Delegate Forums 2019

2018 Delegate Conference report
Our democratic networks and committees
Meet our industry convenors

Welcome to our latest round of E tū Delegate Forums

Thank you for coming along and participating in your E tū Delegate Forum. We are a strong union that stands up for fairness for our members at work and across society. We know we have to be strong enough to have an influence well into the future. We will be talking about how our union structure is changing to better serve the interests of working people in challenging times ahead.

We are continuing to modernise our union. Our investment in a new IT platform and online capabilities means that we can move to more interactive communications between delegates and the union, including My E tū, our Delegate Portal and online joining. We need to continue to develop these digital capabilities to leverage the best use out of them.

We meet at a time of positive change. Our Government’s new employment policies take effect in May and they are progressing further changes that will provide a better deal for working people and their families. Our experience of the past 25 years is proof that our pay setting model is not working to distribute the wealth that we help create at work fairly. Successful economies base their wage setting on industry-wide platforms like our Government’s proposed Fair Pay Agreements. E tū will be working hard to support that.

I appreciate all delegates who come along and participate in our Delegate Forums. I cannot attend every single Delegate Forum, but I will get around as many as I can, and I look forward to seeing you there.

I thank you on behalf of our National Executive for serving our union as an E tū delegate. I hope you enjoy the day.

Bill Newson
National Secretary


8.30 am – Registration
9.00 am – Welcome and introduction
9.30 am – Leadership address
10.15 am – Preparing questions for leadership
10.30 am – Morning tea
10.50 am – Conference report-back and Industry Convenors video
11.00 am – Leadership Q&A
11.20 am – Local elections conversations
12.00 pm – Employment law changes and the opportunities they present
12.30 pm – Lunch
1.15 pm – Update from our democratic committees and networks
1.20 pm – Listening campaign workshop
2.50 pm – Wrap-up and close
3.00 pm – Finish

Changes to employment law

The Labour Coalition Government has made a number of improvements to employment law. These changes apply from 12 December 2018. Here are some of the most significant changes for E tū delegates:

  • Reinstatement

If an employee is unjustifiably dismissed reinstatement is now the primary remedy. This means if an employee successfully wins a personal grievance and wants reinstatement, the Employment Relations Authority must provide reinstatement wherever it is practicable and reasonable for both parties.

  • Union representatives accessing the workplace

A union representative does not now need to obtain consent from an employer before entering a workplace if either a collective agreement is in force or is being bargained that covers the work done by employees at that workplace.

In all other circumstances, a union representative is still required to gain the employer’s consent according to the existing procedures.

  • Discrimination against union members

Union members can make a claim for discrimination against an employer for any discriminatory action by the employer that occurs up to 18 months after their involvement in union activity (previously it was only for 12 months).

  • Removal of the opt-out ability for multi-employer bargaining

Employers must now enter into bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements when they receive a notice of initiation from a union.

  • Removing the ability for employers to deduct pay for partial strikes

Employers cannot now make specified pay deductions from wages when employees engage in a partial strike, such as banning specific duties, refusing to wear uniforms or carrying out work-to-rule actions. Employers can respond to a partial strike action the same way as any other strike, which could include suspending employees without pay, or a lockout.

  • Amending the list of “vulnerable workers” under Subpart 1 of Part 6A

The Minister of Workplace Relations via Order in Council can now add, vary or omit categories of employees from Schedule 1A if they are employed in a sector in which restructuring of an employer’s business occurs frequently; and have terms and conditions of employment that tend to be undermined by the restructuring of an employer’s business; and have little bargaining power.

  • Timeframes for initiating bargaining

Unions can now initiate bargaining for a collective agreement 20 days ahead of an employer, which was the position in the law prior to 2015.

There are additional changes occurring on 6 May 2019:

  • Rest and meal breaks

The right to set rest and meal breaks will be restored, the number and duration of which depends on the hours worked. For example, an eight-hour work day must include two 10-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute unpaid meal break (unless payment is agreed with the employer), while a four-hour work day must include one 10-minute rest break. Some limited exemptions may apply for employers in specified essential services or national security services.

  • 90-Day trial periods

90-day trial periods will be restricted to businesses with less than 20 employees.

  • Vulnerable workers (Part 6A)

Part 6A subpart 1, which guarantees workers such as cleaners their jobs and employment conditions when their jobs are restructured, will now cover all employers, not just those employing 20 or more employees. The notice period for workers electing to transfer will increase from 5 days to 10 days.

  • Duty to conclude bargaining

This duty has been restored for single-employer collective bargaining unless there are genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds not to. An employer may decide not to conclude a multi-employer collective agreement but the reason for doing so must be based on reasonable grounds.

  • Pay rates published in collective agreements

Pay rates will need to be included in collective agreements, along with an indication of how the rate of wages or salary payable may increase during the agreement’s term.

  • Union material for new employees

Employers will be required to provide new employees with an approved active-choice form within the first 10 days of employment and return the form to the applicable union, unless the employee objects. Employers will also have to pass on information about the role and function of the union to new employees if the union provides the employer with the material.

  • 30-day rule restored

For the first 30 days of employment new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement.

  • Time off for union delegates

Employers will be required to allow for reasonable paid time for union delegates to undertake union activities on their worksite. This delegate time can be agreed in collective agreements or the delegate can simply notify the employer at the time, although the employer may be able to deny the request if it will unreasonably disrupt the business or the performance of the employee’s duties.

Local elections are just around the corner!

New Zealand’s a great place to live. Everywhere you look – from footpaths to street lights, libraries to parks, drinking water to rubbish collection – councils are right there making it happen.

Not all candidates support the interests of working people. That’s why you need to vote for candidates who are committed to a Living Wage.

Lots of people don’t bother voting in Local Government elections. But what’s decided at your local council, licensing trust and district health boards are often the most important decisions for working people, their families, and communities. This is where decisions are made about the wages of directly-employed workers, as well as the contracting rules affecting the wages of workers like cleaners and security guards.

In these elections some big issues around the country are:

  • a Living Wage for all workers and contracted staff
  • social housing
  • public transport
  • protecting our public services


If you are on the electoral roll at your current address, you will receive your voting papers by 20-25 September. Your papers must be returned to your local council by post or hand by 12 noon on 12 October.

If you are not on the electoral roll, you must register to vote. You can do this online at or by phoning the Electoral Office on 0800 36 76 56.

There are different ways of voting for mayors, local representatives and DHB members. First Past the Post means the candidates with the most votes win, Single Transferable Vote (STV) is where you identify preferences.

Visit for more info.


  • Be on the electoral role – and VOTE!
  • Check out actions in your local area because E tū will be active in local forums, urging candidates to commit to supporting workers and their families.
  • Reach out to your workmates and encourage them to vote.
  • Get active through your local E tū office which will be working to encourage everyone to have a say in how their local government is run.

Learn more at