Decent Work Survey has significant benefits for the members of the broader business community.

“By understanding employee perspectives on job satisfaction, workplace culture, communication, and professional development, our members can gain valuable insights to enhance their organisations,” Sheree says.

“This initiative aligns with our commitment to creating more engaging and satisfying work environments, ultimately contributing to a productive and positive workplace culture in Southland.”

E tū National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says hearing the perspectives of workers is crucial.

“We know that workers have excellent insights about their own jobs that can often be overlooked,” Rachel says.

“By working with a wide group of interested parties on this survey, we have given a voice to workers across the region and ensured that their experiences can be properly taken into account for a variety of purposes, especially planning for an uncertain future.”

Bobbi Brown, the Project Lead for Beyond 2025 Southland, recognises the role of workers in the Southland economy.

“Our workforce is the lifeblood of our economy and while our unemployment rate remains very low, our employers are very focused on retaining their current staff while also attracting new people to fill vacancies. These insights are very helpful.”

Key insights:

  • Workers feel they are doing useful and meaningful work.
  • The majority of workers in Southland say their pay is not enough or just enough to meeting their basic living needs.
  • Most workers would immediately struggle to meet the cost of basic necessities if they were to lose their job.
  • Workplace culture is closely associated with management practices and the most frequent reason workers decide to leave or stay in their jobs.

E tū urges Government to support NZ media by passing Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill

E tū, the union for journalists and media workers, is urging the Government to pass the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill as an important part of the solution to the problems facing the media in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Last week, it was announced that Newshub and Three will close in June. Recent redundancies affecting Stuff’s sports reporters, and uncertainty about job security across the wider media landscape, demonstrate the revenue constraints that will continue to harm the industry.

E tū senior delegate at Stuff, Tom Hunt, says the Government passing the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill would be a good balance of supporting the industry while maintaining media independence.

“Government help for the media can and has been appreciated, but it can also be a poisoned chalice. It has given people a weapon to attack us with, and that is understandable, even if the so-called media bias is a fiction,” Tom says.

“But the Government helping to create a level playing field against billionaire-owned tech giants is not a bailout. It is rational, and I can see no reason to stop it unless the Government is afraid of scrutiny.”

E tū National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says the matter is urgent.

“Things will just keep getting worse if we don’t find sustainable approaches to the way the digital age has completely changed how people publish and access news,” Rachel says.

“The Government has one simple action it can immediately take to improve confidence in the news industry in the short term and significantly improve its financial viability in the medium term. That is, it must listen to the calls of basically everyone in the industry and support the Fair Digital News Bargaining Bill.

“This is even more important now, given the way the tech giants have responded to similar moves overseas. They cannot be allowed to bully governments into getting their way – we must stand up for fairness as an international community.”

Rachel is concerned the Government doesn’t appear to understand the importance of a well-functioning media landscape.

“The Government can’t just sit on their hands and allow the Fourth Estate to crumble on their watch, they need to step up now.

“Broadcasting Minister Melissa Lee should be a champion of new ways of raising revenue for the industry, but instead she has been slowing the progress of this bill, now using the development of AI as an excuse for inaction.

“Our country deserves much more serious leadership on this matter.”


Border security at risk with plans to cut staff at Customs

The Government’s plan to encourage workers at Customs to take voluntary redundancy puts at risk the vital work of the agency, facilitating a safe and smooth entry and exit through our border, supporting our exports, and keeping New Zealanders safe from organised crime and other threats.

The plans were revealed on Stuff this morning.

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi, Aotearoa and E tū, two unions representing Customs workers, say the plan simply doesn’t stack up.

“We don’t believe Customs can achieve sufficient savings through voluntary redundancies without impacting the critical services Customs provides to protect our land and sea borders,” said Duane Leo, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi, Aotearoa.

“This plan means Customs stands to lose valuable and experienced workers who are our first line of defence against those who threaten the safety and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“These are people helping protect our air and sea borders from dangerous illicit drugs, organised criminal gangs, and who support our importers and exporters by facilitating trade, and smoothing the passage of New Zealand and overseas travellers.

“The PSA finds it surprising that a government that wants to get tough on crime, and gangs, is now hamstringing the key organisation keeping dangerous drugs from falling into the hands of gangs through this badly thought through cost cutting plan. It makes no sense.”

E tū Director, Savage, says the plan will impact people and businesses who rely on a strong and well-functioning Customs Service.

“We should be employing more customs officers, not fewer,” Savage says.

“Customs works very closely with the Ministry of Primary Industries, Immigration New Zealand, and the Defence Force to ensure safe and secure air and seaports. From everyday Kiwis travelling overseas to our exporting industries, we all need a robust Customs Service.

“The Government seems to fail to understand that if we are to prosper as a nation and keep New Zealanders safe, then critical services, like Customs, need to be strengthened. This is another example of the consequences of taking a blunt axe to public services. A sloppy solution to an ill-defined problem. It is really more about finding money to fund tax cuts for landlords and the highest income earners.”

Duane Leo says this is just one example of the extensive attacks the Government is launching against our public services.

“New Zealanders will pay a high price for this, and Customs is just the latest in what is becoming a long line of examples of services suffering through this incoherent cost cutting exercise.” 

Rest in peace, Fa’anana Efeso Collins

From E tū National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh:

E tū is deeply saddened by the passing of Fa’anana Efeso Collins. Our thoughts are with his family and his community as they come to terms with this shocking loss.

Efeso was a friend to E tū and the union movement. He was a Solidarity Member of E tū, and many of our members and staff got to know him well during the 2022 local election campaign, with many of his campaign activities hosted at our Auckland office.

He was a champion of the Living Wage during his time on Auckland Council. He took the time to really engage with our members, to hear their concerns, and to represent them as a community leader. Efeso spoke at our union’s most recent conference, sharing how his own experience shaped the politician he became, especially fighting for some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our communities.

Efeso’s work was an inspiring example of values-driven activism and leadership. We will honour his memory as we continue to fight for fairness and justice in our workplaces and wider communities. 

From the E tū Komiti Pasifika:

We send heartfelt condolences, prayers and alofa to Fia, Kaperiela, and Asalemo, after the tragic passing of le afioga Fa’anana Efeso Collins MPthis is great loss for their aiga, friends, colleagues, and the many communities in Auckland, all throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific, and beyond. 

Fa’anana Efeso was a natural leader. He always fought for Pasifika workers, their families, and other marginalised groups. He was dedicated family man, community leader, and servant of God. He was honest and passionate, and an advocate on issues that many others overlooked, such as injustice for workers, racism, and discrimination. He inspired hope and promoted practical solutions for workers, helping them to rise up and demand fair treatment, justice, and equity in their workplaces. He walked the talk and was a strong supporter of just and secure workplaces where all would prosper, not just the few.

Fa’anana Efeso, your unique presence, charm, handsome smile, wit, intelligence, humour, kindness, compassion, and inspiring courage will be sorely missed. You will be fondly remembered as a genuine and true warrior for the people.

Fa’afetai tele lava mo lou Tautua. Ia Manuia lau malaga Fa’anana Efeso Collins, a great friend, brother and comrade of our union, E tū.

Ua fa’afetai
Ua fa’afetai
Ua malie mata e va’ai

Ua tasi lava oe
Ua tasi lava oe
I lo’u nei fa’amoemoe

E tū takes major cleaning companies to Employment Relations Authority

E tū, the union for cleaners in Aotearoa New Zealand, has filed an application for fixing with the Employment Relations Authority, after the companies party to the Commercial Cleaners Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) have refused to budge, offering their workers no improvements to pay and conditions.

An application for fixing means the union is asking the Employment Relations Authority to determine the terms and conditions of the MECA, as a result of the employer parties breaching good faith provisions, leading to a breakdown in negotiations.

E tū initiated for bargaining in February last year. Since then, the employers party to the MECA have offered no pay increase above the minimum wage and no improvement to terms and conditions such as health and safety protections. They have used both the Fair Pay Agreements process and potential future increases to the minimum wage as excuses not to negotiate constructively with the union and employees.

E tū delegate and cleaner, Mele Peaua, says: “Most of the cleaners are on the minimum wage. We all know how much of a struggle that is for workers.

“I was part of the bargaining team, and we were not happy that the companies didn’t want to bargain for a better deal for cleaners. All we want is to improve wages and get better conditions, beyond the minimum.”

E tū National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh says the companies have been particularly difficult in this bargaining round.

“It’s unprecedented, and frankly quite unbelievable, that the companies are still taking this hardline position of a zero-offer beyond minimum wage,” Rachel says.

“These companies hold some of the biggest cleaning contracts in the country, in both the public and private sectors. The cleaners often work long and unsociable hours, doing the essential job of keeping workplaces and public spaces clean and healthy.

“It wasn’t long ago that cleaners were being celebrated by all of Aotearoa as part of the essential workforce that kept us going during Covid-19 disruptions. The companies need to show they respect and value their employees, instead they are demonstrating the complete opposite.”