Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Star Group members secure strong EBA outcome

- Wednesday, December 02, 2015

ETU members working for Star Group are on the cusp of securing an in principle agreement with management that largely delivers on the unions log of claim and delivers an outcome that is superior to other non-union agreements that have been implemented across some Sydney construction companies.

The ETU has been negotiating with Star management on behalf of our members since early June with negotiations getting off to a rocky start. After several meetings and a refusal by management to accept any union claims negotiations broke down which resulted in industrial action.

ETU members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action which hit Star hard at a time when many jobs were at critical stages. ETU members continued action for five weeks before returning to work in good faith to allow negotiations to recommence.

Star management presented a draft agreement last week with ETU members identifying a number of items needing attention. After further consideration Star management today presented an amended agreement addressing ETU members concerns.

ETU Organiser Brad McDougall said that negotiations were difficult and drawn out.

“We knew that these negotiations would be tough but that didn’t turn ETU members off when it came to their desire to secure a good outcome.”

“Management took a hostile approach but through the solidarity and unity of our members at Star we have been able to secure a good agreement in principle which will now go through the process of being put to a vote.”

The ETU negotiated Star agreement delivers an 11.5% pay increase over three and a half years. Introduces flat rate site allowance which is applicable immediately upon registration of the agreement, maintains strong protections for union delegates and requires Star to source labour from other EBA companies before considering labour hire.

“This is a great outcome for ETU members and goes to show that good outcomes can be secured but only if members stand strong and stick together.” said Brad McDougall.

Retire Members Update

- Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Following the most recent campaign meeting of Combined Retired Union Members and Associations, Unions NSW would like to invite retired ETU members to the following events:


Mark Lennon's last Council meeting as Secretary Unions NSW. The meeting will be followed by drinks and snacks. At 6:30pm Peter Fitzsimons will launch the Sydney screening of a historical docu-drama Death or Liberty based on the Eureka Stockade in the Auditorium.

When/Where: 5:30pm Thursday 4th December Trades Hall Auditorium 377 Sussex St Haymarket.


Action Stations - hand out flyers highlighting attacks on the rights of working people:

7:15am Monday 7th December BURWOOD train station.

7:15am Tuesday 8th December STRATHFIELD train station.


Campaign meeting of Combined Retired Union Members and Associations - focus on 2016 an election year.

Where/When: 10am - 12pm Monday 18th January 2016 Sydney Trades Hall, ground floor, training room two, 377 Sussex St Haymarket.


Our living standards, built by past generations of union members, are what make Australia a great place to live. But our living standards are under significant attack. We demand government support for secure jobs & penalty rates; Medicare; quality education for all; public services owned by the people for the people; a secure retirement with decent pensions & superannuation, and, a fair go for all!

Unions NSW and the Combined Retired Union Members Association invite Sydney based active retired union members to join in these activities - a great opportunity to meet other retired union activists.

For more information contact Alison Rahill at Unions NSW tel 02 9881 5923 mob 0414 316 839 Email arahill@unionsnsw.org.au

Campaign ETU

Bruce Fan - Monday, November 16, 2015


I would like to advise all members that we have introduced a new initiative to try and improve communications with members. The ETU now has a new team called “CAMPAIGN ETU”.  Over the next few months you may be contacted by “CAMPAIGN ETU” about various issues that are running, those issues may include:- 

  • ETU membership
  • Enterprise Agreement campaigns
  • General Campaigning information
  • Calls to action like doorknocking or attending rallies

The “CAMPAIGN ETU” team are located in our Sydney office and will be continuing on for a trial period.  Please feel comfortable in talking to “CAMPAIGN ETU” team members and hopefully we will be able to continue to tweak the operation to better meet the needs of members.  If you are unsure who is contacting you or what they are calling for please contact your local ETU official or ETU office to discuss.

Yours in solidarity

Steve Butler


Download the Notice

Fuji Xerox EBA negotiations

Bruce Fan - Friday, November 13, 2015

Enterprise Agreement Negotiations As members would be aware we are currently in the process of negotiating your Enterprise Agreement which has a nominal expiry date of 31 December 2015. In accordance with the Fair Work Act if we have not negotiated a new Agreement by then, the current one stays in place until we do so. 

The negotiating committee consists of your elected work place representative Hatem Sleiman, myself, and ETU national office organizer Matt Murphy. Joe Von Borneman also attends in the capacity of an individual bargaining representative.

The negotiating committee has met 4 times with FXA management to date. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday 20th November. NSW members have endorsed a number of claims to be advocated by the committee and we are now starting to get a clear picture of where FXA stands on each, a summary of which (including the claims of all the other states) is attached for your reference.

In summary, FXA have not moved towards a position which is anywhere near the one put by members at our last mass meeting at Granville. As is usually the case in such negotiations the company cries poor and attempts to extract concessions from its employees by citing “profit downgrades” and “market challenges”. If there is one constant you can rely on in all EBA negotiations, it is that the employer will never voluntarily offer a good deal. Inevitably union members need to fight to maintain their pay and conditions – this negotiation is clearly no different.

In order for us to determine just how hard we are prepared to fight for these things we will need to reconvene a mass meeting to discuss where we go from here in relation to the outstanding issues on which we are still worlds apart which, as you can see from the attached log are numerous. The meeting will be held at Granville RSL on Thursday 19th November 2015 at 4pm. All members and affected employees are urged to attend.        

The notice can be download here.



- Friday, October 30, 2015

After receiving calls just prior to the October long weekend, I visited the North Bondi Waste Water Treatment Plant where ODG are working on upgrades to the facility. The original call I got was saying that workers had been stood down on RDO’s because of safety concerns. On arrival and after receiving a frosty reception from management, I started to learn more about what was occurring 50 metres below ground in the scrubber area of the plant.

At the end of August work had commenced to grind down some old fibre glass tanks,  that were thick with old paint. The ODG crew had been sent away while this took place, which is obviously good practice as there’s no air flow where the work was taking place and concerns had been raised about lead in the old paint and if testing was going to be performed.

On return to the site it was obvious no attempt had been made to vacuum up the thick layer of fibre glass and paint dust, so issues were raised once more. At one stage labourers were brought in to clean up while the sparkies were working and brushed the dust straight down over the work crew! To which the answer was there’s washing machines provided, wash your clothes before you go home, especially if you have young kids or elderly folk at home.

ODG tried to bring in a new leading hand to oversee the job and after inspecting the site he said “if I get sent here I’ll give in my notice and resign!”

The next wonderful idea from management was to get a hosepipe and wash down the live cable trays, that had light fittings suspended from it, to get rid of the toxic dust. Well to the sparkies this was a crazy idea, so that got knocked on the head as quick as it was thought about!

On the 23rd of September the question was once again raised about testing of the dust samples, to which the answer from management was “no.”

Finally on the 25th of September tests samples were taken and by the 1st October the results came back at which time a hard copy was requested by work crew, which was denied.

Anecdotally I’ve heard these results contained levels of chromium, nickel, fibre glass among other substances, of which we don’t know if they’re safe levels, due to ODG’s secrecy tactics.

When I got to site one of the first questions I asked the safety co-ordinator was about the SWMS’s, which hadn’t been up dated for months, to account for the changing conditions in the work place. Also there had been a lack of consultation with the work crew regarding the health aspects of the proceedings, so I had no choice but to call in workcover to try and get to the bottom of what was happening. An inspector did attend the site more than a week later but admitted she was not a specialist and would have to pass on the results to a colleague who knows more about these matters. She was also assured that I’d been sent an email with results of the tests, which as yet hasn’t eventuated.

As a result of what has occurred some different workers have now been sent to the site, while some of the original crew have been sent elsewhere, that tells a story itself! The new crew have been told they now have to wear P2 masks and disposable overalls all day at work.

This is all from one of the largest nationwide electrical contractors, with all the resources and safety checks and balances supposedly in place.

I’m still waiting for a response. 

What do you have to hide ODG??
In Unity – Steve Bankes, ETU Organiser

ETU supports Real Men Wear Pink launch

- Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Last week ETU members supported the National Breast Cancer Foundation "Real Men Wear Pink" campaign which is sponsored by Bisley Workwear.

ETU members across the construction industry would be familiar with the campaign that encourages men to wear pink to work to raise awareness of breast cancer. Every year across Australia construction workers get behind the campaign by wearing pink high vis shirts and hard hats to work while also raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Last week Unions NSW launched the union movements support for the campaign and below are a couple of photo's of ETU members and officials who attended the launch at Trades Hall. ETU Legal Research Officer - Ron De La Caudra took out first prize in the fashion parade!





ETU Secures Back pay for Downer Apprentices

- Thursday, October 22, 2015

Downer recently made the decision to move six apprentices from their construction division to their servicing division and in doing so attempted to reduce four NECA Group apprentices pay by five dollars per hour.

ETU Organiser Steve Bankes stepped in and the ETU not only secured the higher pay rate for all six apprentices we also won five weeks back pay for the four NECA apprentices delivering more than $1,000 per apprentice.

“This is a good little win we have had for these apprentices and is a really good example of how it pays to be an ETU member.” said Steve Bankes.

“We were not only able to secure the higher pay rate for all six apprentices but we effectively stopped the company from having two tiered pay rates for apprentices in their servicing division – being one rate for direct employed apprentices and a lower rate for group training apprentices.”

“Downer also agreed to back pay the four apprentices impacted which will see each apprentice receive in excess of $1,000 each.” Steve said.

“I perplexes me why some employers continue to penny pinch from apprentices when these young guys are already doing it tough and struggling to keep their head above water.”

"What we do know is that Downer intend to reduce apprentices pay in the future through the EBA process but we will fight this move to protect our apprentice members."

“This should be a warning to all construction bosses – go after apprentice rates and the ETU will come after you.” Steve said.

Organiser workplace allocation

- Thursday, October 22, 2015

Following the departure of a number of organisers from the ETU a re-allocation of workplaces has occurred to share the workload across current officials. In the past twelve months five officials have left the organisation with two full time and one part time organisers employed.

Below is a list of new workplaces that have been allocated to ETU organisers. This list is in addition to any existing workplaces these organisers were already responsible for.

Adam Wardrope – Newcastle
AMP Control, Nepean Power, Dywidag-Systems International, Falk Australia, Hunter Valley Energy Coal, Centennial Coal, Myuna Colliery, West Wallsend No2, Oceanic Coal Australia, Steggles, Weathertex, Independent Gaming.

Justin Page – Newcastle
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, Port Waratah Coal Service, Delta Electricity, Eraring Energy, Macquarie Generation, Tomago Aluminium, Koppers Coal Tar Production, Rutherford Power, Rutherford Transformer Service, Vision Control Solutions.

Brad Currey – Wollongong
All workplaces in the Illawarra region.

Dave McKinley – Sydney
TrasGrid statewide.

Ben Lister – Sydney
Rail, Apprentices, all workplaces in New England region and Far North Coast.

Mark Buttigieg – Sydney
Business Equipment.

Steve Bankes – Sydney
Construction and Lift Industry.

Matt McCann - Canberra
Canberra Construction and General Trade and all workplaces in the Riverina.

ChAFTA set to pass parliament

- Wednesday, October 21, 2015

To all ETU Members
Today’s announcement that the Federal government has cut a deal with the Labor party to pass the Chafta enabling legislation is gutting.
Since the day it was announced the ETU has been on the front foot campaigning against the anti-worker elements of the China FTA.
The protections that have been secured are woefully inadequate. The narrowness of the labour market testing provisions still leave the door open for the driving down of conditions and the exploitation of migrant workers.
The comparative weakness of the licensing regulation changes means that there are still serious safety concerns around the removal of mandatory skills testing.
We recognise the value of compromise and negotiated outcomes, but this deal is not acceptable. The amendments might be better than nothing, but not by much.
This deal stinks. Even though it appears our political options are exhausted the campaign will continue.
Working Australians have a right to know what this rotten Turnbull government has done.
We will continue our campaign from now until the next Federal election and beyond to ensure we get rid of these anti-worker elements.
Our fight continues to protect our jobs, our safety and our sovereignty.
Proud to be Union
Allen Hicks - National Secretary

ETU Gets All Clear from NSW Electoral Funding Authority

- Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The ETU is required to disclose any political expenditure incurred during a declared period leading up to NSW General Elections. This disclosure was made by the ETU NSW Branch and the CEPU Electrical Division NSW Branch on Tuesday 22 September in accordance with reporting requirements.

The ETU today received confirmation from the NSW Electoral Funding Authority that our disclosure has been reviewed and accepted with no questions arising.

Full details of all political disclosures for all entities will be available on the NSW Electoral Funding Authority website next month.