Rebuild Better in manufacturing and food production

E tū members in the manufacturing sector have long worked together to protect jobs, improve wages, health and safety, and other working conditions. As we move through the COVID-19 crisis, the work of E tū members continues, with some new challenges and opportunities in the mix. That’s why we need to take this time to Rebuild Better in manufacturing.

Solutions for manufacturing and food production

A strong union at every worksite with members involved in all decision making

Workers on the ground have skills, expertise and know what works. We want to Rebuild Better, together. This means improving communication between employers and union members. We also expect genuine worker participation in all health and safety decisions being made at this time and in the future.

We need to challenge the short-term thinking and unilateral decisions of some employers by pushing for worker involvement at governance level. This could be worker representation on boards of directors, or tripartite workers’ councils, which engage with business and government.

Workers standing together to secure good wages and end inequality

Union members in manufacturing can work together to secure good wages, decent jobs and end inequality when Fair Pay Agreements are in law and Living Wage commitments are made by employers.

Pushing for permanent employment for our people, rather than precarious labour-hire arrangements

Workers should be directly employed by a company. Rebuilding Better in manufacturing would see the removal of the triangular ‘company-agency-employee’ trap, which allows for exploitation of labour-hire workers. 

Workers with training and education opportunities

Workers need more training and development opportunities to improve productivity and create a multi-skilled workforce. As we look towards the future, we expect training to be part of a Just Transition. This would leave manufacturing workers in a strong position to stay in work, even in new environments.

The development and promotion of local supply chains

The pandemic exposed holes in our dependence on international supply chains, highlighting the opportunities from producing high-quality finished products locally. We need the development of local supply chains and value-add production happening locally rather than off-shore. Products that are locally made or made by union workplaces with good working conditions should be celebrated and promoted, through campaigns and marketing.

Sustainable and climate friendly production

Sustainable and climate-friendly jobs are part of healthy and thriving communities. We can reduce the carbon cost of our manufacturing through sustainable production methods, adding value locally and using sustainable locally sourced materials. The relative weighting of national economies has also shifted, meaning more opportunity to engage with international labour unions to level the playing field for manufacturing workers globally.

We can Rebuild Better if the Government:

  • gets Fair Pay Agreements underway
  • passes legislation, regulations or creates incentives to support local production and investment
  • creates frameworks discouraging bad jobs and more productive work
  • creates and invests in training and development frameworks for workers
  • implements government job insurance or stronger welfare safety nets
  • implements procurement policies which support local businesses.

We can Rebuild Better if industry and businesses:

  • commit to local manufacturing
  • have a focus on innovation, rather than cost-cutting
  • invest in training and development for existing workers
  • employ workers directly rather than through labour hire agencies
  • include workers in decision making.

We can Rebuild Better if local councils:

  • lead the way by becoming Living Wage towns and cities
  • implement procurement policies which support local businesses
  • play a role in promoting local businesses.

If you’re a manufacturing worker and want to help Rebuild Better but you’re not in the union yet, click here to join E tū today.