COVID-19 Staff Updates

Please check back here regularly for all the most recent communication from Adrian during this crisis

12th August 2020 #2

Hi all,

I hope you and your families are all coping okay with the news and return to higher health alert levels today.

So far, we are fortunate around Fletcher Steel that we have largely been able to operate as usual, with the main changes being some employees working from home in Auckland, and a return to physical distancing and other health protocols at all sites.

There has been some confusion today around our logistics from and into Auckland, but we now have clarity from the government that all freight can continue as normal, with appropriate contact tracing and distancing for all drivers. Our freight providers have all been flexible and positive in making this happen and committing keeping our operations moving.

One question we’ve had is regarding masks; wearing masks is currently encouraged by the government but up to individuals to decide. In preparation of a potential move to compulsory mask-wearing, Fletcher Building is looking at supply options for staff.

Just a reminder that The Steel Employee Web site https://www.fletchersteel.co.nz/staff-updates/  is updated with resources and information around Covid and how we can look after ourselves and support those around us during this uncertainty. In particular I’d encourage you to make sure you have seen the updates from EAP – really usefully resources here particularly for those of us who have children at home.

Fletcher Building has also just released an updated version of the FB App – this also has a range of information and resources and is a big improvement from the previous version. Download or upgrade it today - more info here

Thanks for your efforts to keep things positive and smooth as we work through these challenges. I’ll be getting back into the daily communications to you all, with some good things to share over the next few days. Please also check out the note from CEIO Ross Taylor below.

All the best,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

Hi everyone,

As of midday today, Auckland will be transitioning into a Level 3 Health Alert with the rest of New Zealand moving into Level 2 at the same time. The NZ Government has indicated that this situation will last for at least the next three days.

We’ve had to move quickly to respond to this news and on my part, I’ve packed up what I need from the office and am currently working from home in Auckland.  We’ve reconvened our Crisis Management Team and will be working through exactly what we need to do to respond to the evolving situation over the coming days.  


The return of regional COVID- 19 flare-ups is not unexpected and is consistent with what we’ve already seen in different parts of Australia. The experience we’ve developed and the work we’ve done over the past few months on both sides of the Tasman means that we are much better prepared and informed to allow us to manage our business through shifting health alerts, wherever they may be.  What is clear is that regional cases of community transmission are likely to be the new norm for a while and we all need to be prepared for that.


The key thing is that the change in health alerts will have different impacts across our business so it is important to follow the advice from your own business unit or division around what this might mean for you and your workplace. As an example, our Penrose campus closed at midday today for the next three days in line with government advice and all of our people based there will be working from home for that period.


There is likely to be a natural level of anxiety about the health alert changes so please be mindful of your own wellbeing and consider using some of the resources available on the FB Info Hub app, more details of which you can find at the bottom of this email.


Our focus remains on the wellbeing of our people and ensuring that we can operate safely in an environment where COVID-19 is likely to be around for some time.  The best and most practical advice continues to apply around practicing good personal hygiene habits - details can be found via this link.


We’ll continue to monitor the situation and follow any guidance from the Government.  I will be in touch again as soon as we have new information to update you with.


In the meantime, stay safe and continue to look after yourselves and each other.

Regards

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer

12th August 2020

Hi everyone,

We have confirmation that all Auckland sites will be operational throughout level 3, subject to the following measures:

  • No physical interaction with customers
  • Contract tracing (ideally using the FB app) compulsory for all staff and any contractors/visitors
  • Office-based staff should work from home, after collecting any equipment needed to do this effectively
  • Physical distancing and heightened hygiene measures back in place

I will send another update this morning, in particular we need to understand what limitations we may be facing with regards to logistics such as linehaul trucks coming and going from Auckland. We expect this morning’s runs to be completed as normal.

Please stay focused on safety, we want to avoid the injuries we experienced when we returned to work last time at level 3. There is no need to rush or take shortcuts in our work.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

11th August 2020

Hi all,

I was hoping not to have to send one of these again – but as per the Prime Minister’s instruction tonight, NZ is moving back to level 2 with Auckland at level 3 until at least midnight Friday.

Fletcher Building and the Steel lead team are working to establish exactly what this means for our business.

Here’s what we know:

  • In all parts of our business nationwide:
    • Return to level 2 protocols including contract tracing, social distancing, and extra attention to hygiene (eg handwashing for 20 seconds)
    • Try to stay local/reduce travel, and do not travel into Auckland
  • For Auckland teams:
    • For those roles that can, work from home. You may need to come to work in the morning to pick up equipment or documents. If you have any IT issues, log a ticket as per normal.
    • For operational and site based roles, come to work as normal in the morning. We will update you as to the status of your site. Some of our sites will be considered essential businesses and stay open, or may be able to operate at some level depending on the guidelines that are still being announced as I write this.

And a fair bit we don’t know, yet:

  • Exactly which Auckland sites will be able to operate, for the 3 days. This will have an impact on sites and branches that rely on Auckland supply for some brands. We will confirm early tomorrow.
  • What your pay status will be if you will not be able to work; I expect to have confirmation on Wednesday morning on this

Please keep your customers and regular contractors informed, and look out for each other just as we have done so well this year, we will get through this new challenge together!

Kia kaha

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

9th June 2020

Hi all,

It’s good to be at level 1!

It’s a great achievement to have zero cases in NZ currently and zero cases across all of Fletcher Building to date. I sincerely thank you for hard work, patience and vigilance as we’ve navigated our way to this point.

However, the last 75 days have changed the New Zealand economy, and our business, in ways of which we had little appreciation back at on the 23rd of March when we first heard of the move to lockdown.

Like many businesses, Fletcher Steel has had to prepare for ‘survival mode’, and cut costs in all areas to be in a position to weather the downturn we will see over the next period. The hardest part of this has of course been the impact on our people, from challenging work environments, to pay reductions and redundancy. These impacts are very sobering and so disparate to the aspirations we have for our business and our people. We are doing our best to support all affected people, but please keep looking out for each other as well.

At level 1, most of the way we work will be back to normal. One thing that needs to continue is ensuring we maintain our contact tracing history by offering sign-in facilities at every site. The QR codes we have been using have now had the covid-related questions removed, and can sign known people in to every site with one click on a smartphone. Please keep these codes visible at your premises. Other FB recommended guidelines are attached.

We have also learnt some better ways of operating over the last couple of months. The use of Microsoft Teams meetings via computers has been revelatory, and as well as connecting sites and teams better will help us keep to the travel cost cuts we have made. We have been working with suppliers and freight providers to control costs and be more efficient through the lockdown, and some of these changes will be worth making permanent. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be looking for how else we need to change to be effective in this new environment.

Our safety performance since the lockdown has been below expectations with several incidents and near misses. Our safety plan, along with our strategy to achieve our financial goals, will be among the first long-term activities we re-introduce to the business towards the end of the month. To flourish in the future, we need to get both of these areas right; as a nation we’ve shown we can respond to the covid risks, we need to treat all our operational risks with at least as much seriousness and attention.

This will be the last covid update from me, in the belief we won’t be needing to return to a higher alert level any time soon. Again, thank you all for your contributions, sacrifices, and positivity over the last few months. I look forward to eventually catching up with you all in person, and hopefully in improved circumstances all-round.

Noho ora mai,

Adrian

Adrian Blake

General Manager | Fletcher Steel

8th June 2020

Hi all,

The reality of the restructure continued to hit home this week, with many of our people who have been impacted starting to leave the business. We sincerely thank all these people for their contribution to Fletcher Steel, and we’ll be sending out communications within business units or functions as appropriate acknowledgement.

The impacts of these changes will of course be wider spread with many of you picking up wider responsibilities and tasks as we move to the reduced staff structure – thanks for your commitment to keep the business working well and customers happy, despite the disruption.

Today I participated in a call with a chief bank economist to understand a little more around the economic outlook; it certainly wasn’t pretty with some major concerns around demand for construction work even if the ‘supply side’ is ready to deliver. The global situation is probably worse than most of us realise, and this will impact NZ with our high reliance on exports and tourism. However, New Zealand is relatively well positioned to recover faster and be in a good place over a 5 year+ horizon.

Our job in Fletcher Steel will be to take advantage of whatever opportunities are out there by ensuring we maintain our best-in-class service alongside competitive value of our products.

Assuming we get a timeline for level 1 on Monday, I’ll share some more about what that will mean for us early next week.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

28th May 2020

Hi all,

It’s been a very hard week all around Fletcher Steel as we consult with staff around the restructuring plans. Thank you for respecting this process, particularly as some of our team are yet to go have their initial consultation meetings. We are still aiming for these to be completed by tomorrow – if you feel you are not clear on your role’s status through this process, or haven’t got a meeting booked for today or tomorrow, please raise this via your manager or directly to our P&P team. Again, this is a very sensitive time for so many of our people, please look out for and respect each other, and be safe in your work.

As I’ve communicated before, these changes are tough but necessary parts of reducing our costs to ensure Fletcher Steel can get through the coming economic downturn, and again be in a position to invest and grow. Fletcher Building is close to finalising the plan for the next financial year and ensuring that same resilience is replicated across the wider business.

For any support you may need, please enquire via your manager or look at the recently upgraded Fletcher Building app:

Apple - https://apps.apple.com/tt/app/appranet/id1316765069

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.puttiapps.appranet

Log in details:

Username Email: fbnzsupport@fbu.com

Password: Fletcher1

The app includes details of the employee welfare fund for those experiencing financial hardship. While I hugely regret that people in our business have been impacted so hard through the lockdown, I am pleased that over 20 Steel employees have received support via this fund to make things slightly better.

Kia kaha

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

21st May 2020

Hi all,

I know the last two days have been distressing, with uncertainty for everyone. To minimise this uncertainty we are trying to work quickly to communicate and consult with each of you, but this speed also makes things hard as there is a lot for everyone to take in. With impacts right across our business, in some cases we won’t be able to consult with all the teams on a site on the same day. Please be respectful of other teams and people who may still be uncertain about their positions.

As I mentioned in my announcement on Wednesday, the headcount reductions that are proposed are not a reflection on the effort or ability of our people, and I am proud of how we are performing across all areas of the business coming out of the lockdown. However, these workforce reductions are needed to ensure Fletcher Steel is resilient through the economic downturn ahead, and to give our business the best possible chance of being in a position to take advantage of the growth that will inevitably return to the economy at some point.

Some people have already gone through consultations over the last year while others have significant pressures outside work; whatever your situation, we will do our best to support you through this period, so please do reach out for help if you need it. Remember we also have additional support services available including EAP (0800 327 669 or go to www.eapservices.co.nz/booking) to help all of us through this difficult time.

One more thing I ask of everyone, is to be more vigilant than usual when it comes to safety. With the distractions and stresses that we are experiencing, the risk of incidents is higher. Make sure you look out for each other, take the time to talk before your shifts, and follow your normal safety routines and procedures closely.

Kia kaha

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

20th May 2020 - #2 GM Announcement

Hi all,

I am following up Ross’s email to confirm that the proposed impacts across Fletcher Building are also necessary within Fletcher Steel. In order to sustain our business, we need to take measures to significantly reduce our costs across all areas.

As many of you will be aware, our profit for the 6 months to December was significantly below target and the previous year due to a number of factors, meaning the business was already under pressure to manage costs and lift performance. On top of this, the impact of the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions on Fletcher Steel have been significant. Through April and the level 4 restrictions, we have now taken a financial loss that means as a steel group we won’t be able to recover to the extent we planned, from the poor profit result we delivered in the first half of the year.

Through the ramp up period since the lockdown, we have seen reasonable volumes that are underpinned by ‘catch up’ orders from customers also returning to work. This week however, we are already starting to see some of this spike in demand start to subside.

We can’t afford to have another situation where our resources and expenditure is much higher than the customer demand we are fulfilling. Even if revenue is 10-20% lower than forecast, let alone the 90% reduction we saw in April, the efficiencies of our scale reduce and our ability to generate reliable profit is compromised. This is why we must act now to restructure the business for the forecast reduction in demand, as opposed to ‘wait and see’ precisely how deep the economic downturn will be.

Residential construction in particular is forecast to reduce from current historic highs, to generational lows in a very short period of time. Most of our steel businesses have significant exposure to the residential sector, or have secondary exposure via manufacturers who make products for use in residential buildings. Only two months ago, we were planning for growth in this area, and some of our resourcing and capacity reflects that previously expected level of activity; we now expect consents and demand to be one third lower than budgeted.

Steel’s highest exposure is to the commercial building sector, which is expected to decline by 15% with fewer projects being started by businesses around the country, given their own financial outlook and capital constraints. We are already seeing this in parts of Steel, with some planned projects being withdrawn or delayed, and even some live orders cancelled.

Pre-Covid, the government had announced investment in the infrastructure sector, and we were planning to meet the opportunities offered by up to +10% growth in related steel market volume for the coming year. However, the reduced productivity in this sector, and the time it will take to get new projects started, are now driving a forecasted decline of -10% for infrastructural steel, which impacts all of our non-roofing Steel businesses.

Reduction in market activity of this scale will have a dramatic impact throughout most parts of Fletcher Steel and because of this the business needs to move quickly to ensure that our financial health is protected.

There is nothing I want more than to get through the continuing challenging times and coming tough conditions in good shape, to then be able to support and grow with the economic recovery when it comes, and be able to provide opportunities for our people.

We have been looking at all options to reduce our costs to keep Fletcher Steel as fit as possible through the coming downturn. We have made substantial cuts to our travel, marketing and all other discretionary spends for the coming year. Our capital expenditure has been restricted to a fraction of previous levels. We are working with our commercial landlords, freight partners, vehicle lessors, and material suppliers to reduce our operational costs. Our use of temp staff and other external resource has been cut back wherever possible. Despite this, we still cannot sustain our pre-Covid workforce level, and sadly must consider a number of proposed changes to headcount and working hours across Fletcher Steel to respond to the forecast reduction in market demand.

These proposals impact right across Fletcher Steel. In total, from our workforce of 800, the equivalent of 92 roles are proposed to be disestablished or changed. We are looking to extend the current hiring freeze to permanently disestablish most of our vacant roles to reduce the direct impact on current staff; this will account for 28 of the proposed 92 impacted roles.

We are aware of the relatively lean resource base we already operate with, particularly in some smaller sites; we especially cannot compromise safe operating. These factors, along with the cost savings already achieved, mean the proposed staff reduction levels in Fletcher Steel are less than the average level of proposed headcount reductions across Fletcher Building.

Of course, this is of absolutely no comfort whatsoever to those who may be impacted by these proposals. These difficult decisions are not a reflection on the effort or ability of our people – we have huge respect and care for all our people, and appreciate sincerely the contribution everyone is making, particularly over this last period – and it is devastating that we need to look to workforce reductions to ensure our business is resilient through the economic downturn ahead.

Between tomorrow and next Friday 29th May we will begin consulting with the teams and people impacted by these proposals. We want to minimise the time of uncertainty for everyone but have a lot of separate situations to work through. SLT managers and/or People & Performance team members will be discussing the proposals in person, while we will also be engaging with unions.

This is upsetting news on top of everything else you have been dealing with both at home and at work. We will do everything we can to provide support to all those affected by these proposals, both now and through the coming months. As a nation and a business, we have looked after each other well through the lockdown and the challenges it has brought, please keep up that attitude as we work through this next very difficult period.

Kia kaha

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

20th May 2020 - #1 CEO Announcement

Hi everyone,

As the world continues to face the global challenges of COVID-19, Australia and New Zealand can take credit for the progress made in limiting the spread of the virus. However, despite seeing success in terms of protecting the health and safety of the population, we can’t deny the longer-term impacts COVID-19 will have on economies around the world.

While Fletcher Building entered the pandemic relatively well positioned, all the advice from both the New Zealand and Australian Governments, Treasury, and economists is that we should expect a sharp downturn in FY21 and potentially beyond.

It is clear that we are facing a very different future to the one we were planning for only a few short weeks ago, and that this requires us to take decisive yet difficult measures to ensure the long-term resilience of our business. It is imperative we prepare ourselves now for what we see as the likely outlook.

Against this backdrop, today I’m announcing that we will start consultation processes proposing to reduce the number of people we employ in both New Zealand and Australia as we prepare for the longer-term economic impacts of COVID-19. 

Below you will find more information on the process, but I think it is important to first provide details on the rationale for this decision, particularly around the economic and market forecasts we are working to.

Looking to the next financial year, we are planning for an environment that will see a shrinking economy, substantially reduced customer demand across all our businesses and sustained lower levels of productivity. This is likely to see a 20 – 30% reduction in activity in our core markets.

The New Zealand and Australian governments’ recovery packages will provide support in some areas, including infrastructure investment.  However, there will be a limit to this economic stimulus, and we can expect residential and commercial sectors in particular (representing around 70% of our business) to be operating at materially lower levels for some time. 

Like any organisation facing severely reduced revenue, we have moved to reduce all non-essential spending and preserve cash to prepare for the tough times ahead.  We need to tighten the company up and our cost-saving measures include reducing spend in areas such as external consultant fees, marketing and travel; making better use of our operational footprint and office space; and improving the efficiency of our supply chains.  We also cancelled our FY20 interim dividend and suspended our on-market share buyback programme. In addition, pay-cuts of 30% for the Board and myself as CEO will remain in place through to the end of September. Capital expenditure will be reduced by around half in FY21 and will be focused on only the most important investments in safety, maintenance and initiatives critical for our future such as the digital transformation of our businesses, ensuring competitive manufacturing and effective residential and construction builds. 

Unfortunately, the size of the market slowdown that we anticipate means that these measures only form part of the cost reductions we need to make. In light of this, we are proposing to make the difficult decision to downsize our business and reduce the number of people we employ.

As a result, this week we will begin the process of consulting with some of our people and unions about reducing our New Zealand workforce by approximately 1,000 roles. We will honour our obligations under the Government Wage Subsidy scheme by retaining our people through the 12-week subsidy period ending 26 June 2020. We confirm that no one would leave the business before the 26 June 2020, unless an earlier date is agreed between employee and manager. In Australia we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our operations and expect this would result in a workforce reduction in the order of 500 roles.

We are conscious of the impact this will have and are committed to supporting our people affected by the upcoming changes if we move ahead as proposed. This will include every permanent employee leaving Fletcher Building being paid their redundancy entitlement under the terms of their employment or a payment equivalent to four weeks’ base salary, whichever is higher, to recognise and support our people given the exceptional circumstances. This will be paid in addition to notice periods. This is to ensure all our people who are affected are supported while finding new employment.

In making these decisions, each business unit or function looked at the forecast decline in demand and the necessity to remove costs. This was balanced against the need to retain the key capabilities to execute our strategy, deliver for customers and to minimise job losses wherever possible.

The next stage will involve consulting with those impacted and doing as much as we can to support them. Each of the business units will be managing their own communications, processes and timelines and I know they will provide certainty for our people as soon as possible.

These are incredibly difficult but necessary decisions that will ensure Fletcher Building continues to provide the products and services Australia and New Zealand need. As a major employer and supplier to the economy, we need to ensure our business is resilient and that we will be in a strong position to support both countries’ economic recovery in the longer-term, just as we have done for more than 100 years.

I understand the impact these decisions will have on our people.  Those affected will include people from all parts of our organisation from a range of diverse backgrounds. Some will be Fletcher Building veterans with several years of service, while others will be new to the business. All of our people affected will have made a difference to our company and made a difference for their teammates and our customers; these decisions are not a reflection of their value or contribution.

We are committed to supporting our people as they leave us, so they are in the best position possible to secure their next opportunity. We have a range of webinars and tools such as CV writing, interview training, use of networking sites such as Linkedin, EAP and career advice available. We are delivering this through our own People team who know and understand the businesses and people they work with and support every day. Information about these sessions and how to register for them, will be provided by your business units.

I appreciate this is a difficult and unsettling time. Our goal throughout COVID-19 has been to provide as much certainty to our people as possible as early as we can. As we move into this consultation process, please continue look after yourselves and each other.

Regards

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building

19th May 2020

Hi all,

A few times over the lockdown, we’ve recognised the operational safety risk in Steel being greater than the ‘Covid-related’ risk, and that there could be a heightened operational risk upon our return to work. Sadly, this has turned out to be correct, with several safety incidents over the past week including some that have resulted in serious injury. Our incident rate is clearly running higher than it was prior to the lockdown; we need to quickly get our focus back to the safety reset that we were working through, and continue to work on improvement in our safety performance.

Please, take time to discuss safety each day; identify any areas where you are having to work differently and mitigate any risks that result; and focus on the tasks at hand.

We will soon be picking up where we left off on our safety improvement program, but need to address our day-to-day performance immediately, whilst keeping up our adherence to the heath alert level 2 protocols.

Otherwise, we really appreciate the 200+ responses to the survey sent out last week. There is a wide range of feelings and opinions, and whilst we have done okay in some areas, there are others in which we could do better to support you and provide clarity around your work and pay situation. We’ll take this on board as we continue to deal with the challenges level 2 is bringing. We note that a majority of respondents preferred text communication, which we’ll continue to use, and also there were many requests for easier access to support. The FB app has the full range of support we can provide, and please note the details on the employee welfare fund below. Please keep the feedback coming through, via the survey or your manager.

Employee Welfare Fund

If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet during this difficult time, don’t forget, the Fletcher Building Employee Welfare Fund (EWF), is here to help with financial hardship.  This fund is available to provide immediate support to you and has already helped many of our people during this tough lockdown. Information will be going out to all our people soon, for further information please contact Sue Patterson  - Sue.Patterson@fb.co.nz or call 09 525 9346.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel


14th May 2020

Hi team,

I hope the first day of health alert level 2 has meant something good for you! For me, my 3 year old son was able to play with some children his own age, which he had been missing a lot over the last few weeks. For work at level 2, we need to continue to our focus on adhering to the EHS protocols such as physical distancing and contact tracing sign-ins that we began under level 3.

Thanks to all who have provided some feedback through the wellbeing survey link you should have received via text in the last few days. It’s helpful for us to understand what’s important to you and areas where we could provide better support through these continuing times of change and disruption. Here is the link https://bul.tn/d/Q0jPGKG , note the survey is anonymous unless you’d like us to be in touch directly.

Around the business we have slowly been increasing our operational capacity with safety top of mind. We have so many people making a huge effort to get things running well and providing great service to our customers, despite some significant constraints and limited work hours. Disappointingly, we have also had some areas where staff absenteeism has put pressure on the rest of the working team, creating safety risk and reduced service levels – please, do make every effort to help the business get back on track and healthy – it will keep the spread of work as even as possible, and help our position as we plan for the coming financial year.

The government budget today brought mixed news, with restated commitments to some infrastructure projects, but limited investment towards generating demand for residential building-related work at a homeowner level. Fletcher Building is engaging with government across many businesses, including Fletcher Steel, to lobby for greater support in this area to drive a better outlook for this sector and hence demand for our products.

For those of you paid monthly, please note the May pay run tomorrow will relate to days worked from  1st  to  30th May. For those of you who are owed any adjustments as a result of coming back to work early in April, these will be processed in a separate  pay run next week. The reason for this is the large volume and complexity of changes that need to be completed across the business – sorry for the delay, but we want to get it right.

Noho ora mai,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

11th May 2020

Hi team,

Today the government announced more details of the move to Health Alert Level 2, commencing in stages from this coming Thursday. The changes for the Fletcher Steel business are limited, but I hope that the reopening of many services and increased freedom will bring some real positives to everyone’s personal lives.

We will be maintaining our social distancing and other processes such as QR code sign-in for contact tracing purposes. Limited travel is possible for certain roles but please note this must be signed off by the SLT; any air travel needs exec-level approval. We also expect customer expectation around service levels will start to increase as the ‘new normal’ is brought in over the coming weeks; we’ll continue to work to balance these expectations with safe operation and resourcing to match demand levels.

Please see Ross Taylor’s note which outlines the Fletcher take on the latest announcements:

Hi everyone,

We are starting this week on a positive note. Only days after Australian PM Scott Morrison announced a loosening of restrictions in Australia; at 4pm today (NZT) the New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern announced the move from Level 3 to Level 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The move takes effect from midnight Wednesday 13 May.

This is real progress we should all be proud of and it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the contribution we’ve all made over the last six weeks. By following the rules, each of us have made our countries safer places.  We still have some important restrictions in place, but it feels like we are heading in the right direction. Through our businesses that have remained open or have recently re-opened we have learned that when we are cautious, careful and everyone follows the rules, we can work both safely and effectively.

Even as the risk of COVID-19 reduces, the impact on our New Zealand and Australian economies will be felt for some time to come.  With governments and economists predicting a significant recession, we need to ensure our business is prepared for a different future to the one we envisaged only a few weeks ago.

Understanding ‘the new normal’ and adapting to it quickly will be the key to how we’ll thrive again. We’re already fast-tracking innovation, working closely with our respective Governments and building strong networks across industries to enable businesses to support each other.  We have also reviewed all our business plans to refocus them on the opportunities that are available to us. Being faster, agile and more responsive to the needs of our customers will be critical to our future success. And there have been great examples of this while we’ve been in ‘crisis mode’. We’ve worked across teams and disciplines to stand-up new ideas and deliver them quickly. That ability to cut-through the noise and get stuff done needs to become part of our day-to-day. 

At FB we will be applying a range of measures to minimise risks to our people and operations. There will be restrictions on work-based domestic travel, unless it is approved by one of the Exec team. We are also limiting business meetings which should be held either via video conference or in small groups with physical distancing applied. More details are available in the new Health Alert (attached). 

Over the last six weeks I’ve been impressed by how those who are working, have come together to support our people. Our COVID-19 Support Hub is a great example of this and over 7000 of you now get news and information through your smartphone. As our response to COVID-19 evolves, we need to make sure that the Hub continues to work for you.  We’d like to know how you’re finding it, what’s been useful and what more can we do with it.  Please take a minute to share your thoughts, and help us improve it, as we go.

Finally, I’d just like to say thanks to you all for your patience, compassion and tenacity.  I know this has not been easy.  Please continue to look out for each other and remember there are resources and support available to anyone who may be struggling.

I’ll talk to you all again soon.  Please continue to stay safe in the meantime.

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer

8th May 2020

Hi all,

As mentioned earlier this week, we’ve finalised the April result and as expected it makes rather ugly reading! Below is the revenue achieved versus the ‘pre-covid’ forecast for each business:

Easysteel 25% - a good effort generated via essential supply, with Fletcher Wire operating for most of the month

Dimond 10% - several orders manufactured pre-lockdown being dispatched before month end

Reinforcing 1% - not able to invoice out with most projects taking time to restart

PCC 6% - limited dispatches at level 3 from our stock

CSP 15% - some hire income continuing through the lockdown

Of course our costs were not reduced by anywhere near the magnitude of the revenue reduction, resulting in a loss across all businesses.

To start May, there has been a mix of pent-up demand coming through in some areas, with other areas still very quiet. This is reflected across most Fletcher Building businesses, especially those with exposure to the residential sector.

Please remember to check out our staff website for links to access support and information:

Fletcher Steel Staff Website

This is an easy place for our people who do not have access to the office network or intranet, to stay in touch with all our news and announcements, please check this regularly for updates https://www.fletchersteel.co.nz/page/staff-updates/,

Wellbeing Toolkit

We have put together a wellbeing toolkit on our website that outlines some support and useful tips on managing your own, and your family’s wellbeing.

Text Messages

Have you been receiving text messages from us over the past few weeks?  We’ve been keeping in touch using a great a new tool, sending text messages directly to your mobile phone.  If you haven’t been receiving them, please check your contact details in Workday, or let your manager know, so that you can receive these messages from us in future.

Using your leave to top up your wages or salary:

If you have accrued or entitled annual leave, long service or other entitled leave available, you have the option of using this through the lockdown period to top up to 100% pay.  For working salaried staff, this means applying for leave top up via kiosk (the traditional manner), and for working waged employees, this will be through standard ADI methods. Only those on the bridging pay program should now be using the FB app to apply for top-up leave where you can also view the cut off dates to apply.  

Have a good weekend, and to all mums a very happy Mother’s Day for Sunday!

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

6th May 2020

Hi all,

It’s pleasing to see sites starting to ‘come to grips’ with operating under the Covid-19 protocols. Our productivity has been impacted in some areas, and we’ll need to keep working on solutions that allow us to meet customer demand whilst keeping our people safe.

Unfortunately we have already experienced one serious incident requiring medical attention this week. As always there are a number of contributing factors, with this accident occurring in a ‘split shift’ situation which does create a difference in that less people are in a working site at any time. Please be wary of the risks created by operating differently, including the proximity of anyone who would need to provide assistance in case of an incident.

Below are a few more staff benefits – Janice sent detail on accessing the new Z fuel discount today, it is well worth it and who can say no to a free pie!?

Staff discounts

If ever there was a time to take up some discounted offers, it’s now!  Check out all the staff discounts available to our people here.  

New Z fuel staff discount

You may not be able to travel far at the moment, but when you do make sure you are signed up to the new Fletcher Building Z Fuel Employee discount and you can take advantage of up to 16c per litre off fuel as well as a free pie, a free coffee and a half price car wash every month! There is also an opening special for the first 3 months - 20c per litre off fuel! All you need to do is download the Z app on your smartphone and register.  Click here to find out more about this special discount.

Mentemia

Have you downloaded the Mentemia App, launched by Former All Black legend, Sir John Kirwan, yet ? This wellness app is free to everyone, as we all manage the additional stress and anxiety of COVID-19, our current lockdown situation and beyond.

Mentemia is designed to make us all better every day.  You can use Mentemia anytime, anywhere and it’s completely secure. Personal data is never shared. The app has practical tips, ideas and tools which can be personalised to help you, and to make you a better support person for your partner, family or friends. Search “Mentemia” on either App Store or Google Play.

FB COVID-19 Support Hub App

Have you downloaded the COVID-19 Support Hub app yet?  This app will provide all of us (wired and non-wired) with a single site for key information.   You can use the app to see payroll dates, apply for leave and salary top ups.  You’ll also find info about how to reduce your outgoings, including pausing FBuShare, Kiwisaver, Southern Cross and mortgage payments and helpful tips on maintaining your wellbeing, with a link to EAP services. To access the App, download ‘Appranet’ to your mobile phone, use these links to get you started:

Apple - https://apps.apple.com/tt/app/appranet/id1316765069

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.puttiapps.appranet

Log in details:

Username Email: fbnzsupport@fbu.com

Password: Fletcher1

Noho ora mai,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

4th May 2020

Hi all,

Today the commercial team worked through the month end process which gives details of our financial result for the month just completed. As expected, despite the assistance from the government subsidy, it looks like a substantial loss for April. Whilst we undertook several cost initiatives, not least of all reductions to pay but also including rent abatements and fixed freight cost relief, our business still incurs a level of fixed and unavoidable costs that without revenue means our result is ‘in the red’. We are forecasting to break even in May and are planning as to how we can return to profit thereafter.

I’ll provide a little more detail on the April result when it is finalised on Wednesday.

The People & Performance team have kindly put together a list of benefits and support that are available to us – I’ll feature a few each update, please be confident in tapping into these if they may help you and/or your family:

Employee Educational Fund

Did your time in lock down inspire you to upskill?  The Employee Educational Fund (EEF) is a private trust fund for Fletcher Building employees and their dependent family members. Take a look at the website to see what funding opportunities might be available for you and your family here

Employee Welfare Fund

If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet during this difficult time, don’t forget, the Fletcher Building Employee Welfare Fund (EWF), is here to help with financial hardship.  This fund is available to provide immediate support to you and has already helped many of our people during this tough lockdown. Information will be going out to all our people soon, for further information please contact Sue Patterson  - Sue.Patterson@fb.co.nz or call 09 525 9346. 

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a free, professional and confidential service. It is here to help if you are experiencing any personal or work related difficulties and is provided by an independent company. EAP appointments can be made anytime by calling 0800 327 669 or go to www.eapservices.co.nz/booking EAP Services operates 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday.  View the EAP Services information here

Noho ora mai,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

1st May 2020

Hi all,

We’ve concluded this week with orders holding up fairly well, and plans for more staff to return next week which should help to decrease our lead times – that said, please don’t compromise our commitment to social distancing protocols with more people on sites. Compared to a lot of other businesses and industries, I think we are meeting these requirements very well and showing how seriously we treat all critical risks. Let’s keep it that way!

Below is a quick update from CEO Ross Taylor to summarise the week:

Have a great weekend,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

1st May 2020 - Ross Taylor Update

30th April 2020

Hi all,

After a couple of days of sales around the business, we are seeing solid order volumes in most areas, with mixed feedback from customers regarding the medium-term outlook. We expected some pent-up demand coming through in the first couple of weeks so will continue to monitor the order book and market feedback to match our resource appropriately to the service levels required. Again, I appreciate everyone’s flexibility as we work through this restart period.

Please talk to your managers and follow the guidelines provided by our payroll and P&P teams when it comes to leave top-ups; the process is changing for some people this week and we want to get as many right-first-time as possible. For working salaried staff, this means applying for leave top up via kiosk (the traditional manner), and for working waged employees, this will be through standard ADI methods. Only those on the bridging pay program should now be using the FB app to apply for top-up leave.

The sites I’ve called into this week for a quick safety walk have been impressive in terms of preparedness and the behaviours of individuals to follow both government protocols and our own safety rules – great effort everyone, and it has received the positive attention of the Fletcher Building EHS team. Keep it up!

Have a good one,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

28th April 2020

Hi all,

With many sites starting to operate again today, a big thank you must go to everyone across the business that has helped make this happen.

We’ve said that our top priority was a safe restart, and we have certainly shown commitment to that with managers and teams completing all of the considerable number of safety requirements asked of them – well done all, and also big thanks to Deb and the safety teams for the work behind the scenes to get the required resources and sign-offs ready. All sites are ready for operations based on Fletcher Steel safety standards and government COVID-19 protocols.

A lot of our people went through safety inductions today – for those working from home or yet to return, here’s a video created by our marketing team to outline our focus areas and expectations for restart and alert level 3:

Please keep up the focus on safety as we ramp up our production and aim to get back to the service levels our customers have come to know us for.

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

24th April 2020

Hi all,

Thanks to the people who have been into sites today to begin readying them for the phased reopening, under Alert Level 3, of our branches and operations. This preparation included moving desks, marking floors, cleaning and stocking new PPE to meet the Level 3 protocols. This is both a positive sign that we are close to moving out of the lockdown, and also a reminder that how we operate in our sites is going to be very different for the foreseeable future.

I acknowledge the sacrifices made by all of you over the least few weeks; I know that for many of us the sacrifices will continue as we are not back to full working hours, and also will have family to take care of whilst the covid-19 restrictions continue.

Please read the attached letter for a little more information on how pay will be treated over the next few weeks if you are not yet back to full time work, and contact us if you have any questions at ppteam@fbusteel.com

If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet during this difficult time, don’t forget, The Fletcher Building Employee Welfare Fund (EWF), is here to help with financial hardship resulting from the covid -19 lockdown.  This fund is available to provide immediate support to you and has already helped many of our people during this tough time.

For further information please contact Sue Patterson Sue.Patterson@fb.co.nz

For those coming in to our sites next week, it’s natural to feel unsettled or nervous about being around other people at work given the isolation of the last month. Please be assured we are doing everything we can to create a safe and healthy working environment and following the government guidelines to ensure any risk is minimised.

Lastly, this ANZAC weekend we can also reflect on the sacrifices made by New Zealanders in previous times of being called into action to protect our country. We are so fortunate for the freedoms they earned us, and over the last few weeks have certainly been reminded not to take those freedoms for granted. We will remember them.

Noho ora mai

Adrian

Adrian Blake

General Manager | Fletcher Steel

23rd April 2020

Hi team,

Today we continued getting ready for the end of lockdown, with several of the sales teams meeting via videoconference to nail down plans for next week. We are going to need excellent communication between our sales, supply and ops teams to co-ordinate orders whilst we all get used to the new covid-19 safety protocols, and some customers get used to ‘call and collect’ procedures.

The Fletcher reinforcing team have been busy working through several major tenders, and we are well advanced on a few landmark project tenders including the City Rail Link in Auckland. Hopefully, all of this activity will pay off with some solid sales for us despite the forecast decline in activity across New Zealand due to the impact of covid-19 and the lockdown.

For our last challenge, the SLT chosen winner is Garry de Silva, who’s after a haircut after the lockdown – a nice humble desire, and something we can all relate to (me included…)!

Thanks to all contributors to the various challenges over the last couple of weeks – prizewinners, we will get your vouchers to you next week.

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

22nd April 2020

Hi team,

Today we continued work on our capital expenditure plan for the next financial year – this is basically money we can use to purchase assets like manufacturing plant, cranes, site upgrades and IT software. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, there is less cash and hence capital to spend all around Fletcher Building, so we will be postponing some of our projects until economic conditions improve. Luckily, we still have enough to complete some safety upgrades and the new Wellington Dimond/Easysteel site that were already underway. The engineering and IT teams will be working to stretch the money we have as far as possible, but it’s another illustration of how careful we will need to be with costs even when we return to operating.

We have some more winners today from the challenges, as judged by the SLT. Congratulations (and $50 vouchers) go to:

Best videos:

Tanya King – surely no better lyrics to hear on repeat than ‘I love Mum’

Rene Preston – best lockdown laugh!

Best words of wisdom:

Robert Ulugia – “Be humble, be kind, be safe, love each other” – couldn’t agree more Robert, and we really appreciate your message. Looking forward to seeing you, and everyone, back soon.

Nicky Young – “One Day at a Time” and “The Only Way is Through” - also seem quite relevant at the moment

Simba Jagadeeshan - “Tough times never last but tough people do” – and steel people are among the toughest!

Thanks for all the entries. You have one last chance to contribute, let us know what you are looking forward to most after the lockdown, I hear KFC will be a popular one including in my household!

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#6 – First thing you’ll do after the lockdown - entries close midday Thursday 23rd

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

21st April 2020

Hi all,

A video update today for something different – thanks to my son Leon for his inspiration and assistance!

Also, Ross Taylor has an update with a similar message for all the teams around Fletcher Building:

Hi everyone,

Over the past few days, there have been some encouraging developments on both sides of the Tasman. On Monday, Australia recorded the lowest count of new COVID-19 cases since early March. The death toll remains at 71 after no new deaths were recorded. This suggests a significant turning point in the fight against COVID-19 as the Government considers new measures such as the introduction of a new contact tracing app to monitor the spread of the virus.  

Yesterday, the New Zealand Prime Minister announced that from 11.59pm next Monday night, the country’s Health Alert Level will be lowered to Level Three. I’m sure, that like me, you’ll have a huge sense of relief that the strict measures everyone has been living with for the past month have had a positive impact in limiting the spread of COVID-19, ultimately saving many lives.

The NZ Government has also confirmed it is time to prepare for some businesses to get back to work. From next Tuesday, businesses that do not have face-to-face contact with people outside of their workplace can go back to work. So retail, for example, won’t be possible in the usual way but construction, manufacturing and distribution will, with strict restrictions remaining. While this is positive news, we need to manage the upcoming restart process carefully, ensuring we don’t rush things and that we make good decisions for the long term benefit of our people and business.

Health & Safety in a COVID-19 environment

Making sure it’s safe for our people to return to work is our priority and we will be introducing a range of new health and safety protocols. These will include new hygiene measures, physical distancing and contact tracing. 

It’s natural to feel unsettled or nervous about returning to work and being around other people but please be assured, we will be creating a safe and healthy working environment where everyone is encouraged to speak up about any safety concerns.  A lot of work has been done to create site-specific health and safety plans, and we’ll be communicating these at a divisional level shortly. It’s important that everyone understands and follows the new processes we are putting in place to protect not just our people at work, but their families as well.

Planning for the post COVID-19 economy

The economic environment has fundamentally changed and all of the advice we have been getting tells us we need to be prepared for a significant downturn, that will have wide reaching impacts on the economy, our industry and our business.

Resuming operations won’t be as simple as turning on a switch with everyone returning to work on day one. When we developed the Bridging Pay Programme in New Zealand, we did so on the basis we expected a 12-week period of uncertainty that included the lockdown and a gradual ramp-up of work.

We are fortunate to have a strong balance sheet and we entered the lockdown in good financial shape, but we need to be smart and use our financial strength wisely. From an immediate financial perspective, we can’t simply reboot all of our operations at once, as this would burn through a significant amount of cash in the first month with very low income still. So, we need to focus on cashflow and returning to profitability as quickly as possible. This means we will be bringing people back to work as and when we are able to. Your manager will be in touch with more details about your own situation.

There shouldn’t be any doubt that the economy will be facing some tough times ahead, and that all businesses will have to confront their own challenges. The good thing is we now have a confirmed pathway for a return to work, which gives us some certainty around getting our business moving again as soon as we can.  We have a long history of coming together as an organisation and this will hold us in good stead in the coming weeks and months.

I encourage you to reach out to one another as we put our re-start plans in place and continue to be aware of how people are dealing with the lockdown. As a reminder there are some great wellbeing resources available on the Hub which many people have been accessing and sharing.

I will be in touch again soon but in the meantime, please continue to look after yourselves and your friends, families and colleagues.

Best regards,

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building Limited

20th April 2020

Hi all,

It was a mostly encouraging update from the Prime Minister this afternoon, with the positive news of an imminent move to alert level 3 from next Tuesday 28th April.

We are now working to apply the guidelines announced by the government to complete our safety and restart plans.

As outlined last Friday (email attached below for reference), we will not all be back to work on day 1. As well as the safety considerations, for some of our manufacturing sites in particular we have high stock levels to work through, whilst in other areas our customers and their worksites will have a slow return to operation and ordering. The government has reiterated some themes such as working from home where possible, utilising ‘click and collect’ models for call-in customers, and above all maintaining social distancing and good health & hygiene practices.

We will provide you and our customers an outline of our general plan tomorrow, and this will be followed closely by more detailed communication to you as to how each site will likely return to operation – noting that this could change depending on customer demand levels.

Fletcher Building has also published an article on Matrix that I think is worth sharing, with a great NZ app that is freely available to us – see more at https://vimeo.com/408583487 :

We’re just a little bit stoked to have the mighty Sir John Kirwan (JK) launching his mental wellness app Mentemia to everyone at Fletcher Building in New Zealand. 

Former All Black legend, Sir John Kirwan has been the face of mental health for over 15 years and has been working with scientists, clinicians, tech experts and other specialists to create Mentemia, an app for mental wellbeing. He’s making his wellness app free to everyone here, as we all manage the additional stress and anxiety of Covid-19, our current lockdown situation and beyond.

Mentemia is designed to make us all better every day.  The app is for all ages and walks of life, just like our people.  You can use Mentemia anytime, anywhere and its completely secure. Personal data is never shared. The app has practical tips, ideas and tools which can be personalised just to help you but also to make you a better support person for your partner, family or friends. Search “Mentemia” on either App Store or Google Play

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

17th April 2020

Hi team,

There has been a lot of activity around Fletcher Building today to understand what the impact of the alert level 3 government guidelines will have on our operations, when we restart.

Of utmost importance is safety, both regarding Covid-19 and operational risks. In fact, we are going to consider Covid-19 as a critical risk for all of our sites, and all of our functions.

We are used to the procedures and policies we have to understand and eliminate critical risks, and thinking this way will ensure we apply the same rigour to mitigating Covid-19 risks, and following relevant government conditions of operating in the level 3 alert environment.

Part of this will mean we are not all back to work on day one, and in many cases may be on a split shift pattern or working from home for a period of time. Inducting everyone to the new modes of operation, including setting expectations of contractors and customers, will mean the first few days will be about ‘retraining’ ourselves, identifying risks & solutions, and carefully increasing production. After that, limitations due to the likes of social distancing rules (eg 2 metres between people) and potentially reduced demand will mean that we may not have everyone on site each day or each week.

One of the tasks for next week will be planning for how we can unlock more of our ‘normal’ capacity, in a safe manner, for if and when customer demand requires it.

We will be sharing a lot more detail early next week, including brand and site specific information. We want everyone to be fully aware of the different working environment that you’ll be coming back to, and have some idea of where and when you’ll likely be working.

The government announcement on Monday as to when the lockdown will end will also influence the plan. I think we all hope for an earlier move to level 3, which means we can get into the phased restart as soon as possible.

Other than that, we have no challenges finishing today, but to keep you and your bubble occupied this weekend don’t forget the three challenges still running!

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#4 – Best video in lockdown - entries close midday Tuesday 21st

#5 – Words of wisdom – entries close midday Wednesday 22nd

#6 – First thing you’ll do after the lockdown - entries close midday Thursday 23rd

Noho ora mai, and have a good weekend

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

16th April 2020

Hi team,

There was some promising news today from the government, with the announcement that under safe operating plans, construction and related industries will be permitted to restart once the Health Alert is lowered to level 3.

Next week, we’ll be setting out what these safe operating plans might look like in our steel sites, and set an expectation for safety reinductions to our sites.

A few of our sites have already been operating with skeleton crews under these guidelines, respecting social distancing and adding safety procedures to mitigate any risks from working differently. One is our Auckland Profile Plate operation, which has been profiling (cutting) steel for several essential businesses including Buckley Systems, who produce components for healthcare equipment and other facilities deemed essential by several governments around the world. Thanks to all the teams working this way, what we are learning from how you’re operating will set us up well, as other sites progressively re-open.

In the hope that we might be out of level 4 soon, we will launch our last Steel lockdown challenge today – tell us, via words, a picture or a video, what you are most looking forward to doing when the lockdown is over!

We also have a couple of voucher winners from our Easter challenge – congratulations to Emma White (any leftovers??) and Garry de Silva

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#4 – Best video in lockdown - entries close midday Tuesday 21st

#5 – Words of wisdom – entries close midday Wednesday 22nd

#6 – First thing you’ll do after the lockdown - entries close midday Thursday 23rd

Good luck!

Have a good one,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

15th April 2020

Hi all,

Today we welcomed onboard Chloe Jurgens, our new Head of Finance for Fletcher Steel. It must rank as one of the oddest first days, with Chloe meeting the commercial team and Steel lead team via videoconferencing, and having to start to understand what is business as usual versus how we’ve been forced to be working due to the lockdown. Chloe brings a diverse range of experiences, working in financial, consulting and strategic areas across industries such as automotive, consumer goods and aerospace. Most recently, Chloe was Associate Director at KPMG, responsible for advisory services to a number of business clients. These experiences, along with Chloe’s systems, strategy and performance management skills will add a new dimension to our lead team whilst continuing the development of our commercial function. Great to have you in the steel game Chloe!

We have some more winners today from the ‘Foodie challenge’, as judged by the SLT. Congratulations (and $50 vouchers) go to:

Best baking prize – and great story! – Heather Longhurst

Best Expensive Restaurant Description - Mike Reeve

Variety is the Spice of Life Award - Scott Richardson and Herman Haneck

Mike Reeve

Simple fare whilst on my roster

Breakfast Pancakes: 1 banana, 2 egg only wee number
Though got the eye roll when offering up to said significant other with the following descriptive sales pitch;
 “Plated with fresh organic rasberry, coupled with a locally sourced blueberry array, then  dressed with fine authentic Canadian Maple jus........”  🙄😀👍
All about the upsell.. 😀

Heather Longhurst

Attached is a photo of my entry.  It was my Mum's 92nd Birthday on Monday so I decided to bake her a cake for her to share with caregivers and residents. 
She has been in lockdown at Grace Joel Retirement Village since before the government imposed lockdown.  I dropped the cake off to a newly created security at the entrance then went round the back and rang her from the footpath where she could see me from her 3rd floor room.
She's certainly experienced a lot in her 92 years!!
Heather 🤗

Herman Haneck

Top left: bagels. Top right: Pumpkin and bacon ravioli.
Bot left: Pastafrola (with homemade quince paste).
Bot mid: Arancini (made with peas risotto).
Bot right: Burgers with homemade buns.

Scott Richardson

Howdy team ,

Round two :
A butter chicken made from scratch
Big feed of homemade sushi for 5 ( which got inhaled by the 3 x teenagers )
My first ever chocolate cake for the kids birthday yesterday ( which got inhaled by the 3 x teenagers )
Cook needs a drink !
Cheers 

We also need to note a correction from yesterday’s winners – Corey Gilmore was the chicken coop carpenter extraordinaire – love your work Corey.

The next challenge is inspired by the distance learning lesson first held today for kids across NZ, from Suzy Cato on TV through to some challenging school activities (that challenge goes for the parents too…).

In the spirit of learning, give us your best ‘words of wisdom’. Bonus prizes if lockdown related and/or humorous.

My entry: “If you’re going through hell… keep going!”

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#3 – Easter Traditions – entries close midday Thursday 16th

#4 – Best video in lockdown - entries close midday Tuesday 21st

#5 – Words of wisdom – entries close midday Wednesday 22nd

Good luck!

Finally but importantly, I do want to acknowledge the fact that several of you may have had issues with how leave and other adjustments were applied in your recent pay. The payroll team have a massive task on their hands to process all of the changes across the business, and have every intent to achieve 100% accuracy – they’re doing a great job under the circumstances and will continue to work to correct any issues as soon as possible. I realise this is hard to take on top of the sacrifices already made, thank you for your patience and be assured we will make things right.

Noho ora mai,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

14th April 2020

Hi all,

I hope you were able to enjoy Easter weekend in some way – by the looks of some of the food challenge entries, plenty of us certainly ate well!

This week you’ll start to hear more from your lead teams around what the return to work will look like, ready for when we are told by the government when the lockdown is ending.

Please be aware that it will not be immediately ‘back to normal’ working post the level 4 lockdown being lifted. We are expecting a move to Health Alert level 3, which will still bring many restrictions to manage, from social distancing at our sites, to staff having to look after children before educational facilities reopen in full. For the first couple of weeks at least, there will likely be staggered starts among teams, working from home arrangements, and the need for flexibility in how we perform our roles in order to cope with the government guidelines and changing demand levels from our customers.

Also, we have our own operational safety risks to closely manage – there will be a full safety reinduction plan in place, and we will not be in production or operational mode for the first half day back working, as we take our time to ensure all safety measures are in place.

Through your managers, we need to hear from you about any risks you foresee in our working environments, both Covid-related or operational, to ensure we plan well and mitigate them accordingly.

Today we are excited to announce first winners from the ‘Boredom Buster’ challenge. Congratulations (and $50 vouchers) go to:

Corey Williams – even in isolation supporting other Fletcher businesses – building an amazing chicken coop using materials from PlaceMakers

Robert Ulugia – busting out some dance moves through the lockdown!

Will Newton-Hill – taking the ‘museum challenge’ with his family and recreating famous artworks

Thanks to all contributions so far, check out the great creativity across the business at https://www.fletchersteel.co.nz/page/fs-challenge/

Inspired by Robert, Tiktok, and a few suggestions, the next challenge is to submit your best lockdown video. It must be filmed by or feature you, and at some point the word ‘steel’ needs to feature (visually or verbally). Good luck!

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#2 – Foodie Challenge – entries close midday Wednesday 15th

#3 – Easter Traditions – entries close midday Thursday 16th

#4 – Best video in lockdown - entries close midday Tuesday 21st

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

9th April 2020

Hi all,

By the number of people who have forgotten tomorrow is technically a national holiday, it is clear that the days are starting to lack differentiation as we enter the third lockdown week! It will be a well-deserved day off for a couple of our Invercargill Easysteel team, who have been manufacturing stubs for the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter daily, via its status as an exempted business through the lockdown. It is nice to see at least a small trickle of revenue come through in what is otherwise a very barren sales report.

I do hope everyone has the chance to do something a little different this weekend, be it celebrating Easter in some way or taking the opportunity to follow a family tradition, even if it’s not quite the same having to keep in your ‘bubble’. For my family, we are hoping the Easter Bunny makes a visit on Sunday, and for a slightly less sweet fix will be digging out the fondue set for an old-school fun dinner. For our next steel lockdown challenge, we’d like to see a picture or story of what you are doing to celebrate Easter, whether it be a clever hiding place for a chocolate egg or a special family activity.

I have also seen several amazing-looking entries for the foodie challenge, we have some talented cooks out there! Plus, the beer-bread bake-off has got off to a good start with Heather P and Ian D’s contributions below… yum!!

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#1 – Boredom Buster – entries close midday Tuesday 14th

#2 – Foodie Challenge – entries close midday Wednesday 15th

#3 – Easter Traditions – entries close midday Thursday 16th

Ross Taylor has also provided an FB update, as below.

I wish you all an enjoyable Easter

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

Hi everyone,

As we head into the Easter break, I wanted to briefly sum up what has been an extraordinary week on a number of different levels. 

In New Zealand, there is cautious optimism as the virus numbers appear to plateau. In Australia the tightening restrictions and early action looks to have deflected the worst-case scenarios. I know it’s still early days, but it’s hard to not be buoyed by this information and that our actions are starting to pay off.  In addition, I know the thoughts of everyone are with our colleagues in the Pacific Islands this week as Cyclone Harold impacts Fiji after causing a path of destruction through the Pacific.

Only a week ago, we laid out our 12 week Bridging Pay Programme for the approximately 90% of our people who aren’t working in line with the New Zealand Government Wage Subsidy.  As one of the country’s biggest employers, we inevitably attract a lot of attention around our actions and this was no exception.  Throughout this, we’ve not been distracted and have remained clear about the guiding principles behind the decisions we’re making.  We want to support our people through the current uncertainty and provide clarity around pay so our people who are not working can plan ahead. At the same time, we need to tightly manage our financial position to ensure that our business remains resilient and in a strong position to resume operations, as when the restrictions are lifted.

I acknowledge that the process was fast and that we asked a lot of you in short time. But we needed to move quickly to make immediate decisions now to give our people certainty and to protect our business over the lockdown and the restart period that will follow.

Almost all of our New Zealand people have signed up for the Bridging Pay Programme and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has agreed to participate. I also want to reiterate again that the full Government subsidy is being passed on. 

I know that there will be people who will be doing it tough over the next few weeks depending how long the restrictions are in place.   Making sure our most affected people are supported with the help and resources they need is one of our key priorities.

With this in mind, this week we announced additional FB funding for the Employee Welfare Fund (EWF) for those in need as a result of COVID-19.  We’ve set-out the criteria and application process which can be found on the COVID-19 Support Hub app and Matrix. Any financial support or funding approved through the EWF does not have to be paid back and all applications are treated with the utmost privacy.  If you need help and support, don’t hesitate to reach out to the EWF.

There is a wealth of information, news and tools now available on the COVID-19 Support Hub app that we recently launched.  During this crisis it’s become a primary communication channel for us, particularly for those who don’t have direct access to work emails or Matrix.  As of today, just over half of our people have downloaded the app.  But with your help we can get this information into the hands of every FB person. You can simply text the information below to your people and encourage them to sign-up, if they haven’t already.

Apple - https://apps.apple.com/tt/app/appranet/id1316765069 

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.puttiapps.appranet 

New Zealand login:

Username: fbnzsupport@fbu.com

Password: Fletcher1  

Another recent app update provides payroll dates and estimations so you have a guide of your April pay whether you’re on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay cycle.  Because people are paid in different ways, it’s important to understand how and when the different phases of the Bridging Pay Programme will impact your next pay and beyond. We want to give everyone as much certainty as possible, so you can plan your own finances accordingly. You can also find information on the app about how to reduce your outgoings over this period, including pausing FBuShare, Kiwisaver, Southern Cross and mortgage payments.

Ahead of the long weekend, I understand that the days themselves might not feel too different, but I’d encourage all of you to check-in with friends, families and colleagues.  Technology provides us with a range of options to reach out to people, wherever they are.  We know there will be many people struggling with all the uncertainty, whether that’s financial worries or broader wellbeing issues.  It’s important to remember firstly that it’s ok not to be ok; it’s completely normal, but we do need to talk to each other so we can help each other.  I personally find the easiest way to start is just to ask someone how they are.  If you or someone in your team or a workmate needs help, but you’re not sure what to do, there are some useful tools and resources available to you.  Once again, the Hub is the place to go to find this information including details of our EAP service. 

Finally, I’d like to thank all those who’ve been working tirelessly to build and develop our support measures. We’ve seen a new app developed and regularly updated, e-Text, and our payroll and P&P teams managing a very complex and fluid situation.  Through all of this work I’ve seen a genuine care and a focus on our people which is so heartening and what Fletcher Building is all about. 

Please make the most of the long-weekend wherever you are spending it and I will be in touch next week.

Take care

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building Limited

8th April 2020

Hi all,

Thanks for the positive early response to our first lockdown challenge launched yesterday – already we have a range of entries for the ‘best boredom buster’ contest, from some entertaining memes to some astonishing craftwork, not to mention the odd video-conferencing screenshot of staff members in rather entertaining poses…

My entry is below, amazing what fun some old bits of timber can be for kids, this version being ‘don’t fall into the lava’.

The next challenge opening today is a foodie challenge – send us a picture or description of the best dish or meal you have made during the lockdown. There will be a bonus prize for best baked good – I am certainly missing my local bakery, and a couple of the Easysteel team have sent me recipes for beer bread, so I’m looking forward to seeing the entries from Kev & Ken!

By the way, please try to title your entry as per the contest name (makes it easier for the hardworking organisers), and let us know if for any reason you would rather not have your entry shared beyond the judges. It would be great to share a little of what’s happening around the Fletcher Steel world.

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz :

#1 – Boredom Buster – entries close midday Tuesday 14th

#2 – Foodie Challenge – entries close midday Wednesday 15th

On a more serious note, thanks for your understanding as we go about implementing the bridging pay program. We realise the process to top up your pay using leave is complex and has been rushed this week – be assured we will sort out any issues if what you requested didn’t come through for any reason.

For several of you, there will be requests for work to be done from home, from time to time over the lockdown. However it is very important to us that the portion of your normal working day that is now unpaid, is free for you to look after yourself and those in your bubble, and follow personal pursuits. We do appreciate the many people who are volunteering and asking for work to do at home whilst on the bridging pay program, but please keep the previous point in mind and ensure the balance is fair. Much of the work will help prepare us for success when we do return to our normal working days, so I trust this effort will pay off in the longer term!

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

7th April 2020

Hi all,

The country received some good news on the Covid-19 front today, with the smallest number of new cases since the lockdown began. Let’s all hope this continues and ensures the lockdown ends as soon as possible!

We are continuing to supply essential services from various branches around the country. Today Fletcher Wire operated with a skeleton crew to produce and dispatch products to a number of rural merchants, who supply goods to farming and horticultural businesses. This rural sector is currently the lifeblood of the country, providing us food and export receipts, and it’s great to be able to support as best we can, safely. Thanks to all the team members who are going outside their ‘bubble’ to work on essential supply.

To try to liven up things for all housebound steelies, we have come up with a few challenges that may inspire some competition and creativity.

For each challenge, you’ll have a week to submit your entry or contribution to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz – the Senior Leadership Team will be awarding some vouchers for the best entries.. and those that made us laugh!

We’ll start off simply for the first challenge – send us a picture of your best ‘boredom buster’ so far during the lockdown. Hopefully we will have no self-incriminating pictures of people at the beach…

Entries to hello@fletchersteel.co.nz by midday Tuesday 14th April, we’ll announce winners that evening.

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

6th April 2020 - #1

Hi all,

Below is an update from CEO Ross Taylor regarding the pay arrangement, including a response to some of the feedback we’ve received. For Fletcher Steel, we have received 96% acceptance to the pay arrangement; I realise what a huge sacrifice everyone is making so sincerely appreciate the attitude and supportive comments from so many people across the business.

Managers – please ensure you keep in touch with your teams regularly over the lockdown, and check on access to these messages, the update website, and the Fletcher app (access details as follows)

To access the App, download ‘Appranet’ to your mobile phone:

Log in details:

Username Email: fbnzsupport@fbu.com
Password: Fletcher1

Noho ora mai,

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel



Hi everyone,

I hope that you and your families are all keeping well and safe.  I want to thank once again those people who are still out there providing essential services to the community.

As you know, over 9,000 people in our New Zealand team cannot currently work due to the Government’s COVID-19 restrictions.  Almost all of Fletcher Building’s operations in New Zealand are shut down, and this is obviously having a significant impact on our business.  

Our New Zealand Bridging Pay Programme has been designed to help support those people not working, and also to help the business while it has no income through these uncertain times. I want to thank all of you who were involved in the consultation last week. We had to move quickly to provide some certainty, so people could plan ahead over the coming 12 weeks. 

We had an overwhelming response to the consultation.  Around 93% have elected to take up the Bridging Pay Programme (the programme only applies to people not working).  That’s more than 8,600 team members who have agreed. Thank you.

Over the weekend, our Executive team have gone through your feedback again. It was genuine, with messages of support for the scheme and I’m pleased to say that everyone showed concern for their colleagues.

There were three main themes from the feedback:

  • Our people asked that we watch out for those that might find themselves facing genuine hardship through the lockdown and the eventual ramp-up of our businesses. To assist with this, Fletcher Building will provide additional funding to the Employee Welfare Fund so the Fund has greater capacity to support financial hardship, for those of our people in New Zealand who need it most.  We will send details to you this week, so you can understand the application criteria and how to apply.  My thanks to the EWF for their support of our people during this difficult time, it is sincerely appreciated.
  • We were also asked to reconsider the pay cut for our working Executive Team continuing through the lockdown and ramp up period, which includes myself and 11 other senior leaders.  Your feedback was that you thought we could have gone further than the 15% proposed. We have listened and we will be extending that to 30% through this 12-week period. This also applies to our Board of Directors. 
  • Some people thought the process was rushed. This is understandable, but the reality is that we had to move quickly. We need to make immediate decisions now to give our people certainty and to protect our business over the lockdown and the restart period that will follow. In the coming week, we will work with the small number of people who did not sign-up to the programme, on a way forward.

We will continue to review our approach as the situation evolves.

I know I speak on behalf of the Executive, and the Board, when I say thank you for your flexibility and support. We have a long history as a company that has overcome challenging times, and I am confident we will again.

Take care, and I will be in touch again soon.

Best regards,

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building

3rd April 2020

Hi all,

Whilst not a typical Friday, I hope most of you are able to ‘wind down’ in some way with the weekend not far away. This afternoon the SLT caught up for a more casual chat – all via teleconference! – to farewell Russell Turner, our Head of Finance. Russell has kindly & voluntarily worked beyond his official last day to help us with the huge number of new tasks we have had to undertake given the lockdown’s impact on the business. Russell will be hugely missed by Fletcher Steel, with his clever wit and ability to focus through to the essence of a problem having been particularly appreciated over the difficult last couple of weeks. Thank you Russell, and all the very best for your next challenge!

We have largely concluded the pay arrangement rollout, with Fletcher Building submitting all acceptances to the government this afternoon to secure the subsidy that we will be passing to you on as per their guidelines, along with the Fletcher contribution. Again thank you for your overwhelming reaction to this arrangement. Our CEO Ross Taylor offers a little more around what this means to us in his note below.

We are continuing to supply essential services, with New Plymouth Easysteel providing product to fix an oil rig breakdown, and Fletcher Wire Products dispatching product to rural merchants who are supporting the essential farming sector. Thank you to all those venturing away from home to keep these critical services running.

Many of you have been able to access the Fletcher Building app – this is a good source of information, including advice around how to use your annual and long service leave to top up your pay over this period. Please note Fletcher Steel falls under the ‘building products’ area for some of the contact information provided.

I wish you all an enjoyable weekend

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel


Hi everyone,

As the first week of New Zealand’s lockdown comes to an end, and Australia continues to roll-out tighter restrictions, millions of us are managing the new reality of staying at home.  I’m very thankful for the technology we have available today that allows us all to connect and when we need it, be distracted. 

As we round off the week, I’d firstly like to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the past 10 days to prepare our business in New Zealand for the lockdown, whether that’s shutting down our sites or helping develop the Bridging Pay Programme which we announced this week.  I know a lot of people have been working long hours for many days straight, so I encourage those involved to take some much-needed time off this weekend to recharge.

We launched the Bridging Pay Programme in a necessarily short timeframe and I’d also like to add my thanks to the many thousands of you who have responded positively to the proposal. I’ve had an opportunity to read many of the comments from our people across New Zealand and it’s clear that most people understand the situation we are in.  Many people also took the time to voice their support for what we are trying to achieve, particularly around providing as much certainty as we can around pay over the coming 12 weeks.

As a business, our options become increasingly limited with almost no revenue for a yet undetermined period. It’s important for us to strike the right balance of supporting our people, while ensuring we have a strong business to resume operations once the lockdown finishes and the ramp-up process gets underway. So, I do want to recognise the flexibility everyone has demonstrated and acknowledge the way people are adapting to the new environment we find ourselves in.

Based on some of the themes in the feedback we have received, I wanted to clarify a few key points relating to the Bridging Pay Programme.

  • The first point is that people who are not working will receive no less than 80% of their pay (not including allowances) across the first four-week period starting 26 March. Pay is then graduated downwards over the 12-week period so people can plan ahead. People also have the option of using annual leave to top-up pay.
  • Secondly, the government wage subsidy is being passed on in full and will be included in everyone’s pay.  Importantly, no one will fall below the wage subsidy amounts during the 12-week period unless they already earn less than this amount. If someone’s normal pay is less than the wage subsidy amount, they will continue to receive their normal pay over the 12-week subsidy period. 
  • And thirdly, everyone still working over the lockdown, (apart from senior executives) working their normal hours will continue to receive 100% of their normal base pay. Senior executives working over the period will receive a 15% pay cut through the 12-week period and executives not working will be on the Bridging Pay Programme along with everyone else.

Based on the response we have received, we will be moving ahead with the proposal and implementing the Bridging Pay Programme over the next 12-week lockdown and ramp up period. We will revisit this if anything changes.

All those in lockdown or working from home will have received a lot of information this week and this is likely to continue. To address this, we launched a new COVID-19 Support Hub app in New Zealand, to make everything available to as many people in our business as possible.  The Hub also connects you to a broad range of support tools and services, as well as regularly updated information to help us all get through the weeks ahead. The Australian version of the app will be launched next week.

It’s also important to remind ourselves why we are doing this. We are uniting together by staying at home to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Most of us would only experience mild symptoms but the older people in our community and those with pre-existing conditions could have a more severe reaction and this could lead to critical health issues. If the virus went unchecked our hospitals and hospital staff would be overrun and those people who are most at risk wouldn’t get the health response they need. This we all now know, is flattening the curve. Individually, it can be challenging but collectively if we do the right thing, we are making a difference.

I want to thank you all again for everything you’re doing to support us through this challenging period. I will be in touch again soon but in the meantime, please continue to look after yourselves and your friends and families.

Best regards,

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building

2nd April 2020 - #2

Hi all,

Firstly thanks again for your fast consideration and replies to the proposed pay arrangement. I realise this was very challenging to accept for everyone, but on the upside we have some certainty for lockdown, unlike many businesses in New Zealand.

Personally my two favourite media sources, Radio Sport and the NZ Listener magazine, have closed permanently this week. The economic impact on the country of COVID-19 is certainly hitting home and I am pleased we have been able to offer at least a level of confidence, across Fletcher Building.

Another benefit of being part of a large business like Fletcher Building is access to support services through this tough time. One is an app launched today to provide all workers (wired and non-wired) with a single site for key information – the COVID-19 Support Hub (HUB). This will be increasingly important source of consistent information and updates as we move through the next few weeks. There are helpful tips on maintaining emotional and physical wellbeing, and also a link to EAP services.

To access the App, download ‘Appranet’ to your mobile phone:

Apple - https://apps.apple.com/tt/app/appranet/id1316765069

Android - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.puttiapps.appranet

New Zealand Log in details are below.  

Username Email: fbnzsupport@fbu.com

Password: Fletcher1

Please let us know if you have any issues downloading the app, or accessing the services it offers.

Kind regards to you all

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

2nd April 2020 - #1

Hi all,

Thank you for your consideration and understanding of the pay arrangement communicated yesterday. We have already received have agreement responses from over 50% of our 800 staff which is great progress.

As noted, your response by 5pm today is important for Fletcher Building to secure the government subsidy that contributes significantly to the arrangement. Please let your SLT manager know if there are any outstanding questions you would like answered.

I’ll be in touch again tonight with a longer daily update.

Kind regards

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

1st April 2020

Hi team,

We have just been provided the details of pay arrangements across Fletcher Building for beyond this Friday 3rd April. Please read through the information from our CEO Ross Taylor below and the proposal letter. Your manager has been provided information to assist with some of the questions you may have, but please be aware this information is also new to your managers. The SLT will be available through the next two days for any additional questions or clarification required.

The main points are:

  • After you come off your special leave (which for most people is after Friday 3rd April) your pay will be reduced to 65% of your base rate, until Wednesday 22nd April.
  • If you are not back to working as normal by Thursday 23rd April, your pay will be reduced to 50% of your base rate until 20th May; then to 30% of your base rate until 17th June.
  • Your base rate is your base salary, or for waged employees your base hourly rate x contracted hours per week.

It is important we receive confirmation of this arrangement from every employee, ideally via email or text, by 5pm Thursday. This is critical so we can confirm the government subsidy portion of the financial support to enable this arrangement.

I know this will have a major impact on all of you, on top of the stresses already caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. But I have huge faith in the Fletcher Steel business and our wonderful people – know we are doing everything we can to prepare for getting people back and working, in what will be a different environment post-lockdown.

Kia kaha

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel



Hi everyone,

Last Friday I committed to providing you with more details around how we will be managing our business through the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In New Zealand, which is where 90% of our profits are generated, we are now having to make decisions on how to manage our business in an environment with largely no production, no sales and therefore no income, for a yet undetermined period.

In Australia, revenues have been impacted but at this stage, we are able to continue to trade. Across the South Pacific, some countries have introduced lock downs, while others continue to allow businesses to continue to trade.

As we make decisions on how we best deal with these realities, we are adopting several guiding principles:

  • Doing our best to support our people through this.
  • Providing as much clarity around pay and working arrangements into the future as we can so people who can no longer work are able to plan their own finances as best as possible; and
  • Managing the Company’s financial position to ensure that our business remains resilient and in a strong position to resume operations as and when the restrictions are lifted. 

As part of our actions to date, we have made several significant moves to preserve our cash levels, including cancelling our FY20 interim dividend and our on-market share buyback program, as well as substantially reducing costs and capital expenditure. Despite these actions, we are simply not able to continue to pay all our New Zealand people who are unable to work at 100% of their normal pay over the lockdown period and the inevitable restart period after this.  

IN NEW ZEALAND

At this stage, the Government has announced a 4-week lockdown from the 26th of March. It has also advised it will make progressive announcements around how long this will go on for.

To support affected businesses and employees through this, the Government has a put in place a 12-week wage subsidy programme. Pleasingly, we have been able to confirm we can access the wage subsidy programme as a contribution to the total support package we have created for our New Zealand people.

As the Government initiative is a 12-week programme, we have aligned our approach to this period. We felt this also provided a level of certainty for everyone so each of you could plan the next 12 weeks as best as possible. Below I provide a summary of our proposed approach to our people not working during the lockdown period and note that all the pay levels outlined include the Government subsidies.

For our people not working over the lockdown period

Weeks 1 to 4

  • From Thursday 26 March until the end of your special paid leave you will receive full pay.
  • After this you will receive 65% of your base pay up to the end of week four.
  • Over the full 4 weeks, this will average out at 80% of base pay.

Weeks 5 to 8 - You will receive 50% of your base pay.

Weeks 9 to 12 – You will receive 30% of your base pay.

If you have accrued or entitled annual leave, long service or other entitled leave available, you have the option of using this through the lockdown period to top up to 100% pay.  

For those people who are not working, we are proposing you move to the Bridging Pay Programme. Shortly you will receive a communication from your Divisional Chief Executive or P&P team.  This will provide more context on what we are proposing and outline the timeframes and decisions we need from you.  It will also provide the contact details you can use to respond to this proposal and who to talk to if you have any questions. We also recognise that everyone has unique circumstances and to that end, we have set up several places where you both find information, ask questions, and seek assistance.

We will review the Bridging Pay Programme should circumstances change.

If you are required to work during the lockdown (as essential services or support)

If you have been notified by your manager that you are required to work during part of or all of the lockdown period, you will receive your normal pay. If you are required to work part time and agree to do so, your pay will be pro-rated.

Senior executives

Our senior executives understand the important leadership role they play in supporting our people, our business and our critical drive to limit costs. To this end, as a senior leadership group, we have agreed to implement a temporary 15% pay cut through the 12-week period.  This group includes Directors, myself, the Executive Team, General Managers and most people reporting directly into a CE.

How long will this scenario last?

Currently the Government has indicated that the initial lockdown will be in effect for several weeks. The next stage could be either a reduction in the Alert Level, or it could be a continuation of the lockdown.

IN AUSTRALIA

In Australia, our businesses continue to trade, and all currently remain open. We are experiencing some drop off in volumes in areas, but we will deal with any issues locally rather than take any overall Australian position at this stage.  We will continue to monitor Government announcements closely and  advise you should either the market deteriorate rapidly, or the Government change its response.

IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

Like everywhere else, our people in the South Pacific are dealing with enormous disruption and uncertainty. Our thoughts are with all our people across the region. As Fletcher Construction is the only operating business in the South Pacific, our teams and people in this region will get updates specific to them through Fletcher Construction directly.

This being an evolving situation, it means what we do will necessarily change as circumstances and the Government’s response changes. To ensure you stay fully informed on what we are planning, we will continue to communicate with you regularly. We are setting up a new resource, a COVID-19 Support Hub App, where we can all continue to connect and keep informed as part of the Fletcher Building team, despite the restrictions in play. You can expect to receive more details on how to access this from your CEs.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding and I hope you and all your family and friends stay safe as the world works its way through a very challenging period.

I will be in touch again soon.

Best regards,

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Officer | Fletcher Building Limited

31st March 2020 - Fletcher Steel March Update

Hi all,

With all that is going on, it’s easy to forget that back in February we were operating pretty much as normal and making some good progress around our four pillars or focus areas!

It’s important we keep some routine going, so below is a brief update from around the business, ‘Pre-Covid-19’ style.

SAFETY

  • We are very close to launching the Protect plan for steel, which covers off the major activities and training requirements as we continue to improve our safety performance. Look out for a video from me, a clear timeline, and a poster that incorporates feedback from around the country which shows what safety really means to the teams at Fletcher Steel.
  • I was invited to speak at the Bluescope (our biggest supplier who owns NZ Steel) safety conference which this year was held at their Glenbrook site. In front of a range of their global staff, local customers and government stakeholders I talked about the devastating journey that Fletcher Steel had been through, and how we are working to come out of it with a better safety culture. The presentation fitted well amongst a range of more theory-based speakers and topics, and I hope what we have learnt in the hardest way, can benefit other businesses without the same tragic motivation.

 

PEOPLE

  • Our marketing & innovation manager, Scott Morrison, was awarded the ‘Leading Metalhead’ award at the HERA steel industry awards night. This fantastic accolade is only given once every 3 years, and recognises Scott’s strong contribution to sustainability leadership across the New Zealand metals industry, including the development of environmental standards for PCC and Dimond. Well done Scott!
  • I was honoured to attend a lunch to celebrate Irwin King’s 40 years of service at Easysteel Christchurch. Whilst there was a lot of experience around the table, Irwin’s service certainly stands out, and it was inspiring to hear how much Irwin valued learning new things, even in an area of mastery like our BPCS system! Congratulations Irwin on a marvellous achievement.
  • You may have seen some articles on Matrix about Fletcher Buildings relaunched values – we’ll be launching these officially around steel in a few months’ time, with the new value ‘Protect’ fitting in well with our work on both safety and environmental sustainability.


SERVICE

  • The results are in from our Innovation Challenge, and we are ecstatic with the number and quality of ideas from all over the business. Thank you for your enthusiasm and contribution! We are now working on clustering the ideas into themes and will be sharing our next steps soon; already we can see some ideas we can invest in immediately.
  • Work has begun in earnest on our new, purpose-built Wellington site, to house our Easysteel and Dimond businesses. The building design will make the operation both safer and more efficient, and help continue the excellent revenue growth we are achieving in the region.


BUSINESS RESULTS

  • February profit for steel was 89% of forecast. Fletcher Reinforcing continued a solid run of results, with some long-term windfarm projects kicking off to accompany roading and America’s Cup base work.
  • The roofing market continued to be slow through February, with some signs of improvement in the last week. The lower volumes have meant we have had to manage our shift patterns tightly. Meanwhile we are continuing to work on new products and improvements to introduce to the market and target share gain.
  • The manufacturing market continues to perform well for Easysteel, with new customers secured for flat roll product.

 

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

30th March 2020

Hi all,

I hope the last few days has treated everyone okay – whilst it was the weekend, it didn’t really feel like it with so many of our usual routines and choices unavailable to us.

Next weekend we’ll kick off a few competitions to spice things up around the Fletcher Steel family… ideas welcome!

Today around the business, there was more servicing of essential customers, a notable example being Wellington Dimond, who opened up to run roofing materials for the NZ Defence Force who are recommissioning a field hospital.

We also received confirmation that we will be communicated the next stage of pay arrangements this Wednesday. Again, thank you for your patience for this critical information; it is important the details are right and that the arrangement complies with all of the varied employment contracts and situations around Fletcher Building.

Also, thank you to those who are continuing to work from home, take on training, offer customer assistance and plan projects whilst on special leave. This will set us up well to hit the ground running when the lockdown ends!

Have a good one

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

27th March 2020

Hi all,

Tonight brings to an end a completely surreal week – I doubt any of us on Monday morning could have imagined what was in store for us over the last few days.

Looking back just those few days, all of our businesses were tracking well, including Easysteel being on target for an all-time record sales month. Unfortunately that record won’t be broken now, but I am hopeful that the momentum we carried into the lockdown won’t be entirely lost, and we can come out the other side ready to make the most of all of our opportunities.

Of the many things I’m proud of from this week, one is the new process we have created to safely supply steel to essential services still operating around New Zealand.

Over the coming weeks I’ll tell you a little more about the various ways we are helping customers around the country to either tackle Covid-19 or keep these critical services going strong. Today, we supplied structural steel to Smart Shelters, an Auckland customer who are urgently creating temporary structures to house drive-through Covid-19 testing shelters. We also supplied some special steels for emergency repairs at the Chelsea sugar mill on the North Shore. Big ups to the teams who made this happen at very short notice today!

We have also received a note from Fletcher Building CEO Ross Taylor, with a little more detail around why we need to wait until next week for more detail on pay arrangements beyond next week:


COVID-19 Update – 27 March

Hi everyone,

I wanted to update you all on our urgent response to COVID-19, the actions we’re putting in place in New Zealand and how we’re planning for what’s ahead of us. Like many people, I’m working from home and in isolation with my family. I’ve had a crash course in Microsoft Teams, (which is video conferencing) so I’m in constant contact with people from right across our business. 

Words like ‘unprecedented’ have already lost their steam and we find ourselves in a situation none of us have faced before. That said, we can be encouraged by how many nations are responding to the challenge and putting the health of at-risk people above all else. And while the adjustments we are making to our day-to-day lives are inconvenient, it’s worth it. Our actions today have the potential to save lives, and nothing is more important.   

I also want to talk up front about job security and pay as I know this is the single topic you want to hear from me about. We have now closed all but ‘essential’ operations in New Zealand and it’s possible Australia could introduce full or partial shutdowns soon. We now need to assess the magnitude of this, plan for multiple scenarios and have discussions with Government on both sides of the Tasman.

Our main focus at the moment is around planning ahead in phases. When the lockdown was first announced, as part of the first phase we wanted to provide immediate certainty for everyone and we therefore announced that special leave (normal weekly pay) would apply for all people not required to work until Friday 3 April. 

Beyond this, we are now entirely focused on providing you with additional certainty for the next phase, which we have defined as the next 12 week period.  This will allow you to plan for the longer term. So, for now, I ask for your patience.  Further ahead, it is difficult to anticipate exactly how things will evolve but we will continue to develop plans as the situation evolves.

The NZ Government has an essential role to play in this planning and they continue to talk about their commitment to supporting businesses and workers. We are actively engaging with them around what this means for Fletcher Building.  We have also been listening to feedback from our people and one of the common questions is around whether we have applied for the current wage subsidy offered by the NZ Government. I felt it was important that we address this question specifically. 

The message from the NZ Government to date is that the scheme is primarily designed for small to medium size enterprises which make up the majority of businesses in New Zealand. There are some conditions which make it difficult for us to apply for the subsidy in its current format. As an acknowledgement of the key role we play in the economy, the NZ Government does however want to engage with large businesses like us directly about our specific requirements.  The significant costs that an organisation of our size continues to incur, particularly wages and salaries, means that we require a tailored solution to manage our business through the lockdown.   We will be submitting an application for the wage subsidy at a Group level once we have finalised the details with the Government.

I want to reassure you that we are working on finalising these details as soon as we possibly can.  I’m hopeful we will have a view around next steps by the middle of next week and we will be aggressively working towards this timeframe.

That’s the state of play in this fast-moving scenario and I will keep you updated as we move though this unique and challenging period.  We are fortunate to be in a good position, have a fantastic team of people and have responded very quickly. I’m certain we can get through this. 

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the incredible job done around supporting the shutdown of our sites and facilities across New Zealand at short notice.  Putting something of this scale into place has required a heroic effort from so many people and all your hard work is greatly appreciated.

You can expect to hear from me again next week as soon as we have our people plan in place. For now, look after yourselves and those around you, follow the rules, stay healthy and be kind along the way. It is particularly important that we look after our mental wellbeing during times like this. You can find some helpful guidance and sources of support in the latest Health Alert.

If you have any questions regarding our plans for managing COVID-19 please don’t hesitate to speak to your manager, and remember assistance is available through the EAP Helpline. You can also forward any questions to our dedicated email address - fbhealth@fbu.com

Kind regards

Ross Taylor
CEO Flether Building


Thank you again for your amazing work over the last few days, through an array of challenges whilst balancing your home commitments – I wish you all a good weekend!


Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

26th March 2020

Hi all,

I hope that your first full day on lockdown has gone okay. If like me you managed to get out for a quick walk, I imagine you also found your suburb eerily quiet - for Auckland it was certainly quite different!

Around Fletcher Steel, a few sites supplied cover stock this morning to several essential services, and we continued to plan for taking imported stock off the wharfs, where it would otherwise be blocking critical items for households through the lockdown.

CEO Ross Taylor ran a conference call with all of the General Managers, and confirmed the middle of next week as likely timing for the next announcement on the pay situation beyond Friday 3rd April. Fletcher Building, along with several other of NZ’s biggest employers, are working closely with the government to understand what base support we will be receiving. With virtually no sales across the business for the next four weeks at least, it is understandable that this support will be required to ensure the ongoing viability of any pay arrangements.

We have put together a wellbeing toolkit here that outlines some other support, plus has some ideas for making your time in lockdown a little more bearable! As well as the other useful information, the staff update web page also has a chat function so feel free to use this to ask any questions.

During this time it’s really important that we can communicate to every employee in the business. We are currently setting up a text messaging system so that we can send out updates and key messages to every employee. We‘re always conscious of respecting privacy – for those with work issued phones we will be using that number. For those employees who do not have a work issued phone we will be using the home number entered into WorkDay. Your manager may need to check these details with you.  I just want to ensure everyone that  access to this  data is controlled and that we are only using it for this purpose. Your number won’t be visible to others, nor will you be able to see other numbers. Let me know if you have any concerns on this. Given the seriousness of what we are all going through, the pace at which events are unfolding and the need to communicate  and provide updates quickly, it is important that we access tools like this to keep the communications going.

Kia kaha, stay strong through the lockdown

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

25th March 2020

Hi all,

Throughout the day we have finished closing all of our sites, and all of your thoughts should now have turned to ensuring you and your families are together and prepared for the weeks ahead.

For each and every one of us this has been a very stressful week in a multitude of ways – yet without exception there has been a calm and focused approach to working through all that has been asked of us. On behalf of the divisional team and the Fletcher Steel lead team, a huge thank you. I am immensely proud of how every team has responded to this challenge.

For those of you still working hard from home this week, special thanks for balancing this alongside your home commitments. Your contribution over the next few days is very important to set us up for the various scenarios and requests we may get through the lock down, and ensuring we are set to launch back into operation successfully when we get the green light.

With regards to planning for ‘essential service’ supply, we are working with several key providers in the health equipment and utility sectors. As expected as the reality of the lock down has set in, the list is relatively short and we will have a limited number of facilities with strong safety processes in place to service these customers in the best interests of New Zealand.

I realise there is a lot of uncertainty around what is happening with regards to pay after Friday 3rd April. As soon as any more information comes to hand, we will be in touch via email and directly. At this stage we are hopeful that the government will increase its support to business, which will underpin what any arrangements will look like.

Again thank you for your massive contributions this week, and all the very best as we head into the lock down.

I’ll be keeping up my daily emails and they will also appear at https://www.fletchersteel.co.nz/page/staff-updates/

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

24th March 2020 - #2

Hi team,

We have just received confirmation of working arrangements for the next week, as the nation moves into lock down. Thank you for your patience in receiving this information, which is also being shared verbally via the SLT to managers throughout the business – I realise this has weighed heavily on all of our minds.

I’ll summarise the key points, followed by Ross Taylor’s full announcement at the bottom of this email, which has more detail and will also be available on Matrix.

  • We are considered a ‘non-essential’ business and as such reiterate our full closure through the level 4 health alert.
  • Special leave, which is equal to your normal weekly pay, will be available to all staff until Friday 3rd April.
  • The government is working on a greater support package for all businesses, and we are waiting for this before we announce what support beyond that date will be. We hope to communicate that early next week.

This is a very good initial outcome for us, and we will be working to get more clarity around future support quickly. I’ll be keeping you informed of any updates daily.

In addition, a few more important points to note before you transition to work-at-home (this week only) and/or special leave:

  • No one should be coming back into work after Wednesday, unless requested from an SLT manager.
  • We do have a very limited number of government-approved ‘essential’ businesses and projects that we may be required to supply from time to time over the lockdown period. We have plans in place to service these. Any such activities must be approved by the SLT, and have appropriate safety measures (both operational and Covid-19 related) in place.
  • We have set up a website as another form of communication to non-wired staff, please check this regularly for updates: https://www.fletchersteel.co.nz/page/staff-updates/

Thanks again for your commitment through very changeable and unsettling circumstances – for me at least one of the strangest couple of days I have experienced.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel




Email from Ross, Fletcher Building CEO, follows:

Yesterday the New Zealand Government confirmed that we are moving into Health Alert level four on Wednesday.  This means people will have to stay at home and self-isolate, schools will close and all businesses, except those deemed essential will shut. The Prime Minister has indicated that this period will last for at least four weeks.  As you can understand, this move will have far reaching implications but is absolutely necessary in order to limit the spread of the virus in the community. 

While what we do at Fletcher Building is hugely valuable in building our communities, we aren’t considered an essential service such as hospitals and supermarkets and are therefore being instructed to close our doors.  We need to plan for a range of possible outcomes ranging from a timely resolution, to an extended period where many of our businesses are unable to operate.

In practice, this means we now need to manage our business in an environment with no production, no sales and therefore no money coming in at least four weeks.

As these events are moving quickly, we have decided the best approach is to make decisions in stages, as this allows us to provide immediate certainty for everyone. We can then then understand how things are evolving once we get more information from the Government before taking the next steps.

Our approach for the coming week across our New Zealand businesses will be as follows:

  1. Once you stop work due to the shutdown, special leave will apply until Friday 3 of April.
  2. If you are currently working from home, this will finish at COB Friday 27 March. Special leave will then apply until Friday 3 April.
  3. Divisional leaders will advise any people who are specifically exempted from this and who are required to work beyond Friday. These exceptions will be by CE approval.
  4. Special leave is available regardless of whether you have previously taken special leave for medically instructed self-isolation. 

While the Government has indicated an intent to help businesses with their people costs through this period, the details as yet remain unclear. We will be waiting for more clarity from the Government to understand these schemes and once we do, we will advise everyone accordingly. Please be assured that there is a large amount of work going on across the business to navigate our way through this very challenging period and we will make any decisions with the well being of our people and the long-term resilience of our businesses as key priorities.

We will be providing regular updates as we work through next steps and as the situation evolves. As such, it is critical that your manager is able to contact you away from work so please ensure they have your mobile phone number.  We will also be making some enhancements to our website so our people who do not have access to the office network and intranet can stay in touch with news and announcements. 

If you have any queries regarding our plans for managing COVID-19 please do not hesitate to speak to your manager, and remember assistance is available through the EAP Helpline. You can also forward any questions to a dedicated email address - fbhealth@fbu.com.

In the meantime, please focus on looking after your own well being and caring for your loved ones, particularly the elderly and vulnerable as the New Zealanders pull together to eradicate COVID-19.

Kind regards,

Ross Taylor
Chief Executive Office | Fletcher Building


24th March 2020 - #1

Hi team,

Just a quick update on how things are going around the business today.

  • Most of our sites are completing customer orders and will be fully shut by this afternoon.
  • A few sites are completing critical supplies to essential services today and tomorrow morning. We are planning for how to supply essential services as needed whilst the nation is at alert level 4 lock down.
  • We will be releasing a communication about our close down to all customers this afternoon
  • In most cases work from home processes are going well. Customer services teams will be important to keep up comms with customers over the next few days, while the supply and commercial teams are updating forecasts.
  • We have had some email issues and there is major load on phone networks nationally, both are being worked through
  • We are expecting communication regarding work arrangements and by mid-afternoon. This is a very complex situation across Fletcher Building and teams have been working all night to ensure we have a clear picture of what this will look like, for all staff.

Thanks again for working safely and maturely through this situation! It is a real accolade to the combined strength and culture of our business.

Noho or mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

23rd March 2020 - #3

Hi all,

We now have a little more clarity on the immediate impact of the government’s announcement this afternoon, that we are immediately shifting into Health Alert level three and then into level four 48 hours later. Once the country is at level four, people will be instructed to stay at home and self-isolate, schools will close and a range of businesses will be impacted apart from those providing ‘essential services’, for a period currently indicated at around four weeks. 

This move will clearly have far reaching implications but is absolutely necessary in order to limit the spread of the virus in the community. 

This escalation is considerably faster than we had expected, and as such the actions for us below are quite different from what was communicated on Sunday. Please read through, and inform your manager of any questions so we can collate and respond across the business as best possible.

Site close downs on Tuesday 24th March

At this point, we understand that nearly all of our operations do not qualify as ‘essential services’. As such, we need to shut down our sites to ensure all staff can move to self-isolation from Wednesday.

  • Safely work through your shutdown plans and only complete customer orders as advised by your lead teams. For some sites, we are stopping deliveries immediately to enable a safe closedown period.
  • All new incoming customer enquiries must be informed that we cannot commit to any delivery dates. We will update customers if the situation changes.
  • This situation is evolving, and we will update you if things change over the next few days.

‘Essential servicing’ and import receipt planning for key sites

It is possible some sites (most likely Easysteel) will be requested by the government to provide product for essential services usage (eg healthcare manufacturing, food production facilities). Also, in PCC and Easysteel we are expecting import shipments that will need clearing from ports. We will need to plan for trained staff to safely perform these tasks as needed, in a largely closed environment.

  • Your SLT managers will be in touch if this is relevant for your operation
  • Please be aware that we may be called in to reactivate certain sites at short notice – again, remember this must be done safely and by trained staff.

Working from home

For roles that can operate from home, please move to this mode from Wednesday at the latest. Note that small number of you may be required to assist with shutdown and managing operations through Tuesday.

  • You are permitted to take any work equipment home with you to perform your role, until we are at least back to alert level 1 nationally.
  • To help people work from home, all broadband providers in NZ have now opened their services to an unlimited setting at no additional cost.
  • If you have trouble working from home due to technical issues, talk to your managers or email Abhinabh, our head of IT Abhinabh.Duffadar@fbu.com
  • Please note, if we are not trading and operating as normal, we will be advised by Fletcher Building as to how long working from home is considered feasible and effective.

Working arrangements & pay

I realise this is top of mind for most of us. Many roles cannot work from home, and as per the point above, working from home arrangements will have a limited time span if we are not
trading at usual levels.

  • Fletcher Building’s CEO, Ross Taylor, will be communicating what support we can offer staff through the coming period by tomorrow afternoon
  • The SLT and I will be in touch with you after that to clarify further and answer questions as best we can
  • Again, I realise the this situation is stressful, however we are fortunate to be a part of a large business, and operating in a sector that should be able to rebound well once we get through this very difficult period

Keep in touch

We know that being away from the working environment can bring challenges, particularly from a social isolation perspective. You will all have home commitments to balance along with the working challenges we are facing.

  • We are considering our options as to how to communicate with all staff over this time period
  • Please ensure your manager has a means of contacting you, even a Facebook contact or family member’s mobile number
  • For those who are on Microsoft Teams, set up daily catch ups with your work teams to stay in touch.

Again, thank you for your calmness and looking after each other as we navigate the challenges ahead.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

23rd March 2020 - #2

Hi again team,

We are continuing to work through the implications of this afternoon’s government announcement of an elevation to alert levels 3 and 4, and what it means for each of our sites.

We do not yet have a confirmation whether any of our businesses are considered ‘essential’, although we do know we are first tier suppliers to several businesses that have already been called out as essential, such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

I’ll be on a call with the Fletcher Building team from 4pm which should provide better clarity as to the classification of our businesses and what support we will have in place for staff. It is unlikely that I’ll be able to provide full communications to you before 5pm, so please finish off your working day calmly - but take some extra time to check you have all you need, as it is possible some of us won’t be returning to sites until the alert level is reduced.

We will be planning for proper site shutdowns and security as required, as well as considerations for areas where limited operation may still be required, for example ensuring we pick up and store stock arriving at ports.

Please communicate the above to all non-wired staff, and ensure your manager has your up to date contact details in case we need to reach you by other means.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

23rd March 2020 - #1

Hi team,

The Prime Minister has just announced an elevation of alert levels.

Please continue to calmly complete your work days and WORK SAFELY.

I will be in calls with Fletcher Building and the SLT over the next couple of hours and will provide an update to you all, as to how this will impact Fletcher Steel, as soon as possible.

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

22nd March 2020

Hi all,

With the rapidly evolving responses to Covid-19 in New Zealand, I’ll be starting a daily email to you all regarding Fletcher Steel’s policies and recommendations to meet both government and business requirements. The wellbeing of our team, both now and into the future, will be at the heart of all of our actions.

We expect all staff to take care of their own health and safety, and the health and safety of others, while at work. This means following and cooperating with any reasonable health and safety instructions, policies and procedures immediately as they’re communicated.

Over the weekend the NZ Government announced a new four level alert system for the COVID-19 virus. New Zealand is currently at level two which is where the disease is contained but the risks are growing. Level two is when we are directed to reduce our contact with one another. This is also the level where people are asked to work differently if they can, and cancel any unnecessary travel.

We have been preparing for measures such as these as part of our business continuity planning and over the last two weeks; as a result of the announcement, we are putting the following actions into place:

Where possible, working from home

The recommendation from the NZ Government is to work from home if you can and for businesses to start implementing alternative ways of working. For many of our office based roles, this is a good option. Across Fletcher Steel each site will divide the roles that can work from home in two teams, ‘green’ and ‘purple’, ideally with a blend of role types and skills in each. On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, team green will trial working from home with purple on site but practising social distancing as much as possible. On Thursday and Friday, the teams will swap with team purple trialling work from home.

  • You are permitted to take any work equipment home with you to perform your role, until we are at least back to alert level 1 nationally.
  • To help people work from home, all broadband providers in NZ have now opened their services to an unlimited setting at no additional cost.
  • While it is likely that we will end up with everyone working from home where possible, this trial enables teams to put plans in place over the next few days and identifying issues.
  • If you have trouble working from home due to technical issues, talk to your managers or email Abhinabh, our head of IT Abhinabh.Duffadar@fbu.com

Take social distancing seriously

  • Where practical, limit close contact with colleagues and between shifts.
  • Reduce meetings and hold toolboxes in larger/open air areas
  • When selecting green & purple teams, try to ensure spacing for the team that is in the office
  • Stagger lunch breaks or eat at desks/apart
  • Ensure contractors on site, including drivers, understand and follow our policies
  • Nearly all external training will be postponed to assist the above
  • Continue to follow good hygiene practices at work and at home

High risk people advised to stay at home

In the current environment, it is important that we are caring for our vulnerable workers who may be particularly susceptible to infection. While some older people may have underlying health issues, we do understand that many of our people in this category are fit and healthy and will want to continue working. Therefore we will be having one-on-one conversations about work arrangements, but if you are in these groups we encourage you to make your health a priority:

  • Please talk with your manager if you are aged over 70, or have an underlying medical condition that may make you more susceptible to Covid-19 (managers, where relevant your SLT manager can talk through the guidelines with you)
  • Work from home if possible
  • Otherwise, we will work with you around suitable solutions
  • For all staff: if you are unwell, stay at home and contact your GP or Healthline – then update your manager

Only essential domestic travel

To ensure we are supporting the Government’s request to restrict travel around New Zealand we are enhancing our travel restrictions as set out below:

  • The current international and domestic air travel ban remains in place.
  • We are implementing restrictions on road travel. Going forward only essential road travel should take place. We will be working with our freight providers to ensure linehaul operation risks are well mitigated.
  • Inevitably we will have exceptions where travel to sites outside of your immediate region will be required, so please seek approval from your SLT manager before travelling.

Keep up our operational safety behaviours

With a lot of attention on Covid-19, and reduced staffing levels at some sites, it is critical we maintain excellent safety behaviours in our day-to-day roles.

  • Alert your manager to any tasks where we are compromised by a lack of well trained staff and/or insufficient team numbers to carry out the task safely
  • DO NOT attempt to ‘just get things done’ if the above situation applies. Safety must come first

Over the next two days, the SLT will be in touch with all teams and sites regarding the above, as well as planning further contingencies to maintain our operations as effectively as possible, should regions or facilities be locked down.

Please let us know if you have any ideas or concerns; together we will get through this unsettling time.

Noho ora mai

Adrian Blake
General Manager | Fletcher Steel

 

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