Across the union movement – E tū strike


On 4 August Wellington City Council parking wardens represented by E tū took strike action to protest the refusal by the Council to negotiate wage rates.

Parking wardens represented by E Tū protest in Wellington.

Parking wardens represented by E Tū protest in Wellington.

The parking officers have been trying for over two years to get their collective agreement settled, but the Council refuses to include wage rates in the agreement.

E tū has lodged a case with the Employment Relations Authority, seeking a ruling on the impasse with the Council. “We believe that the ongoing refusal of the Council to negotiate wage rates or include them in our collective agreement is a serious breach of good faith,” says John Ryall, E tū assistant secretary and advocate for the parking officers.

“We have been to mediation three times, held high level meetings with the Council and now we feel that the only option is to go on strike,” John Ryall says.

“This is about our ability and our right to bargain for our wages as well as being able to negotiate how we move up the wage scale and into other roles, maybe even management.

“It’s our right to have this in our collective agreement.  Everyone around New Zealand has the ability to have their wages written into their agreement so why is Wellington City Council not agreeing to this?”

In the wake of the parking warden’s strike, mediation continues. Soon a date will be set for a hearing in the Employment Relations Authority where a case has been lodged, seeking a collective agreement and for the Authority to set it.

 

A fairer Aotearoa

 

The Living Wage Movement continues to gain momentum with election forums around the country making the case for a fairer Aotearoa. Unions, faith groups and community organisations have ensured the Living Wage movement remains an election issue.

Forums in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington had three clear policy asks for political candidates, namely that they commit to:

 

  • Support and promote the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed in the core public service within 12 months of the new Government being formed.
  • Support and promote changing government procurement policies to ensure that all contracted workers, who are delivering a regular and ongoing service to the core public service, move to the Living Wage within the next term of government.
  • Support and promote the new Government developing an ongoing relationship with Living Wage Movement Aotearoa/New Zealand through an Advisory Group in order to champion the Living Wage throughout the NZ economy and oversee implementation.

 

In each city there was also the opportunity to ask for specific policy commitments, for example, in South Auckland we put pressure on politicians to address the crippling housing crisis by building 500 state houses from Otahuhu to Papakura and Flat Bush to Mangere every year.The new 2017-18 Living Wage Governance Committee including: Annie Newman (Convenor), Shirley Zhuang (Treasurer) and Bronwen Beechey (Secretary) are continuing to lead the charge on these issues.