Author: E tū

E tū aviation members monitor coronavirus situation

E tū says it is monitoring the situation with the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan China, and has so far claimed 80 lives.

E tū cabin crew regularly fly to China and airport workers interact with thousands of travellers every day. E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage says the union’s delegates and Health and Safety reps are keeping a close watch on developments.

“Every employer has a duty of care to ensure employees are well-informed and that safety procedures and equipment are fit for purpose at the increased risk levels being experienced,” says Savage.

“At the moment the situation does not appear to be worse than the SARS virus, and it’s important for people not to panic.

“However, it is serious, and union members in the air and on the ground are questioning their employers to make sure they have up to date public health advice and are not unduly exposed to any more risk than they ordinarily are,” he says.

“It is important that workers talk to their employer whenever they see any risk to health and safety. Everyone at work has an obligation to be safe at work. But, in an epidemic situation like this, employers have an extra responsibility to act fast to support the workers most at risk and to ensure they are informed and protected”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Savage Head of Aviation, E tū ph. 027 590 0074

E tū response to Imperial Tobacco closure proposal

E tū has been meeting with our members at Imperial Tobacco in Petone, where workers learned this week about a proposal by global parent company Imperial Brands to close the plant.

E tū represents 82 workers at the plant.

“Imperial Tobacco’s global parent has proposed shutting the factory,” says E tū organiser, Damon Rongotaua.

“We are meeting with our members to guide them through the process and working with the company to ensure our people are well-looked after pending a final decision on 13 February.”

The union won’t be commenting further until 13 February when the final decision is known.

ENDS

Another much-needed minimum wage increase

The Government are continuing their commitment to raise wages for Kiwis with the announcement that the statutory minimum wage will go up to $18.90 in April 2020.

The increase of $1.20 is equal to this year’s increase, which was the biggest increase in the adult minimum wage in dollar terms in New Zealand’s history.

Auckland security guard Lavinia Kafoa is thrilled with the news.

“It really sounds great to me. As a single mother, every bit of extra income makes a lot of difference,” Lavinia says.

“For my family, being on minimum wage means I spend many more hours at work than with my boys at home. I explain to them that mum has to work more hours to earn more money so we can afford everything we need.

“It’s a struggle to keep up the all the rising costs, especially rent.

“It can be especially hard during the school holidays. My boys are at home, so I have to get everything ready for them before I go to work. I wish I could spend more time with them.”

Lavinia says that the struggle is felt by her colleagues as well.

“Lots of us at work are single parents so we’re on the same page. We don’t like working for only the minimum wage, but we have no choice. We need to get out there and earn what we can.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman says that while minimum wage increases are very important, they are only one part of the picture.

“We’re very pleased that the Government has kept to their commitment of significant increases to the minimum wage,” Annie says.

“However, we’re still waiting for the Government to deliver on some of their other promises. In the 2017 election campaign, all three coalition partners committed to paying the Living Wage to all core government workers, including those employed by contractors.

“Time’s running out to deliver the Living Wage for the people who need it most.”

Annie says that it’s not just all about wage increases.

“If the Government is to oversee fundamental changes to the New Zealand workforce, they need to implement strong Fair Pay Agreement legislation as soon as possible.

“Many thousands of workers on low wages are exploited by the contracting model, which sees businesses in a ‘race to the bottom’ – paying low wages to stay competitive.

“Fair Pay Agreements would put a stop to that by setting minimum standards bargained by unions and employers. Security guards like Lavinia, as well as cleaners, retail workers, and many others would have their lives transformed by decent Fair Pay Agreement legislation.

“We whole-heartedly commend the Government for lifting wages – now let’s see the transformational changes that we need to fix inequality in New Zealand.

ENDS

For more info or comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340

Lavinia Kafoa may be available for limited interviews this afternoon. To arrange:
Sam Gribben, 027 204 6329

Strike 3 tomorrow at Woburn Masonic Village

E tū caregivers strike tomorrow for a third time as they continue their fight to end their precarious hours and the 24/7 availability in case of roster changes which is required by their employer, Masonic Care Limited.

The members, who are seeking set shifts and hours, have likened their current conditions to the availability requirements of now illegal zero-hour contracts. 

The workers will be picketing outside the care home during the strike, which runs from 8.30am until 1pm.

E tū member, Mo Tonga says precarious hours are extremely challenging for caregivers like herself who have children, and she needs guaranteed hours so she can have a decent life.

“It’s difficult, being a young mum, having to try to sort out my child and work at the same time, it’s quite stressful. I could spend the times when I’m off work with my daughter, but I have to put her in day care from Monday to Friday.

“It’s a huge issue for me. I have to be available 24/7. If I don’t have enough hours in a fortnight, I have to pick up other shifts and it’s hard to plan my life around that, just having to leave my daughter to come to work. I’d love to have those set shifts just so I can plan my life properly.”

E tū organiser, Robert Ibell says the rosters undermine the intent of the equal pay settlement, which is being subverted by providers like Masonic Care Limited.

“The rosters at Woburn Masonic Village don’t give our members secure hours and a weekly income they can live on,” says Robert.

“The equal pay settlement was intended to place caregivers on a professional footing with training and pay to match but instead we are seeing hours cut, and workers on these very precarious contracts.

“For our members affected by this erosion of decent work, this is about winning rosters which give them a life and protect the care standards of the residents,” he says.

Meanwhile, the union is awaiting a response from Masonic Care Limited to its application for facilitated bargaining.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Robert Ibell E tū organiser ph. 027 436 0089.

To speak with our delegates, please contact Robert, or Karen Gregory-Hunt, Communications Officer, ph. 022 269 1170.

The members will be picketing from 8.30am outside Woburn Masonic Village, 63 Wai-Iti Crescent, Woburn, Lower Hutt

We’ve won the Living Wage at schools!

Pressure from E tū members wins living wage commitment for directly employed school cleaners, caretakers, canteen workers, and ground staff

As you may have heard over the weekend, the Labour Party has confirmed their intention to lift wages for E tū members directly employed in schools to the Living Wage. This announcement came on the back of pressure from E tū not to leave the lowest paid in schools out of their commitment to the Living Wage at schools. 

Your E tū bargaining team is in negotiations with MOE officials on December 11 and will be discussing how and when the Living Wage will be delivered, as well as margins recognising skills, qualifications, services, and duties undertaken by caretakers and ground staff. 

Another priority in this process will be protections against contracting out of this commitment and potential cuts in hours with added pressure on schools operations budget funding which currently also covers your wages. 

We are seeking reasonable compensation for availability for caretakers who have been carrying phones and/or attending call-outs. This is a requirement of a legislative change from 2016 so we will be seeking back pay for members. 

We will update you following this meeting, but in the meantime, keep the pressure on making this change happen quickly by asking your fellow cleaners, canteen workers, caretakers, and ground staff, to join with you in E tū! They can join online at etu.nz/join 

Facilitation sought as caregivers strike again

E tū has applied to the Employment Relations Authority for facilitation of the dispute over working conditions at Woburn Masonic Village in Lower Hutt.

Workers take strike action tomorrow for a second time over guaranteed hours and a requirement by facility operator Masonic Care Limited for 24/7 availability in case of roster changes.

Our members, who are seeking set shifts and hours, have likened this to the availability requirements of now illegal zero-hour contracts. 

The workers will be picketing outside the village during the strike, which is scheduled to begin at 8.30am through until 1pm.

The application for facilitation notes the difficulty settling a collective agreement and the lengthy bargaining period. Talks were initiated over a year ago.

It details issues relating to security of hours of work and appropriate roster arrangements, as well as weekend allowances and sick leave.

“Our members are only asking for what is fair,” says E tū Director, Sam Jones.

“What they are seeking are considered standard terms and conditions across residential aged care, and they need the ability to plan their lives outside the important work they do.”

Woburn Masonic Village delegate, Sela Mulitalo supports the application for facilitation.

“It’s something we need to do,” says Sela. “Our employer hasn’t responded to our strike and it shows they’re not really keen to do anything to resolve the issues.”

Meanwhile, Sela says the members are looking ahead to tomorrow’s strike.

“They were hyped by the Tuesday strike!” says Sela. “They felt good, they felt empowered by that. They’re looking forward to tomorrow and the support we’ve had has given our members good vibes all round.

“It’s sad we are forced to take this action – our members don’t want to strike. But they have been forced into it because they don’t want to be on-call 24/7 for their part-time guaranteed hours.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Sam Jones E tū Director ph. 027 544 8563. To speak with our delegates, please contact Robert Ibell ph.027 436 0089 or Karen Gregory-Hunt, Communications Officer, ph. 022 269 1170.

The members will be picketing from 8.30am outside Woburn Masonic Village, 63 Wai-Iti Crescent, Woburn, Lower Hutt; also, cnr Woburn and Wai-Iti Crescent

E tū: Claymark members wait for certainty

E tū says uncertainty hangs over the future of forest products firm Claymark Group after it was placed in receivership, though the hope is it will find a buyer.

E tū has 20 members at the Claymark processing site on Geddes Road in Rotorua, one of six sites around the country.

E tū Team Leader, Raymond Wheeler says news of the receivership came as “a bolt from the blue but considering the news, the mood of the members remains positive and hopeful a buyer can be secured.”

He says the union has spoken to the receiver and for now the company continues to trade as normal.

“That is good news given this time of year,” says Raymond.

“There is a sale and purchase agreement with New Zealand Future Forest Products which is open until 31 December, so they are obviously still negotiating. But because Claymark couldn’t meet its debt repayment schedule, the receiver’s been called in and will work with the parties to broker a deal.

“Meanwhile, everything is business as usual. The guys are being paid their wages and leave entitlements over the Christmas break will be paid in the usual way.”

He says there is optimism that if the NZFFP deal falls over, there could be alternative buyers.

“It’s now in the hands of the receivers. We’ll have more certainty about where this goes next once we know what happens on 31 December.”

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Raymond Wheeler E tū Team Leader ph. 027 597 5404

Mediation fails: Woburn Masonic members to strike

E tū members at Woburn Masonic Village have likened their rosters to zero-hour contracts ahead of strike action from tomorrow in support of a collective agreement.

The members strike on Tuesday 3 December for half a day (4.5 hours) from 8.30am-1pm, and again at the same time on 6 December and 11 December.

The strike follows eight months of talks including last ditch mediation last week which failed to reach agreement.

E tū organiser, Robert Ibell says a key claim for members is stable shifts and hours. The employer, Masonic Care Limited has offered guaranteed hours to some members, but they would have to be available 24/7 in case of changes from roster to roster, “which is unacceptable,” says Robert.

“Masonic Village has written to residents and their families telling them they value our members, but our members don’t feel that way.

“They want certainty over their shifts and the days and hours they work. Without a decent roster, how are people supposed to organise their lives?”  

Robert says the employer offered to increase weekend rates by $1 an hour, but only if it could cut the hours of care positions to pay for it.

“That would surely compromise the quality of care for residents, and we would resist any bid to reduce our members’ hours,” says Robert.

E tū delegate, Sela Mulitalo says currently, the “guaranteed hours” at Woburn Masonic are nearly all between 20 and 64 hours a fortnight, although members can be rostered on any day at any time. 

These hours do not provide enough income to live on and workers have to look for other supplementary work. However, because they don’t know their days and hours of work from one roster to the next, they cannot make commitments to other employers.

“I do believe we have a zero hours process,” says Sela. “I am one of three caregivers guaranteed 80 hours a fortnight, but for all the other members, it’s so hard for them.

“What happens is the roster comes out and if they see spare shifts they grab them because the work might not be there next week. 

“They end up working seven days, eight days straight and they burn out and get sick. We need proper guaranteed shifts and hours,” she says.

As well as secure work and weekend rates, the members are also seeking extra sick leave and long service leave in line with that provided by most other aged care employers in the Wellington area.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Robert Ibell E tū organiser ph. 027 436 0089. Robert can also put interested media in touch with Sela Mulitalo.

The members will be picketing during their strike:

Where: Woburn Masonic Village 63 Wai-Iti Crescent Woburn Lower Hutt; also, cnr Woburn and Wai-Iti Crescent

When: 8.30am-1pm Tuesday 3 December, 6December and 11 December.

Airport ceremony to mark Erebus 40th anniversary

A service marking the moment Air New Zealand Flight 901 crashed into Mt Erebus, killing all 257 people on board, including 20 crew members will be held at 1pm tomorrow at the Erebus Crew Memorial Gardens at Auckland Airport.

Every year E tū hosts a commemoration service on 28 November to mark the anniversary of the tragedy. This year is the 40th anniversary. 

E tū aviation members and union representatives including members of the NZ Airline Pilots Association will gather at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden on Tom Pearse Drive for the service. This will include the traditional laying of wreaths and incorporate ceremonial water from the slopes of Mt Erebus supplied by Antarctica New Zealand

The Minister of Transport and Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford is also scheduled to speak along with Labour MP Marja Lubeck, a former flight attendant and cabin crew union leader.

The service will start at 1300 and last approximately one hour.

At the same time in Auckland there will be a private ceremony at Government House, attended by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy who will meet with representatives of the Erebus families.

Both ceremonies will observe a minute silence at 1.49pm (12.49 NZST) – the time the crash occurred. E tū, the union for cabin crew is inviting all New Zealanders to stop what they are doing and remember the events of that day.

“Erebus changed a nation,” says E tū’s Head of Aviation, Savage. 

“257 people from New Zealand and around the world died. This was one of our worst industrial accidents, a day when 20 aviation workers lost their lives. 

“It changed the way the whole world thought about aviation safety and about our shared responsibilities to put safety first,” he says.

“We invite all New Zealanders wherever they are in the world to pause for a minute and reflect on the event and the importance of safety at work and the responsibility we all have to look out for one another.”

The day is also the 11th anniversary of the crash in 2008 of an Air NZ A320 off the coast of Perpignan in France, which claimed the lives of seven people including five New Zealand aviation workers.

ENDS    

What: wreath-laying at the Erebus Crew Memorial garden

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

When: 28th November 1.00pm – there is a minute’s silence at the time of impact 1:49 (12:49 NZST)

For further information, contact: Savage E tū Aviation Director ph. 027 590 0074