Category: General

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

New members of the National Executive

Congratulations to our three new members of the E tū National Executive, who won the elections held at our Biennial Membership Meetings. 

 Don Pryde – South Island Vice President

Nia Bartley – Central Region Representative

Vivien Welland – Northern Region Representative

 Don, Nia, and Vivien will now join the other members of the National Executive in overseeing the day-to-day operations of our union.

We acknowledge all candidates who put themselves forward in these elections and all the union members who came to meetings during September and October to vote. We are a proudly democratic union. 

National’s tax plan “deeply misleading” – E tū

E tū, the biggest private sector union in Aotearoa New Zealand, is hugely disappointed with the National Party’s policy to implement a tax regime that benefits the wealthy while leaving many others no better off.

The plan, released today, includes an adjustment of tax brackets, reinstating interest deductibility for landlords, removing the Government’s recent public transport subsidies, ending the foreign buyer ban on homes worth over $2 million, and cancelling other government projects.

“This is a deeply misleading policy, because it doesn’t factor in everything National will take away from working families,” says E tū Director, Sarah Thompson.

“Their policy says that average families will be ‘better off’ because of their FamilyBoost policy, but they have not factored in the extra costs on families resulting from the removal of Labour’s ECE funding extension.

“Their numbers also don’t reflect that families will be paying more for public transport under their plan, nor does it include the congestion charges they are planning to implement as part of their transport policy.

“Families who rely on public transport or the extra ECE funding will not be nearly as well off as National claim. They’ll also be paying extra costs when National bring back prescription fees. It’s all smoke and mirrors.”

Sarah says landlords like Christopher Luxon are the real winners from this policy, with $2.3 billion going to them over four years.

“Christopher Luxon does not need to pocket more money. He is on the record saying he doesn’t even know how much his seven properties are worth – he’s doing extremely well.

“That money should be going to increasing essential services, building core infrastructure, supporting those who need it most, and investing in the future of Aotearoa. Instead, he’s going to give billions to himself and his rich mates.”

Sarah says that with lower- and middle-income New Zealanders doing it tough during the cost-of-living crisis, the money should be targeted based on real need.

“It’s galling to hear Luxon describe this as a cost-of-living policy when so much goes to the richest people.

Sarah says today’s announcement is another example that the National Party are going into the election with an anti-worker agenda.

“This is just the latest indicator that National doesn’t really care about working people. Yesterday, they re-committed to extending 90-day trials, despite the evidence clearly showing they don’t work. They will also scrap Fair Pay Agreements, robbing low paid workers of their best opportunity in decades to make real gains.”

ENDS

ACT Party’s contractor policy would lock in the worst for affected workers

E tū, the biggest private sector union in Aotearoa New Zealand, is shocked by the ACT Party’s new policy to stop workers being able to correct their employment status.

The policy, announced today, would mean that contracted workers would not be able to challenge their status in the Employment Court, even when the real nature of their employment relationship meant they should be entitled to the rights and protections employees get.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman, says this would be a huge setback for the workforce.

“We already know that employers use contracts instead of employment agreements unfairly – that’s why we have taken cases to court, and won,” Annie says.

“In 2017, labour hire workers at LSG Sky Chefs proved they were entitled to the benefits and protections of a normal employment relationship. Last year, Uber drivers proved in court that the company is really their employer, and they also deserve the rights of employees.

“While these court cases have been victories for the workers who have taken them, they have also shown the need for employment relations reform that better reflects the changing world of work.

“Instead, the ACT Party are proposing the opposite – locking workers into these exploitative arrangements without any recourse. It’s a terrible position that will bed in the worst outcomes for many people.”

Annie says this is just the latest policy from the Opposition that demonstrates their hostility to working people.

“ACT have also promised to end Fair Pay Agreements and bring back 90-day trials. They have opposed every increase to the minimum wage, opposed doubling sick leave, and even oppose moves to make wage theft a criminal offence.

“These are disastrous positions that will worsen poverty and inequality. Working people in Aotearoa have a lot at stake this election – we must stop politicians from actively pushing us down.”

Fair Pay Agreement for cleaners approved!

Cleaners across Aotearoa New Zealand are getting a huge opportunity for real improvements to their pay and conditions, with the Chief Executive of MBIE approving the initiation of a Fair Pay Agreement for cleaners.

The news couldn’t have come any sooner. E tū and large cleaning companies involved in a multi-employer collective agreement for commercial cleaners are in negotiations today with much at stake for these low paid workers.

Historic underpayment of cleaners has meant cleaning companies compete for contracts, which drives down pay and conditions – the exact problem the Fair Pay Agreements Act 2022 was passed to address.

E tū member and cleaner, Mele Peaua, who is part of the union’s commercial cleaners negotiating team, says years of inadequate results from bargaining are a clear demonstration of the need for a good Fair Pay Agreement to cover cleaners.

“A Fair Pay Agreement will be ground-breaking for low wage cleaners like us. It will give collective bargaining power to many cleaners who currently have no access to it,” Mele says.

“Normal collective bargaining just isn’t working for cleaners. We have a wonderful opportunity right now to win a good Fair Pay Agreement and reduce inequality and poverty in our communities.”

E tū Transformational Campaigns Director Sarah Thompson agrees.

“The contracting model creates a ‘race to the bottom’ where labour costs are the significant factor in competitive tendering,” Sarah says.

“Having our multi-employer collective agreement has meant negotiating some marginal improvements for cleaners over the years, but it doesn’t stop non-union employers from undercutting companies who might otherwise be open to paying reasonable wages.

“It’s a particular problem in the cleaning industry, and also in security, where E tū has also been approved to negotiate a Fair Pay Agreement.”

Sarah says that all workers should see the value of Fair Pay Agreements and vote for political parties who support them.

“There is currently a huge political focus on the cost of living. Just as we are finally starting to fix these systemic issues through Fair Pay Agreements, the Opposition has promised to tear them up. That’s just appalling, and we need to make sure as a country that we don’t let that happen.”

Nominations for National Executive are now open!

Keen to serve on our union’s National Executive? Now is your chance!

The following E tū National Executive positions are open for nomination:

  • North Island Vice President
  • South Island Vice President
  • Northern Regional Representative
  • Central Regional Representative
  • Southern Regional Representative

The Southern Region is the whole of the South Island (plus Stewart and Chatham Islands). The Central Region includes Wellington, Wairarapa, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Whanganui, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Tai Rawhiti/East Coast. The Northern Region includes Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

To be eligible for one of these positions, you must live in the region and need to have been a financial member of E tū continuously for at least 12 months immediately before being nominated. Nominations must be moved and seconded by financial members, and would-be candidates must state that they wish to be nominated for the position.

All nominations must be received by the Returning Officer, Christopher Gordon (christopher.gordon@etu.nz), by 5pm, Friday 30 June 2023, along with a short bio of the person being nominated.

If there is more than one candidate for any position, an election will be held at the E tū Biennial Membership Meetings in September.

Click here to use the online nomination form

Budget 2023: E tū welcomes investment in our futures

E tū welcomes the 2023 Budget, which includes significant improvements for Kiwi families, as well as welcome developments for people working in some E tū industries.

Highlights of the Budget include cheaper childcare, ongoing reduced public transport fares for children and young people, removing prescription costs, more money for new public housing, and a significant investment in repairing and improving infrastructure.

The Budget also includes updated forecasts by Treasury, with the welcome news that we are no longer expecting a recession.

E tū is particularly pleased to see initiatives for workers such as the extension of the Apprenticeship Boost Program, funding to settle the historic underpayment of holiday pay in DHBs, and money allocated for pay increases for primary and community care workers.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, Rachel Mackintosh, says that an early analysis of the Budget shows that the Government have got a lot right.

“We will be carefully analysing Budget 2023 over the coming days to best understand how our members and our communities are affected,” Rachel says.

“However, looking at the headline figures, it’s clear that the Government have taken the challenge of balancing the books against economic headwinds and have still managed to invest significant resources in improving lives for everyday people.”

Rachel says that E tū will be keen to see money allocated to wages in the health workforce go towards pay equity for community care workers.

“Our members in aged care and community support are overdue a pay rise that recognises the value of their important work.

“The Equal Pay Settlement in 2017 saw these workers’ pay go up significantly, but we have reached the end of those pay rises. With the cost-of-living pressures mounting and a growing demand on these services, our frontline care and support workers need much better wages.”

Rachel says the commitment to climate change mitigation is also welcomed, and that the Government must continue the Just Transition approach to ensure workers and their communities do not bear the full brunt of changes.

“Solving climate change is the essential challenge of our times, and our members in affected industries understand this – finding well paid and meaningful work for people in a climate-friendly future has to remain a priority.

“Overall, we applaud the Government for being able to continue investment in our communities while carefully managing macroeconomic settings. We are looking forward to seeing the policies that political parties take to the election in October.”

ENDS

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

Fair Pay Agreements win big at the ILO

E tū is celebrating the conclusion reached by the Committee on the Application of Standards at the International Labour Conference, after a tenuous case against Fair Pay Agreements raised by Business New Zealand has been effectively dismissed.

BusinessNZ took the complaint to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), claiming that Fair Pay Agreements would undermine ILO Convention 98, which protects the right to organise and bargain collectively.

Instead of agreeing with BusinessNZ’s position, the Committee simply asked the Government to keep working with the social partners while developing the legislation, essentially giving Fair Pay Agreements the ILO seal of approval.

Of particular note was representatives from across the world standing up to commend Fair Pay Agreements and condemn BusinessNZ for wasting the ILO’s time. President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Michele O’Neil, explained how inappropriate the case was.

“In New Zealand’s case, employers will only have to bargain in good faith and agreements will be struck. Arbitration only kicks in to ensure vulnerable workers are protected. Which makes it all the more shocking that what appears to be a blatantly political and without merit case has been presented to this Committee. When this Committee has such a competing list of extreme cases of standards being breached in many cases with life and death consequences,” Michele told the Conference.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman, says she is pleased by the conclusion, but isn’t surprised.

“It was always clear that BusinessNZ’s case wasn’t going to get anywhere, as sectoral bargaining is a common feature in workplace relations systems across the world,” Annie says.

“Fair Pay Agreements will allow some of our most vulnerable workers to have a real opportunity to improve pay and conditions that have been kept so low for so long. Of course, the ILO is going to see the merits in that.”

Annie says it’s time for BusinessNZ to apologise for their actions and to start engaging with Fair Pay Agreements in good faith.

“This frivolous complaint has been a key focus of BusinessNZ’s campaign to misinform people about Fair Pay Agreements. Just a few weeks ago, they published an edited version of a UN document to imply that their complaint had put New Zealand on a “worst case breaches” list – an utter misrepresentation.

“BusinessNZ leaders owe Kiwis and the ILO an apology for this embarrassing stunt.”

E tū members and supporters have made over 1,000 written submissions on the Fair Pay Agreements Bill, explaining exactly why this new mechanism is needed. An E tū delegation will be making their oral submission to the Select Committee on Monday afternoon in Auckland.

ENDS

Photo attached: E tū members celebrating the First Reading of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill

For more information and comment:
Annie Newman, 0272046340

E tū oral submission on the Fair Pay Agreements Bill
Monday 13 June, 1:00pm – 1:15pm
Hunterville Room, Ellerslie Event Centre, Auckland Race Course
Please contact Sarah Thompson for more details: 027 591 0024

Workers rejoice as Fair Pay Agreement Bill gets First Reading

The First Reading of the Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) Bill in Parliament today has been met by applause from low-paid workers across the country.

The bill will enable workers and their unions to negotiate minimum pay and conditions with their employers, which will then become minimum standards for the whole industry.

E tū member and security guard, Kajal Mani, is thrilled.

“As a young mother and a security guard, I am very excited to have Fair Pay Agreements here in Aotearoa,” Kajal says.

“It will mean better work conditions to keep me safe, to return home to my young family. It will mean fair wages so that I don’t have to work long hours, which supports holistic health and wellbeing for all.

“FPAs will also mean equality for all workers and effective partnership between unions and good employers to stop the race to the bottom.”

E tū member and cleaner, Madeleine Natua, agrees.

“Introducing Fair Pay Agreements will help a lot the lowest paid workers and our families, as it will set a benchmark in improving our terms and conditions to stop the race to the bottom,” Madeleine says.

“For so long, 30 years or so, New Zealand has been a low wage economy. Fair Pay Agreements will help lift Aotearoa to a high wage economy, and when workers are paid more, they will feel valued and appreciated.

“Long term, this will help lift hard working Kiwis, their whanau, and their communities out of poverty, which will also benefit everyone, including local businesses.”

E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman, says that the Fair Pay Agreements Bill gets right to the heart of the issues facing workers like Kajal and Madeleine.

“Today is an exciting and historic day for Aotearoa,” Annie says.

“The Fair Pay Agreements Bill sets out a comprehensive framework for finally getting some of our lowest paid and most vulnerable workers the respect and dignity they deserve at their jobs.

“It means more time with family, more money for food, rent, and other expenses, better access to health and safety, better training, and much more.

“It gives workers and employers the flexibility to negotiate fair minimum standards properly and means that good employers won’t be undercut by cowboys, who win contracts by giving their workers the lowest possible wages and conditions.

“Along with commitments to the New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme, the Living Wage, and a Just Transition, Fair Pay Agreements show that this Government really is transformational.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Annie Newman, 027 204 6340