Author: E tū

COVID-19 package “A strong start”

E tū is welcoming the Government’s first phase of the financial stimulus package.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh says that the announcement is a strong start and will help some workers deal with the stress that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is causing in their work lives and beyond.

“We have now been assured that the Government is taking an appropriate leadership role in protecting New Zealand workers, businesses, and communities,” Rachel says.

“We particularly welcome the aspects of the package that support all working people, whether they are employees, contractors, or casual workers.

“It’s very important to get this right, as the gig economy sees more and more workers without the protections that they need.”

However, Rachel acknowledges that many E tū members will need further assurance that they will be looked after.

“The $100 million allocated for assisting with redeployment will be crucial for our members who are already facing redundancies. Redeployment needs to happen effectively, which means consolation with workers, unions, iwi, and the wider community.

“We eagerly anticipate the details of the package that will relate to certain E tū members, such as the over 5,000 E tū members at Air New Zealand. We urge Air New Zealand and other aviation employers to come to the party, as the Government has done.

“The Finance Minister has described the response as ‘swift, decisive, and compassionate’ which is exactly the right direction to be heading in.

“We will stay together in union and engage with the Government and employers to end up in the best possible position. This is the start of a very rocky road, and the voice of working people will be vital at every twist and turn.”

ENDS

For more info and comment:
Rachel Mackintosh, 027 543 7943

COVID-19: Air NZ cannot afford to lose valuable staff

E tū is urging Air New Zealand and all aviation employers to minimise job losses as the company announces they estimate 30% workers will be made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E tū, the largest aviation union in New Zealand with 5,200 at Air New Zealand, is holding urgent delegate meetings across the workforce to discuss the company’s announcement.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Rachel Mackintosh says that mass redundancies will not be in the company’s long-term interest.

“Air New Zealand knows that their dedicated workers are the backbone of their operation. Our challenge to them is to hold fast to their commitment to high-wage, high-skill employment,” Rachel says.

“They have a choice in how they respond to this crisis and we call on them to work with people in our unions to find a way through that builds a future of decent work, skill development and a strong voice for the experts – the people who do the work.”

Rachel says that it’s not just aviation workers who will be affected by immediate economic impact of the pandemic.

“This is the start of a much larger challenge that all Kiwis will need to face together. Air New Zealand has an opportunity to lead by example and pull out all stops to keep workers employed in good jobs.

“As the largest private sector union in New Zealand, with over 54,000 members, we represent people across the many industries that will be affected by the economic effects of COVID-19.

“People working in hospitality and tourism will clearly feel knock-on effects from the border restrictions. Our members in healthcare, including aged care and hospital workers, are understandably worried about the months ahead.”

E tū is expecting the Government’s economic package announced tomorrow to minimise the impact of the economic downturn on workers in aviation and beyond as much as possible.

“Working people simply cannot bear the brunt of the incoming economic fallout. Our Government’s intervention must go as far as it possibly can to guarantee income for everyone affected.”

ENDS

For more info and comment:
Rachel Mackintosh, 027 543 7943

E tū is deferring our Delegate Forums due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

You will all be aware of the fast-developing COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. The Government has announced tight measures to contain the virus as long as possible before community-transmission takes hold.  We are playing our part in the public health response.

E tū is deferring our Delegate Forums that were going to be held during April until further notice.

Please advise your employer now that leave to attend your Delegate Forum is no longer required.

Delegate Forum remits and representation to our July 2020 E tū Conference
 
Our Delegate Forums include two important constitutional functions:

  • Delegate Forums can put remits to the E tū Biennial Conference scheduled for July 2020.
  • Delegate Forums elect representatives to attend Conference.

Over the next few days, we will be emailing you to call for remits and nominations for Conference representation.
 
Conference remits
 
Over the coming days, we will send you an email calling for any remits that you may want to have discussed at Conference.
 
Any remits that are sent back to us will be tracked to the relevant Delegate Forum that they are linked to.  Remember that under our rules our National Executive will be making recommendations to conference in relation to remits received.
 
Conference representatives
 
We will also email you to call for nominations from among delegates to represent their Delegate Forum at our Conference.
 
We will receive those nominations, including the required nominator and seconder, and track them to the Delegate Forum they are linked to.  Nominations must have a brief supporting biography.
 
We will then run an online voting process sending nominations and biographies to delegates linked to relevant Delegate Forums and receiving their online vote response.
 
Our Returning Officer, Christopher Gordon, has already been endorsed by our National Executive and can oversee the voting process.
 
There is no need to do anything now – we will email you separately on these matters over the coming days.
 
Thank you.
 
Bill Newson
E tū National Secretary

COVID-19: Aviation workers under unprecedented pressure

E tū is preparing for a scale of disruption to the aviation industry unlike anything we’ve witnessed before, after the Prime Minister’s announcement this afternoon that all people arriving in New Zealand will have to self-quarantine for 14 days, ensuring a massive hit to the aviation industry.

“Today’s unprecedented announcement will test aviation workers like never before as the whole industry scales back its operations in response,” says Savage, E tū’s Head of Aviation.

“As New Zealand’s largest aviation union, we have close to 8000 members all over New Zealand. We have implemented a comprehensive plan to ensure union members and their workplace leaders are supported and can get the information they need. We have already been involved in talks and negotiations with multiple employers. That work will escalate in the weeks ahead as employers begin consulting employees about what the shutdowns mean in their sector.

“It is not just international flying. The flow on effects into domestic and regional networks will be huge. Thousands of workers and their families will be affected as cabin crew, caterers, aviation security, customs, airport workers, engineers, ground handlers, refuellers, and cargo workers see a massive drop off in work. Workers risk redundancies if these hard measures carry on too long.

“The Government’s commitment to supporting the Aviation industry will be vital. Aviation is a life blood industry. It must be supported and ready to rebound soon as the restrictions finish. Aviation workers are skilled workers with high security clearance – the industry cannot afford to lose their skills and workers must remain ready to take off again as soon as possible.  

“Flying itself is still safe. New Zealanders should take advantage of the low fares on offer and explore New Zealand.”

Savage says that it’s not just aviation members who will be affected by today’s decision.

“As the largest private sector union in New Zealand, with over 53,000 members, we represent people across many industries that will be affected by this decision, particularly in hospitality and tourism. That’s on top of the thousands of members in healthcare, such as workers in aged care and hospitals, who are already grappling with this.

“Unions are all about maximising mutual cooperation and collective support – values important to all Kiwis. Now more than ever it is time for New Zealanders to rally around and look after each other. Especially those who are most vulnerable.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Savage, Head of Aviation, 027 590 0074

NZ Post bargaining update – 12 March 2020

E tū, PWUA and NZ Post met for three days of bargaining over 10,11 and 12 March.

There were over 90 claims combined between the three parties and over 50 people in the room so it is a large and complex bargaining process.

Amongst many important claims, the major claims for E tū were around wages, location of work and movement between sites, and a fair deal for PPM posties if PPM is taken away. These claims remain unresolved and we are not satisfied with the company’s position nor offers on these matters.

There was some provisional agreement on smaller claims of ours including parity for goldplated Courier Post members, a review of bereavement leave wording, a review of annual leave policies and when it can be taken, paid breaks for SDCs. There were also some positive discussions around forklift rates but they are not yet resolved.

Post has the largest number of claims. Some of these were considered clawbacks the by the unions, and we resisted them strongly. We agreed to some claims of the company’s that were simple wording fixes or the removal of unnecessary clauses.

E tū and PWUA worked strongly together to advance the interests of all union members regardless of which union they belong to.

We are meeting again on 18 and 19 March.

PLEASE NOTE: WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE COMPANY IS CURRENTLY SENDING OUT UPDATE TO ALL MANAGERS AND TEAM LEADERS. THIS UPDATE IS THE COMPANY’S UPDATE ONLY AND DOES NOT REFLECT E TŪ’S POSITION ON ALL MATTERS.

Latest COVID-19 update to all aviation workers

Dear E tū Aviation members,

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is reassuring people it is safe to fly and is encouraging people to carry on doing so. 

E tū has now escalated our response beyond the initial focus on health and safety to address the wider economic impacts of a prolonged disruption to aviation schedules and aviation work.

If you or your workplace leaders not getting accurate answers from your employer about your safety and health concerns or about the business effects in your workplace please let the union organisers know and they can assist you to set up meetings with your managers and help obtain the information you require.

Financial Effects
While the financial disruptions are already being felt (particularly by part-time workers) this disruption will be temporary and it will eventually end. Unfortunately at present no one knows how long the disruptions will last and what the wider economic effects might be.

Some employers are already encouraging staff to take leave and offering unpaid leave options as a preliminary way to deal with the lack of available work. It is expected some employers will seek temporary dispensation to alter work hours or pay rates but a temporary decrease in profitability does not automatically mean workers should give up terms and conditions.  If, however, jobs are at genuine risk or an employer cannot sustain the business through this period then the union will be open to discuss the matter with employers and assess any temporary solutions proposed. 

Rest assured any request to negotiate temporary changes to employment agreements will be assessed on a case by case basis after taking guidance from the affected members. E tū members want to raise standards in aviation not decrease them. We will not tolerate employers who try to take advantage of the outbreak to undermine working conditions.

Safe Travel
As someone in the industry you can reassure friends and family that flying and air travel is not the problem. The closure of air travel routes is about containment and border safety. It is stopping the spread of infected people to other countries. It is not because flying itself is a risk.

People are not becoming infected because they flew on a plane. They are becoming infected through close contact with a person displaying symptoms. Close contact with an infected and symptomatic person may make a person sick but being on board an aircraft or walking through an airport is not enough. Casual contact with people in public places is not the main source of risk.

At the recent IATA conference in Singapore, Dr David Powell, IATA’s Medical Advisor stated:

“To date, there’s no real evidence of transmission from one passenger to another passenger, despite the fact we know there are instances where people have flown and traveled even when already sick with a fever.

“Most of this outbreak has been driven by close contact with people that are significantly sick and by close contact, in the most cases there actually has been household contact or healthcare worker contact.

“So whilst all of us have seen media reports at the exceptions to that rule, amongst those 90,000 people [infected worldwide], really most of them have been truly close, in other words up close and personal with people unwell at the time”.

Key Points
The following are some key things to keep in mind as the situation develops: 

  • Do not believe everything you read in the media or hear from a friend /co-worker about the virus or the economic effects. Instead take necessary and sensible safety precautions as advised by medical authorities.
  • Seek out reliable evidence-based sources of information.
  • Make use the Ministry of Health website on COVID-19
  • NOTE: We have contacted the Ministry of Health to press for better and more up to date aviation specific information. Their current advice for ‘airline workers’ (dated 5 Feb) is out of date and was written specifically about flights from mainland China at that time. 
  • Remain aware of the difference between the risks involved in ‘close contact’ and ‘casual contact’ and between an ‘infected person displaying symptoms’ and an ‘infected person who is asymptomatic’. Medical advice is that unless you are in close contact with someone who is displaying symptoms you are unlikely to be at risk. Practice good hand hygiene and encourage those around you to do the same. 
  • Employers should be acting under Ministry Health advice. This includes decisions on when a worker who has been in casual contact at work with an infected person may have to self-isolate. If you believe your employer is not following MOH advice you have every right to question their processes and escalate the matter if needed within the company or organisation. If you need help doing this reach out to your union workplace leaders or the union office for assistance. 
  • If your gym, or your child’s school or anyone in public attempts to treat you differently because you work in aviation or at the airport reassure them firmly that working in Aviation is not a risk factor. Point out that treating someone differently because of their perceived health status is not appropriate or rational or helpful. Especially in a country with such low rates of infection. If you need assistance to overcome unfair treatment please contact the union for guidance.  

Thanks for taking the time to read this and the information provided.

Union organisers are on hand to advise your delegates, health and safety reps and fellow union members on the ongoing aspects of this virus outbreak. 

We will issue COVID-19 updates on a regular basis until further notice. Being in union is about looking out for one another and now is a great time to do just that. 

Savage                                          
E tū Aviation
Head of Aviation  

COVID-19 (coronavirus) info for E tū members

In brief:

  • You should not be going to work if you get sick.
  • Your employer can’t make you take unpaid leave for directed leave (such as preventative self-isolation after potential exposure to the virus).
  • E tū will advocate with your employer to make sure you are not unnecessarily out of pocket.

All workers who have potential coronavirus symptoms or who may have been in contact with anyone who may have coronavirus are being asked by the Government to register with Healthline and undertake self-isolation for 14 days as a precaution to help stop the spread of the virus.

Self-isolation means staying away from others, which obviously prohibits attending the workplace in most cases.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers have a duty to eliminate or minimise risks and hazards to their workers and any others who may come to the workplace. This means they should not require an employee to come to work if they are required to be in self-isolation.
 
Where staff are in isolation, we argue that the appropriate course of action for employers is to continue to pay them as normal.

It would not be appropriate for an employer to require an employee to take annual leave or unpaid leave where they are in isolation for legitimate health and safety reasons.

In our view, requiring employees to use sick leave entitlement would be unfair as ‘self-isolation for 14 days’ consumes most sick leave entitlement for a whole year.

It may be possible for an employee to work from home and this should be explored.

Employers are obliged to operate in good faith in their employment relationships.  Isolation due to coronavirus is an extenuating individual circumstance and we ask employers to recognise that by allowing the 14 days isolation period on normal pay. 

Further, if an employer directs and employee to not attend work when they are fit and able for work then the employer must pay them for that time away from work.

Bill Newson
National Secretary

Events: The Future of Journalism and Media

Our events with Jacqueline Park are happening next week in Auckland and Wellington.

Jacqui is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Media Transition, University of Technology, Sydney, and will speak on her report on media innovation in New Zealand and Australia. Both events will also explore the role of public media.

Jacqui’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion at both events, featuring top media players for what we hope will be a lively exploration of issues and challenges confronting the Fourth Estate, as well as the latest media innovations in Australasia. Audience participation is welcome!

Details are below:

In Auckland:
When: Thursday, 5 March, 5pm for a 5.30pm start – 7pm.Venue: Foyer, NZME, 2 Graham Street (off Victoria Street) Auckland

The panel will be chaired by Brent Edwards, the Political Editor of NBR and will include Spinoff founder, Duncan Grieve, Rick Neville, the Editorial Director of the Newspaper Publishers Association, Miryana Alexander, Head of Premium NZME, and Chris Warren, former Federal Secretary of the Media Entertainment Alliance of Australia.

In Wellington:
Venue: Beehive Theatrette
When: Friday, 6 March 3pm-5pm

The event will be hosted by Broadcasting Minister, Kris Faafoi. The panel includes Chair Chris Warrant as well as Bernard Hickey from Newsroom and Kim Griggs from RNZ. 

If you can make either of these exciting events, we’d love to see you there!

NB: if you plan to attend the Wellington event you will need to provide you name to parliament at least two days beforehand for security purposes. You can do this by emailing Brent Edwards with your details: [email protected]

Names in by Tuesday 3 March please.

E tū: NZ First photographs deeply worrying

14 February 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

E tū: NZ First photographs deeply worrying

The journalists’ union, E tū is seeking an assurance from New Zealand First on behalf of its journalist members, that it is not involved in tracking journalists as they go about their work.

Reports that coalition member New Zealand First took photographs of Stuff journalist Matt Shand and RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner meeting former New Zealand First president Lester Gray in Tauranga are deeply worrying.

Paul Tolich, E tū Senior National Industrial Officer says the union is not reassured by Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters’ initial response that “we took the photographs just to prove that’s the behaviour going on”, nor his subsequent claim that one of the party’s supporters took the photograph.

“Mr Peters and his party might be unhappy with the reporting of the party’s fundraising, but journalism’s role is to hold those in power to account without fear or favour,” says Paul.

“The work of Mr Shand and Mr Espiner is a good example of that.

“The sort of tactics undertaken by New Zealand First in photographing the journalists and then having the photograph posted on a right-wing political blog is chillingly similar to other examples of attacks on journalists as they go about their work in countries where the freedom of journalists is suppressed.

“Mr Peters needs to apologise to the journalists and give a categorical assurance nothing like this will happen again.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

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