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National Labour News
The Public Service Association (PSA) and New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) reached an agreement with the government to process pay equity claims based on the principles established by a joint working group led by Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions. Legislation to implement the changes is expected later this year. In the meantime, the government agreed to accept the principles to resolve current pay equity claims. The agreement means employees who believe they are underpaid because they work in fields dominated by women will be able to make a pay equity claim. The first claims are PSA’s for social workers employed by the Ministry of Social Development and NZEI’s claim for education, behaviour and communication support workers with the Ministry of Education. The agreement will mean a “jump start” for pay equity, said CTU president Richard Wagstaff. "Working women who successfully demonstrate that they have a pay equity claim, will be able to be paid fairly.”
An 18 year old Burger King employee was assaulted by management on Sunday the 19th of February for monitoring temperature levels in an overheated and understaffed Burger King restaurant on Lincoln Road in West Auckland.
Workers had been forced to work in 33 degree heat and been refused rest breaks for up to five hours as the drive through backed up. Crew took it upon themselves to get a thermometer from nearby Burger Fuel workers, record the temperature at 33 degrees and call the air conditioning repair company after restaurant management failed to take action.
Unite Union has repeatedly warned senior company management of their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for its employees. Specifically we have on a number of occasions raised concerns about the inadequate air conditioning at the Lincoln Road restaurant and the company's failure to provide employees with needed rest breaks for health and safety reasons.
In 2015 workers at Burger King Lincoln Road walked off shift after being subjected to temperatures as high as 34.5 degrees and a disgusting fly infestation in the kitchen.
Workers and the union have been met with repeated delay, excuses and have been provided with incorrect information since reporting the widespread non provision of breaks at Lincoln Road Burger King last year.
Managers at the same restaurant have remained on staff after assaulting other workers. Workers have been rostered to continue working alongside people who have assaulted them rather than being separated to ensure their health and safety. The company has also disciplined and terminated workers who have defended themselves against assault. The comment by the manager who said "The customers are more important" tells us where the company's priorities lie, and its not with the welfare of their employees.
Yesterday's incident at Burger King Lincoln Road was immediately reported to West Auckland police who took a statement and explained that they will be making contact with the assailant.
The entire incident was captured on CCTV, which we are asking the company provide to unite union and have advised the police to obtain as part of their investigation. The company had previously attempted to conceal CCTV footage showing another manager assaulting another young female crew member in the same restaurant in 2012. [see link below]
Unite union organiser Gary Cranston will be representing another manager from Burger King's West City restaurant this week who was terminated by the company after defending herself against a violent customer who had verbally and physically attacked staff causing serious injuries. In this case the customer had made public complaints about the manager on Facebook that turned out to be untrue. The manager was terminated despite other workers at the store, loyal customers and even mall security presenting a petition to the company asking not to sack the manager because she was acting in defence of herself and her coworkers. Perhaps because Antares Group, who owns the BK franchise in New Zealand really does believe that "the customers are more important" than the welfare of their employees.
For comment contact Gary Cranston
Fast Food Organiser
West Auckland - Northland
029 4555 979
Armourguard Security have stood down a security guard from a WINZ site because he complained to his union that the company was not taking the guards health and safety seriously.
Dave Toopi, a Unite delegate and union executive member, complained to his union that the new ID check procedure being demanded of WINZ clients put the guards at risk because they have to act at receptionists as well as guards.
Guards are expected to stop all clients, check if they have ID, check if they have an appointment and the time of the appointment. They are holding a folder with sheets of names and appointment times. This creates holdups during busy periods.
The union believes that this can create unnecessary tension between the clients and the guards. The guards are also in a vulnerable position when doing paperwork for WINZ and not in a position to react quickly.
Clients are often in an agitated state given the culture of denial of people's entitlements that the government has encouraged among the management staff.
Over the last decade, this has seen the number of working age people accessing welfare support fall by 5% when the unemployment rate only fell 2%.
Security Guards at Armourguard also had their RTs taken off them as a cost saving exercise. There is also no one button emergency communication mechanism available to all guards at the company as recommended by the coroner following the death of a security guard in 2013.
These workers are barely paid above the minimum wage yet are expected to be multitasking machines.
Unite will not accept having our member being made a victim of for standing up for the rights of his fellow workers.
For comment contact Mike Treen
09 8452132 ext 20
Related: Union Anger at MSD ID crackdown
Security guards unionised by Unite Union at MSD sites are angry with new policy changes brought in by the Government yesterday, that now sees them stopping every citizen trying to access their rights and asking them for their name, appointment, and photo ID.
New York protest for increase in minimum wage and a union.Read more
The social movement of 2017 hit the streets of Glen Innes in strength yesterday to defend Ioela Niki Rauti from eviction at the hands of the State. Activists from many campaign groups united pledging material and physical solidarity to stop the ethnic and social cleansing of working class Glen Innes, built on Maori land to provide "homes for heroes" after the suffering of two world wars and the Depression.
By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director
(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)
Towards the end of last year there were a relentless series of stories of corporate malfeasance.
Pumpkin Patch shut up shop with the loss of hundreds of jobs and is refusing to pay its workers in New Zealand the redundancy pay they owe them by hiding behind a corporate structure that pretends that there were different companies involved when they all have the same ultimate owners.
“It’s really just a technicality that Pumpkin Patch Limited don’t own the stock, and its subsidiary, Pumpkin Patch Originals Ltd do,” First Union organiser Lisa Meto Fox told the November 24 NZ Herald. “They’re a wholly-owned subsidiary, the same directors and the same business,” she said.
By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director
(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)
A coroner’s inquest has revealed how WINZ has adopted a punitive culture that led directly to the recent suicide of one of the people it was meant to be helping.
Celebrated former beneficiary Paula Bennet was the minister in charge at the time and should be help responsible.
Unite union wishes all our members and supporters a very happy Xmas and New Year.
Over the past year Unite union delegates and organisers have recruited 3,855 new members. As most of you will know, turnover is very high in our industries (around 70% a year) and so we lost 3,524 members who left their jobs. However, the net gain of 331 is our best yearly increase for 5 years
Contacting Unite over the holidays
We know that many of you will be working over much of the holiday period and we want to make sure you can get help if you need it and know your entitlements for the public holidays.Read more