Small fee increase

From 1 April 2019 there will be a small increase in your membership fee. E tū policy (as voted by E tū members) is that fees will increase each April by the CPI (inflation) rate for the 12 months ending the previous 31 December. This year, the increase is only 1.9%.

As the biggest private sector union in New Zealand, the small fee increase allows our union to service our members well and keep transforming workplaces and communities across the whole country. We advocate, organise, and campaign for a better future for New Zealand working people.

Our union has real influence, as demonstrated by our many wins. Your fees allow the negotiation of regular collective agreement pay increases, organising for the payment of the Living Wage to the country’s lowest paid workers, protecting our members’ jobs, and much more. Your fees allow your union, E tū, to stand tall for a fair and just society for all.

One of my proudest moments over the past year has been the award to E tū of the global union ‘Breaking Through Award’ presented to E tū President Muriel Tunoho at a UniGlobal Conference in the UK.

Our victories are a result of an E tū investment in campaigns, court cases, hard bargaining, and the education programme for workplace delegates.
I am pleased to report that the fee increase is part of our positive financial picture for our union going into the future. Careful management and strict accountability means that E tū makes the best use of every cent.

Fee structure
E tū members pay different fees depending on how many hours you work.

Please see the updated membership fees below:
35+ hours per week: $7.83
20 to 34 hours per week: $6.26
Under 20 hours per week: $3.92
Freelance journalist fee: $3.92

Thank you for being an E tū member and supporting our work for a fairer workplace.

Bill Newson
E tū National Secretary

Changes to the Employment Relations Act

The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, strengthening our rights at work. E tū campaigned for a worker-friendly Government and has worked to influence the final changes, which will all come into effect by 6 May 2019. We have restored many of the rights lost under the last Government and this is just the start of what E tū will campaign to do over the next 18 months.

Compulsory rest and meal breaks restored

People working eight-hour shifts are now entitled to two paid 10-minute breaks on top of the unpaid half-hour lunch break. Workers with shorter shifts get extra paid break time as well depending on hours worked.

Better tools for union organising

Many of the changes relate to unions and building organising power at work. Some of the most significant changes include:

  • Workers will have extended protections against discrimination based on their union membership, including either being a member or considering becoming member. An employer’s behaviour may be deemed discriminatory if it occurs within 18 months of a worker undertaking union activities.
  • Delegates will get paid time off to carry out union duties, such as being involved in bargaining and participating in union education. The employer can only deny this if it creates an unreasonable disruption to the company.
  • Access rights restored for union officials. Organisers can, once again, enter a workplace without first seeking consent, but there must be at least one worker covered by the union collective agreement, or in the process negotiating one.
  • Businesses must now enter into bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements (MECAs), if asked to join that agreement by a union. They will not have to settle a MECA if they have reasonable grounds not to.
  • Employers must pass on information about unions to new workers. E tū will be producing specific recruitment material for different industries and organisations for this purpose.
  • Many other changes that improve union power in all union activities, from recruitment to negotiations to industrial action.

Protection for vulnerable workers (Part 6A)

Employees in specific industries can keep the current terms and conditions in their employment agreement if their work is restructured, regardless of how big the employer is. Workers had previously been excluded from this protection if they worked for a small organisation.  This applies to workers in ‘vulnerable industries’ (such as cleaning and catering services) and we can now seek to have other workforces (such as security) protected by this law.

Reinstatement

Reinstatement has been restored as the first course of action considered by the Employment Relations Authority when workers are unfairly dismissed, meaning that if you lose your job wrongfully, the Employment Relations Authority will prioritise getting you back to the same job if you want to return.

90-day trial periods restricted

Employers can no longer write 90-day trial periods into agreements unless they employ fewer than 20 people. Ninety-day trial periods allow employers to fire workers without giving any reason, which denies workers their right to fair go at a new job.

Tax improvements

The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2018–19, Modernising Tax Administration, and Remedial Matters) Bill passed its third reading yesterday, and will come into effect on 1 April 2019.

Among a host of important improvements to the Tax Administration and Income Tax Acts, the Bill simplifies how tax is assessed for Individuals by issuing tax refunds automatically. Around 750,000 extra taxpayers will likely get a refund. These new processes, when implemented, will particularly benefit those who work extra jobs and have paid too much secondary tax during the year.

The new legislation also adds two new employer contribution thresholds to KiwiSaver (6% and 10%), and opens the scheme up to over 65s.

For more information see the Minister of Revenue’s media statement.

E tū also supports the work carried out by the Tax Working Group which has presented recommendations to the Government that will make the tax system fairer for workers, including a proposed capital gains tax that would ensure investors pay their fair share – just like us workers do.