Category: Uncategorized

NZ Government needs to mandate staffing ratios like Australian states

E tū is calling on the New Zealand Government to follow the example of Victoria’s Labour Government and recognise the need for minimum staff-to-resident ratios in private aged care homes.

On Tuesday, the Victorian Government announced it would provide up to $40 million to introduce mandatory staffing levels in the private sector, if the Australian Government as the primary regulator and funder, agreed to assist.

Both Victoria and Queensland mandate staffing numbers in public aged care facilities.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, staff-to-resident ratios are not mandatory in any aged care home. Current suggested staffing guidelines, drawn up in 2005, are voluntary and now woefully out of date.

E tū member and aged care worker, Kiran, says aged care workers and residents face the effects of short staffing on a “daily basis”.

“We are rushing to do the cares, finish their showers already. It’s not fair on the residents or the staff – we feel guilty at the end of the day, like we didn’t do our best because we didn’t have time.”

Not having enough staff means increased risk of falls and like, which staff are then often blamed for, she says.

“The Government doesn’t really know what’s happening inside rest homes – loopholes can be hidden during audits. They need to implement staffing standards urgently.”

E tū Director Kirsty McCully says the implementation of safe staffing ratios in New Zealand rest homes is crucial to ensuring the wellbeing and safety of residents and workers.

“COVID-19 has cast a spotlight on the many and very real dangers to residents when there are insufficient numbers of staff.

“This was highlighted with deadly results in Victoria, when comparing the performance of mandated public homes, which had no deaths, versus privately-owned facilities, which saw more than 600 COVID-related deaths,” she says.

“In Aotearoa New Zealand, we cannot finish another term of government without increasing staffing numbers and making them mandatory.”

Kirsty says it’s all part of making sure that aged care homes in Aotearoa New Zealand rebuild better in the wake of the pandemic, by ensuring decent lives with dignity for workers and the residents they care for.

“There’s no reason our country can’t lead the way in terms of the quality of care we provide for our senior New Zealanders. However, that means listening to our aged care workers and giving them the support they need to provide the care residents deserve.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Kirsty McCully, 027 204 6354

Industry Council Expression of Interest

Industry Council Expression of Interest Form

Applications must be received by 5pm on Friday 27th November 2020

Promise of new Matariki public holiday welcomed

E tū welcomes the Labour Party’s announcement to make a new public holiday in celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year.

Official celebrations of Matariki would begin in 2022, to allow the party time to develop the necessary resources and organise public events around the day.

As Matariki follows the lunar calendar, the exact date would change annually but would always fall on either a Monday or Friday during Matariki.

E tū Co President Muriel Tunoho says the proposal is good news and important because it formally recognises Māori knowledge that is already celebrated in communities across Aotearoa.

“The announcement of recognising Matariki as a formal public holiday has been a long journey – one that is welcomed by workers, whānau, and our communities.”

National Convenor Te Runanga o E tū Sharryn Barton says the season is also a time to make a fresh start.

“For me, Matariki is a time of new beginnings and hopefulness as we emerge from the long winter months of hibernation. It welcomes the dawn of new promise and promises yet unfulfilled.”

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Muriel Tunoho, 027 618 5467

Promoting inclusion and equality for all union members

E tū and its Komiti Pasifika group is calling on all members and their communities to come together in the wake of the latest COVID-19 lockdown.

Workers need to know that they should be able to get a test without being disadvantaged at work or having to use up leave in any stand-down period while awaiting test results.

E tū Food and Manufacturing Industry Council Convenor Gadiel Asiata says recent negative narratives centred on Pasefika families who have contracted COVID-19 are deeply hurtful and may make it harder for people to come forward to be tested.

“The current messages have only highlighted discrimination that has been present for generations. However, our community is a place where people love to congregate and come together as one.”

“New Zealand did not ask for this virus, no one did. There is no shame in getting tested if needed,” he says.

Gadiel says members should connect with their union if they are unsure about their rights at work and getting a test.

“We need to look after our aiga, our whānau, our families. In coming together, we are strong.”

E tū Komiti Pasifika coordinator and campaign organiser Fala Haulangi says the union has a zero-tolerance approach to racism.

“There is no place for discrimination of any kind at E tū. We work to be inclusive of every one of our members and their individual preferences and backgrounds.”

Fala says stronger rights for workers, such as Fair Pay Agreements, being paid a living wage and having 10 sick leave days, are key to creating more equal workplaces and societies.

“The importance of these issues has been highlighted again and again during COVID-19, as many of our members have continued to go to work as essential workers.

“E tū is here to support its members and will continue to advocate for decent jobs with no less than the living wage to ensure the health and wellbeing of workers and their communities.”

On Wednesday 2 September at 6pm, E tū will be holding a Facebook Live Zoom meeting for all Komiti Pasifika and E tū members, with guest speakers from the community, including Dr Api Talemaitoga and Manukau ward councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins.

ENDS

For more information and comment:
Fala Haulangi, 027 204 6332



Changes to New Zealand’s Alert Levels from 12 August

New Zealand’s Alert Levels are changing from 12pm on Wednesday 12 August.

Auckland will move to Alert Level 3, and the rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2. As per the most recent COVID-19 update from the Government, see below for more.

Auckland

Work

Under Alert Level 3, you are encouraged work from home if you can.

Travel and self-isolation

If you are currently in Auckland and do not live in Auckland, we suggest that you go home. Practise good hygiene and be conscious of your health. We recommend that you keep your bubble small.

Businesses

Businesses are able to open, but should not physically interact with customers.

Essential services including healthcare, justice services and businesses providing necessities are able to open.

Bars and restaurants should close, but takeaways are allowed.

Education

Schools in Auckland can safely open but will have limited capacity. Where possible we encourage students to learn from home.

When you’re out and about

Maintain physical distancing of two metres outside your home, including on public transport.

It is highly recommended that you wear a mask if you are out and about.

Public transport can continue to operate with strict health and safety requirements. You should maintain physical distancing and wearing a mask.

Public venues should close. This includes libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds and markets.

Gatherings

Gatherings of up to 10 people can continue, but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures should be maintained.

At-risk people

People at high risk of severe illness such as older people and those with existing medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home.

Rest of New Zealand

The rest of New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 at 12pm on Wednesday 12 August. Under Alert Level 2, the following restrictions apply.

You can still continue to go to work and school, with physical distancing.

Wear masks if you can in public.

No more than 100 people at gatherings, including weddings, birthdays, funerals and tangihanga.

Businesses can open to the public if they are following public health guidance, which include physical distancing and record keeping.

People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, for example those with underlying medical conditions and old people are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.

Practice good hygiene – stay home if sick.

Worker-led Health and Safety programme for Māori, Pasefika, and migrants

E tū is making sure workers’ voices lead the way with the kick-off of a new health and safety programme for Māori, Pasefika, and migrant workers in manufacturing.

Funded jointly by the union and a Workplace Injury Prevention grant from ACC, E tū’s worker leadership programme addresses the high rate of workplace injuries among these groups in the sector.

The programme, Ngā Puna Whai Oranga, begins with a series of hui from August to November, followed by workplace workshops until the end of 2021.

A worker in the manufacturing industry for 18 years and the Women’s Committee Convenor on E tū’s National Executive, Wheeti Haenga says she’s really excited about the course and rapt that ACC are supporting the programme – a “big stride forward” for Māori, Pasefika, and migrant workers.

“We’ve never had a mentor for Māori or Pasefika in my workplace, and I think this programme will really help to bring our people – particularly our young people – together.”

E tū Food and Manufacturing Industry Council Convenor Gadiel Asiata says the programme has been “long-needed” in the manufacturing industry and is a valuable opportunity for workers to play a leading role in ensuring effective health and safety practices.

“We don’t want just a ‘tick-box’ exercise or flyer-on-a-noticeboard-type approach. Instead, we need processes that are championed by both employers and employees, with strong worker role models,” he says.

The two-year programme will start with around 150 workers, with room for more as the project expands.

After the hui conclude, onsite workshops will cover issues including cultural leadership, workplace risk-management tools, and overcoming barriers to leadership.

E tū Runanga Convenor Sharryn Barton says she hopes it will provide an opportunity for workers to connect with their cultural values in the workplace, given the high rates of injury for tāngata whenua.

“Health and safety is based in Manaakitanga, which means looking after people, your family, and the place you’re in. We need to recognise that we all have mana, and how well we look after others also determines our own wellbeing.”

Sharryn is grateful to ACC for its generous support of the programme. She says she hopes Ngā Puna Whai Oranga will inspire the same passion and commitment to improving conditions for manufacturing workers and their families as the late Helen Kelly achieved in the forestry and agricultural sectors.

ACC Implementation Manager, Workplace Safety and Levies, Virginia Burton-Konia saysthey are pleased E tū has been a successful grant recipient.

“We are delighted to be able to support a grant initiative that champions improved health and safety outcomes for Māori, Pasefika, and migrant workers.”

Ngā Puna Whai Oranga will link to existing health and safety programmes, such as WorkSafe’s Maruiti and Puataunofo, and will also be assessed by AUT’s Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research.

E tū plans to continue Ngā Puna Whai Oranga until 2027.

For more information and comment:
Sharryn Barton, 027 462 4390

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.

“Absolute hero” Kristine Bartlett wins New Zealander of the Year!

E tū is thrilled for our equal pay hero, Kristine Bartlett who tonight was named New Zealander of the Year.

It’s a huge honour and richly deserved, says Yvette Taylor, E tū Equal Pay Coordinator, who was with Kristine at tonight’s event to announce the winner.

“Kristine picked up the fight for equal pay on behalf of her workmates and she’s travelled this road for many years, helping win pay equity principles through the courts and seeing that through to an historic settlement for care and support workers.

“She has been a huge role model for women fighting for pay equity.”

Yvette says Kristine is also a trail-blazer for working women everywhere, by showing the power of standing firm and fighting for something they believe in.

“Kristine is the first to say she didn’t win equal pay for care and support workers alone. She has always paid tribute to her union and the many women who stood with her.

“It is rare that a working woman like Kristine, paid near- minimum wage, takes the national stage, captures the national imagination and goes on to achieve this prestigious title.

“It says much about Kristine’s qualities – her determination, commitment and stamina, all dedicated to winning a better, fairer pay deal for working women.

“She has won a place in the hearts and minds of women, with the name Kristine Bartlett now synonymous with the fight for equal pay.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described Kristine as an “absolute hero” when presenting the award. We wholeheartedly agree!

ENDS

For further information, contact:

Yvette Taylor E tū Equal Pay Coordinator, ph.  027 431 8486