Category: General

Climate Change Survey: E tū! Your voice is needed!

Climate change and its impacts are upon us. Our industries face particular challenges, yet in New Zealand we have little information on what we as a society think about this or what we should do. 

This research survey is being conducted through Auckland University of Technology and invites every union member to give their feedback on issues to do with climate change, Just Transition, and what is happening in workplaces on these issues.  This will be the largest survey to date on the issue and will provide important information that unions can use for planning and education.

Participation is voluntary and confidential, and the survey will take around 15 minutes to complete. Your union encourages all members to complete the survey. Please click HERE to start the survey and for further details on the project.

Macron for E tū a Companies Office first

E tū has welcomed the move by the Companies Office to soon enable incorporated societies like the union to use the macron when they register their names.

Since 2015, E tū has been registered as ETU because the registry system doesn’t allow the use of lower-case letters or macrons for most registered entities.

However, this will be allowed for incorporated societies and charitable trusts from the end of September, which E tū President, Muriel Tunoho says is very welcome.

“That’s great news,” says Muriel.

“Macrons change the meaning of words in te reo Māori. The absence of a macron can change the true meaning of a Māori word or it can be mis-interpreted.”

Muriel says the union had persistently sought to register its correct name – macron included since its merger in 2015 and eventually appealed to the Māori Language Commission Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori for help.

As a result, E tū has been issued with a special incorporation certificate with the name E TŪ – macron included – which is a first for the country.

Muriel says knowing other incorporated societies will soon be able to register using macrons as of right is cause for celebration during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori/ Maori Language Week.

“This is a win/win for everyone,” says Muriel.

“We are halfway there and it’s good we have our certificate. Hopefully others will soon as well and we’ll see the normalising of macrons, rather than just in special cases such as ours.”

The convenor of te Runanga o E tū, Sharryn Barton says it’s time the Companies Office recognised its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“I know we’ve got a special dispensation to have our language correctly recognised but it’s a one-off. It should be there for everyone who needs to use it,” says Sharryn.

“We need to see the guaranteed protections of taonga, which include te reo Māori under the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, are practised by the Crown and it’s entities,” she says.

ENDS

For more information, contact:

Muriel Tunoho President E tū ph. 027 618 5467

Sharryn Barton Convenor Te Runanga o E tū ph. 027 462 4390

Union to consider industry training changes

The following statement by E tū National Secretary, Bill Newson is in response to the industry changes related to polytechnics and on the job training announced today.

“The changes proposed today are significant for working people.

“Industry training is important for working people as life-long employment and income security depends on the ability to continually develop skills at work and have those skills recognised across industry. Training at work while in employment – ‘earning while you learn’ – is important for working people especially those who can’t afford to rack up a big student debt.

“Today’s announcement is complex, the devil is in the detail and we will be reviewing the proposals carefully.  Providing an industry voice through Workforce Development Councils is good, as is the transitionary approach to change.  However, E tū’s concern is that on the job training is not compromised over time to shore up Polytechnic viability.  We will be taking the time to assess the changes carefully.”

Free Auckland measles immunisation clinic 20 July

Free measles immunisation clinic, for people who don’t know or who haven’t been vaccinated against measles before.

Clinic details:

Date: Saturday 20th July

Time: 9.00am to 3.30pm

Venue: Waitakere Union Health Centre, in Waitakere Hospital grounds, Lincoln Road, Henderson

Parking: on site, free

Registration (preferred but not essential):  https://whoozin.com/GH4-TRQ-W7T3-KRAQ

There is a Measles outbreak in Auckland with more than 185 cases since February. Don’t be a victim of this highly infectious illness which can be very serious. If you, or anyone in your whanau, aged between 1 – 49 years and have not had one MMR vaccination, come get one FREE.

If you think you have measles, stay home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

This free community health initiative is provided by Primary Health Organisations: Comprehensive Care, National Hauora Coalition, ProCare.

Links to measles information:

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS): http://www.arphs.health.nz/public-health-topics/disease-and-illness/measles/

ARPHS Quick guide to measles: http://www.arphs.health.nz/assets/Uploads/Resources/Disease-and-illness/Measles-Mumps-Rubella/Quick-guide-to-measles-20190619.pdf

Ministry of Health: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles and https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/measles/2019-measles-outbreak-information

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

Minimum wage lift welcome but Living Wage needed

E tū welcomes today’s lift in the minimum wage from $16.50 to $17.70 but says it doesn’t go far enough.

“We want a minimum wage that moves closer to the Living Wage, because anything less is not enough to live on with dignity,” says Annie Newman, E tū’s Director of Campaigns & Convenor of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Living Wage is currently $20.55.

“We know the minimum wage has moved up, but the Living Wage is what’s needed for people to lead a decent life,” she says.

E tū delegate and security guard, Ken Renata says he’s seen his wages move steadily upwards since he first began working as a guard six years ago, when his wage was just $14.45.

“The government has made a big difference,” he says, with the new rate set to lift his income above his current pay of $17.00 an hour.

But he says for people with families, $17.70 is still too little to live on and security guards with children typically work very long hours.

“You have to work 60 hours or more a week and that takes you away from your family,” says Ken.

Invercargill cleaner and delegate, Alana Clarke earns about $16.80 an hour at each of her five cleaning jobs.

She describes the minimum wage increase as “great”, but she worries it will send prices higher.

“When the wages go up, everyone else does too and I worry there will still be people who can’t make ends meet,” says Alana.

Alana works about 60 hours a week, “but for that I get a standard of living I’m comfortable with. I can pay my bills. But if I cut back, life would be really hard.”

She says she dreams about earning the Living Wage: “That would be awesome,” she says.

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Annie Newman E tū Director of Campaigns ph. 027 204 6340

We can put interested reporters in touch with Alana and Ken on request: ph 022 269 1170.

The Christchurch tragedy

Dear E tū members,

We have returned to work this week under the sorrowful shadow of a great and unjust tragedy.

On behalf of all E tū members I express my respect and support to all of our many Muslim and migrant members and your families. We are proud of what you bring to your union and your country.

Our Christchurch members and your families feel, understandably, that you have been kicked in the guts again.

Our Christchurch union staff and a number of elected delegates supported each other in lockdown at our Cashel St office into Friday evening while the situation unfolded and stabilised. We have staff and members who have been directly affected by this terrorist atrocity.

I would like to thank our E tū members at the hospitals that have been working around the clock to make sure the victims get the best care possible. This includes security, orderlies, cleaners, food service workers and trade staff.

I believe New Zealanders have a keen collective sense of respect, tolerance, dignity and a fair-go for all and this has really shone through in our nations response over recent days.  I have received a huge number of messages of support from across the global union movement, expressing the solidarity of working people across the world.

We mourn with our fellow Kiwis who have lost their loved ones.  Our union can play a key role in assisting members over the next period.  We have already started assisting with public rallies during the weekend and that will continue.

Please click here for some more information from us that I hope you find helpful.

Solidarity Christchurch.

Bill Newson
National Secretary

Working in high temperatures

29 January 2019

There are no legal limits as to what temperatures workers can safely work in. But your employers has a duty of care to provide a safe environment. 

You also have rights with respect to this.

  • If workers have reasonable grounds, they can refuse unsafe work but need to be available for other work.
  • If you think you’re working conditions are unsafe, say so – this is best done collectively.
  • Contact your union if you need help: we can support you in raising the issue with your employer.

We can also advocate for solutions such as the following:

  • Air conditioning – people can hire air-conditioning units. If this is not practical, ask for a unit to be placed in a room, such as the cafeteria or staff-room, so people can go there and cool off.
  • Request extra cooling off breaks, in the airconditioned room – this has worked well in the past in hospital kitchens and in some factories.
  • There is work-gear, such as cooling vests, which are chilled in a fridge, and used to cool the body. Ask your boss about these. Clothing like heavy cotton overalls traps heat. Light cotton is good.
  • Ask for water fountains on-site: if that’s not possible, make sure you drink plenty of water.
  • Many people work outdoors – you could ask the boss to consider a change of hours so people work when it’s cooler.
  • People should not do heavy work in high temperatures: ask you boss if you can defer this work until the weather cools down again.
  • Remember hats, sunscreen and light protective clothing.
  • Longer-term, bargain for acceptable heating and cooling systems in your workplace.

E tū celebrates largest ever minimum wage increase

The minimum wage is set to increase by $1.20 to $17.70 in April 2019 – the largest increase in the adult minimum wage in New Zealand history in dollar terms.

This is the biggest leap yet towards the Coalition Government’s promise to increase the minimum wage to $20 by 2021.

E tū National Secretary Bill Newson says the increase is another clear demonstration of the Coalition Government’s commitment to working people.

“This Government continues to prove that they really care about workers and their families,” Bill says.

“Lifting the minimum wage is relatively straight forward, and the evidence shows that bringing wages up is the clear path out of poverty in New Zealand.

“Together with the recent Employment Relations Act changes and the ongoing work on Fair Pay Agreements, the Government is taking us in the right direction. This is another good step forward.”

Mareta Sinoti, a cleaner at the National Library in Wellington, says that while the increase is welcome, it’s not going to solve all the problems.

“The thing is, we need a Living Wage,” Mareta says.

“Everything is just too expensive. Rent, food, and transport costs are increasing all the time. When you add up the 10-trip for the train, the costs of clothes for our families, and everything else, it’s just too much.

“It’s great that the minimum wage is going up to $17.70, but how long have we waited for it to get there?”

ENDS