Decent Work survey: what E tū members are saying

Hundreds of E tū members have filled out the E tū Decent Work survey, giving us a good snapshot of how the Decent Work Charter relates to their working lives. Respondents have come from across the wide range of industries that E tū covers, and the demographic diversity of the respondents generally matches the E tū membership at large. Here’s what those members had to say about the four pillars of Decent Work at their own workplaces.

A decent income

A decent income is one that allows people to provide for themselves and their whānau. Half of the workers said that their pay was not enough (despite 75% of respondents saying that they were paid at least the Living Wage). 12% of the respondents were also receiving some kind of government financial support.
Workers upskill and take up responsibilities at work in the expectation that this would be reflected in their pay, but this was not the case for 60% of respondents, who said their pay did not adequately recognise their skills and level of responsibility.

Secure work

The results suggest that there is much room for improving workers’ sense of job security, by improving terms and conditions that allow for more certainty during work and in transition between jobs.

Only 57% of the respondents agreed that their job was secure. Almost a third didn’t agree or disagree, and only 15% disagreed that their job was secure. 12% of respondents also said that they did not have guaranteed hours. Most full-time workers were in full time hours by choice, while a third of those who were on part-time hours, and half of those in a contract-based or casual role, would prefer to be in a full-time job.

Close to all respondents agreed that losing their job would cause extreme financial difficulties to them and their whānau. If faced with a restructure, workers said that redundancy payments, income to support them while looking for other work, and the ability to participate in decision making, were very important. It was concerning that over half of the workers surveyed (55%) were not sure about what their employer offered them in the event of a restructure at their work, with only a third of workers saying they would receive a redundancy payment.

A quality work environment

The results suggest real health and safety concerns around psychological and physical wellbeing at work. Very few agreed their workplaces were free of harm and were healthy and positive places to work.

The most worrying pattern was seen in the response to the statement “staffing levels were about right”, with which two thirds of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed. Only 42% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed they had a workplace free of physical or psychological harm or injury. Only 30% agreed their workplace environment was healthy and positive. Alarmingly, 45% of those surveyed reported being harassed by management or co-workers in the past two years.

Workers’ voice

Less than half of workers indicated that they had tangible tools for voice at work. Only 32% agreed that they had a voice in influencing decisions at work, and only 28% thought that their opinions and ideas were taken seriously by management. Most respondents reported that their employers were neutral towards the union.