E tū represents over 9,500 members employed in roles within in the manufacturing and food sector. The industry covers 24 sub-industries and includes the processing and manufacturing a huge range of products, including plastic products and packaging, textile and clothing, automotive services, beverages, biscuits and confectionery, chicken, dairy products, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, and meat.
There are many challenges facing this sector, such as remaining competitive in a global market place, overseas multi-national company ownership, skill development and recognition, and health and safety. Changes in legislation are in the winds but need workers’ support to ensure laws are strengthened to improve employment law.
New Zealand’s iconic Cadbury factory in Dunedin is closed in 2018 and the work moved to Australia despite the New Zealand factory being profitable. This is a strong symbol of the pressures workers face in this country.
E tū has members in big companies and small, from well known ones like Wattie’s, Coca Cola, Griffins, Sealord, Dulux, DB and Lion Breweries, Fonterra, BP and VTNZ, to ones that are smaller and not so well known but just as important to the New Zealand economy.
Like most industries, there are many migrant workers who work in manufacturing and food, and only through being in the union can they have a real voice in the workplace to deal with possible exploitation.
E tū members know that whatever the size of the company, being in the union is the only way to protect jobs, as well as improve wages, health and safety, and other conditions.
The Living Wage
The Living Wage is a key strategy for bargaining in the food sector, recognising the need for all workers to be paid not just the bare minimum but enough to participate fully in society and thrive. The union is currently actively supporting a community driven campaign for Bluff to be a living wage town.