Merry Christmas from Unite (and making sure you get paid properly)

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Unite Union. 

Help when you need it during the holidays


We are very aware that many members will be working through the holidays. We want to make sure both that you can get help from your union if you need it and that you get paid properly – especially for the four public holidays over the next two weeks.

Most Unite staff are on leave and our offices closed until Monday the 8th January. However, Unite has duty organisers on call every day until then.

If you need our help simply call 0800 2 UNITE (0800 286 483). If no-one answers immediately leave a message with your name, workplace and phone number - this is very important (and speak clearly and slowly when you do this). Someone will call you back within a few hours during the day, or the next morning if you call at night.

You can also email Again – include your name, workplace and a contact phone number, along with a brief description of your issue.

Getting paid properly for the public holidays

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Raising our sights in 2018

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

2018 will see Unite Union campaigning to rewrite all new collective agreements to ensure that all workers benefit from the planned increase in the minimum wage to $20 an hour by April 1, 2021.

This is an increase of 27% from the current level of $15.75. The first increase will be 75 cents on April 1, 2018, to reach $16.50 an hour to be followed by at least annual increases of over $1 an hour each year for the next three years. My guess is they will do $1 in 2019, then two increases of $1.25 over the following two years.

The increase in the minimum wage to $20 by 2021 will pose significant challenges to the union movement as a whole. It will take the minimum wage from 53% to 61.5% of the average wage. On current calculations, the “living wage” is $20.20 an hour or 66% of the average wage. By 2021 the living wage number should be about $21.50.


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Affco maim another worker

This is a Worksafe media release on 13 December 2017. In my view the fine was pathetic. Affco is a serial offender and one of their executive staff should be doing jail time!



Jason Matahiki suffered the horrific injury at New Zealand's Rangiuru Affco meat plant

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“Don’t repeat your mistakes…”

Two similar accidents involving the same plant at AFFCO’s Rangiuru meat processing plant two years apart are a prime example of a company not learning from its mistakes.

Today in the Tauranga District Court, AFFCO New Zealand Limited was sentenced over an incident in which a worker was caught by a spreader hook and dragged along the mutton chain in January 2016 – an incident that WorkSafe’s Acting Deputy General Manager Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries describes as “concerningly similar” to one two years earlier when a worker was impaled through the head by a spreader hook.

“After the first incident, the company failed to identify as a risk the particular piece of equipment that injured the worker in the second incident - a point particularly noted by Judge Mabey QC when he convicted the company earlier this year on the 2016 incident,” Mr Humphries said.

“The Judge said for the company to rely on the fact that the equipment concerned had not caused previous incidents and it was not considered a hazard was to ‘substitute their subjective views for the objective test which must be applied’,” he said.


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NZ Bosses - Don’t be a grinch at Xmas

By Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The exposure of the theft of alternative holidays – otherwise known as lieu days – by the Wendy’s corporation has opened up a Pandora's box of holiday theft allegations across this and other industries.

As a result, Unite Union will be launching a public campaign to stop employers being a Grinch by stealing workers’ holidays this Christmas and New Year!.


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Unite needs new staff in Auckland

Unite is looking for new keen and committed staff members to help us keep growing and fighting on behalf of our thousands of members across Aotearoa.

We have two or three vacancies for staff in Auckland: full-time or part time recruiting and organising fast food workers in Auckland and a Membership Administration position, also based in our Auckland Office.


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Open letter to Russel Creedy from Unite over Alternative Holiday theft


Russel Creedy, Chief Executive, Restaurant Brands


Dear Russel,

It is with great concern that the manipulation of rosters to deny staff alternative holidays at Restaurant Brands has been confirmed to be so widespread that it must have been company policy at a senior level.

When we raised this problem with your HR department in the past they denied it was policy and said it was just being done by some rogue managers.

This is clearly not the case.

The company policy in the past was that you had to have worked three out of four of the previous Monday's if the public holiday was on a Monday to earn an entitlement to a lieu day. This was a narrow interpretation designed to benefit the company but even that policy was deliberately manipulated to deny entitlement.

The Employment Relations Authority has now ruled that a simple majority of weeks worked over three month period to avoid manipulation is enough to trigger an entitlement.

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Christchurch readers react to Wendys lieu days victory

Readers react on Star.Kiwi Rise Up Christchurch's Facebook page to article about Unite Union member Rose Williams winning a three-year battle against Wendy's.

You can read the article here: Wendy’s worker wins lieu day battle for all staff

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Wendy’s must give workers 5 years worth of alternative holidays

The right of workers to an alternative holiday when working on a public holiday has been strongly affirmed in an Employment Relations Authority decision against Wendco (NZ) Limited, the company that operates the Wendy’s stores in New Zealand.

Wendy’s had been using an interpretation of the law that effectively prevented most of their employees from accessing their lawful entitlement. In Wendy’s case, this was using a rule that an employee had to have worked the previous three Mondays if they wanted to claim an alternative holiday for working a public holiday on a Monday.

It was easy for managers to roster workers off one of those Mondays to stop them getting the entitlement.

Wendy's workers protest theft of Lieu Days (Alternative Holidays) during 2015 collective agreement negotiations

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Reject dogmas against increasing the minimum wage

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Bosses and their paid servants in the so-called economics “profession” are already screaming about the proposed minimum wage hike in New Zealand to $20 an hour by April 2021.

Most of their objections amount to the repetition of dogma which they want us to believe is some sort of science. Usually, very few facts are ever advanced to support their views.


Picket outside McDonald's Queen Street 2003. Unite has campaigned consistently for increases to the minimum wage.

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We Agree: Capitalism has failed

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)


There is a growing recognition that capitalism is at least a part of the problem we face in this society.

First, we had Winston Peters comment when he announced he was forming a government with the Labour Party. He said:

“Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe. And they are not all wrong. That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible – its human face.”

Then the new Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Jacinda Adern was asked directly if capitalism had failed low-income Kiwis she was unequivocal that it had.

“If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?” she said.


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