Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

STOP ChAFTA Town Hall Debates

- Thursday, October 08, 2015

Will the China Free Trade Agreement be good for local jobs?

The Turnbull Liberal Government is intent on forcing the China Free Trade Agreement through the Senate before Christmas.

Australian Unions believe the China Free Trade Agreement will:

  • be BAD for local jobs
  • be BAD for workplace safety
  • be BAD for local communities
  • undercut local rates of pay
  • exploit overseas workers

Come hear both sides and decide for yourself! public debates have been organised for the following locations and we encourage as many ETU members as possible to come along.


Kevin Hogan MP, Nationals Member for Page is invited to debate Tony Maher, Construction, Foresty, Mining and Energy Union.

When: October 27, 2015 at 6pm - 7pm
Where: South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club - 2 Wharf St, South Grafton
Contact: Sharryn Usher - susher@actu.org.au

Download the event flyer


David Coleman MP, Liberal Member for Banks is invited to debate Allen Hicks, Electrical Trades Union.

When: October 27, 2015 at 6pm - 7pm
Where: Club Central Hurstville - 2 Crofts Ave, Hurstville
Contact: Maryanne Stuart - mstuart@actu.org.au

Download the event flyer


Karen McNamara MP, Liberal Member for Dobell and Lucy Wicks MP, Liberal Member for Robertson are invited to debate Ged Kearney, ACTU President and Jane Calvert, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

When: October 27, 2015 at 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Where: The Entrance Leagues Club - 3 Bay Village Rd, Bateau Bay
Contact: Aarin Moon - amoon@actu.org.au

Download the event flyer


Fiona Scott MP, Liberal Member for Lindsay and Louise Markus MP, Liberal Member for Macquarie are invited to debate Ged Kearney, ACTU President and Jane Calvert, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

When: October 28, 2015 at 6pm - 9pm
Where: Penrith Paceway - 141-147 Station St, Penrith
Contact: Mary Yaager - MYaager@unionsnsw.org.au or Aaron Reynolds - areynolds@actu.org.au

Download the event flyer


Peter Hendy MP, Liberal Member for Eden-Monaro is invited to debate Michael O'Connor, National Secretary, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

When: October 30, 2015 at 6pm - 8pm
Where: The Royal Hotel - 85 Monaro St, Queanbeyan
Contact: Jeremy Kirkwood - jeremykirkwood@unionsact.org.au

Download the event flyer


Ann Sudmalis MP, Liberal Member for Gilmore is invited to debate Jane Calvert, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

When: November 18, 2015 at 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Where: Bomaderry Bowling Club - 154 Meroo Rd, Bomaderry
Contact: Lisa Kremmer - lkremmer@actu.org.au

Download the event flyer


ETU deeply concerned about regulators attitude towards electrical safety in Sydney construction boom

- Thursday, September 17, 2015

A recent dangerous incident involving a second year apprentice on a project at Warringah Mall highlights the growing concerns the ETU has towards the NSW government regulator for Work Health and Safety (WHS), SAFEWORK (recently changed from WorkCover).

This most recent incident which occurred on Friday 11th September at Warringah Mall on a Sentre Group site. Sentre group are the construction arm of Westfield who own and operate the Westfield centres.  The site itself is undergoing major works which will be conducted over two stages worth 100’s of millions of dollars. These sites can be particularly hazardous because work, including demolition continues around businesses which remain open and rely on existing services including live power cables.

The dangerous incident involved a second year apprentice being asked to test an electrical cable with a ‘Volt stick’ and then being instructed to cut that cable.  The cable was in fact live and when the young apprentice cut through the cable with his pliers it produced a flash. The apprentice was extremely lucky not to have received an electric shock or worse.

The ETU was only informed of the incident on Monday 14th September via concerned workers who made an anonymous complaint in regards to the incident. The ETU notified Sentre group immediately to check with management and the safety committee what had taken place on the Friday and what action was taken. To the ETU’s astonishment, no one from Sentre Group knew anything about this serious incident. The contractor involved, Star Group had failed to inform the builder of the dangerous incident.

The ETU immediately responded by sending organiser Stewart Edward to attend the site, who exercised the powers under the Work Health and Safety Act which allows union officials to enter any construction site where there is reason to believe or there has been a suspected breach of the WHS legislation. Furthermore, Star Group WHS management claimed they had contacted the NSW regulator, the newly named Safework, to notify them of the dangerous incident on the Friday, but could not provide any evidence of such a call to the 13 10 50 Hotline.

Star Group WHS management also maintained that they had been told by the NSW government regulator that this was not a ‘Notifiable Incident’ under the WHS ACT 2011.  The ETU organiser immediately called Safework to notify of the dangerous incident and requested that an inspector with an electrical background attend the site to investigate the dangerous incident.  

The person who took the call at Safework agreed that the dangerous incident as described was a notifiable incident. Inexplicably, the Star Group WHS management attempted to argue the case that ‘live’ power was not involved and that the apprentice was not at risk and in fact was protected because he was using insulated pliers. 

It was clear to the ETU organiser that there was in fact systemic failure in the safe systems of work on site.

  • Firstly, the apprentice should have had direct supervision.
  • Secondly, he should not be using a “Volt Stick’ to test whether the cable is live or dead.
  • Thirdly, the principle contractor should have been informed immediately and this should have been communicated to the safety committee and in the ETU’s view, all work should have ceased in affected areas and consultation should have taken place to determine the cause. No one should work live! 
  • Fourthly, Safework should have been notified of the dangerous incident and the scene should have been preserved for investigation. These are the minimum steps which should have taken place.

On Wednesday 16th September, two Safework inspectors attended the site. Despite the overwhelming evidence presented to Sentre Group management, safety committee representatives and the ETU on Tuesday 15th September, Safework at the time of writing has NOT issued any improvement or prohibition notices in relation to the incident.

The ETU on behalf of it is members and all involved in construction remain deeply concerned about the lack of enforcement of WHS legislation. There is growing evidence that SAFEWORK’s role is to support self regulation whereby builders and contractors write incident reports following dangerous incidents on site. The ETU is afraid that workers will be seriously injured or killed if SAFEWORK inspectors’ are not allowed enforce the current legislation. Importantly, parents of young workers would like to know that the newly named SAFEWORK is enforcing the law to protect their sons and daughters.

CEPU Election Notice

- Monday, September 14, 2015

The AEC has called for nominations for CEPU Electrical Division, NSW Branch Divisional Branch Delegate to Divisional Council.

For further information or to download a nomination form click here to visit the AEC website. Nomination forms are also available from the union office.

Click here to view a copy of the election notice. 

CEPU AEC Election Report

- Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The AEC recently conducted the quadrennial elections for the CEPU Electrical Division, NSW Branch.

Section 197(1) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (“the Act”) requires the AEC to provide a written report on the conduct of the election to the Fair Work Commission and to the organisation or branch for whom the election was conducted.

Further, Regulation 141(4) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Regulations 2009 requires an organisation or branch to publish a notice on its website advising members that a copy of the Post Election Report is available upon request.

If you would like a copy of the AEC post election report please send an email requesting a copy of this report to paull@etunsw.asn.au

Star Electrical Mass Meeting

- Monday, August 31, 2015

ETU members working for Star Electrical are invited to attend a mass meeting in relation to EBA negotiations. All members should attend the meeting during the half day protected industrial action.


When: 12 noon, Thursday 3 September
Where: Trades Hall Auditorium, Unions NSW - enter through 377 Sussex St, Sydney.

Officials will attend to talk to members. If you have any questions please direct them to your workplace organiser or ETU official.

ETU & CEPU Quadrennial Election Results

- Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The CEPU NSW Divisional Branch and the ETU of Australia, NSW branch recently held their quadrennial elections.

The Australian Electrical Commission conducted the election for the CEPU NSW Divisional Branch where the position of Divisional Branch Assistant Secretary was contested. Eligible members were issued with ballot papers and the ballot closed on Monday 24 August at 12 noon.

At the conclusion of counting and checking the AEC issued the formal declaration of results declaring Neville Betts elected to the position of CEPU Divisional Branch Assistant Secretary.

The NSW Electoral Commission conducted the election for the Electrical Trades Union of Australia, NSW Branch where the positions of Assistant Secretary and State Councillors representing Supply Authority were contested. Eligible members were issued with ballot papers and the ballot closed on Monday 24 August at 12 noon.

At the conclusion of counting and checking the NSW Electoral Commission issued the formal declaration of results declaring Dave McKinley elected to the position of ETU NSW Branch Assistant Secretary and the following members were elected to the position of State Councillor representing the Supply Authority (8): Graeme Paterson, Simon Davies, Neville Betts, Mark Buttigieg, Colin Waring, Noel Mahon, Steve Magann and Susan May.

Candidates for all other positions were declared elected unopposed.

ETU's Justin Page Elected President of Newcastle Trades Hall

- Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Last Thursday ETU Organiser Justin Page was elected President of the Newcastle Trades Hall Council – soon to change their name to Hunter Unions.

Justin, who has been an organiser with the ETU for almost five years came off the tools at one of Newcastle’s largest employers, Tomago Aluminium and knows only too well the challenges facing workers across the Hunter Valley.

Justin will work closely with the Newcastle Trades Hall Secretary Daniel Wallace who recently said that the rebranding of the regional Labour Council to Hunter Unions will better represent the charter of the organisation which is to represent all workers in the five lower hunter local government areas.

The ETU is proud to have Justin elected to the position of President and we know he will work hard to improve the lives of workers in the region.

How to claim for hearing loss and hearing aids

- Thursday, August 20, 2015

Do you have a work-related heating problem? Here’s how to get an assessment and make a claim.

A specialist’s report that identifies hearing loss caused by exposure to workplace noise enables you to make a workers compensation claim against current and past employers, if you have lost at least 6 percent of your hearing.

ACT and NSW workers compensation (including Comcare) provide for your doctor to refer you to an accredited specialist. In NSW the specialist can send you to an approved hearing aid provider.  Or you can contact the Union for a referral and assistance.

Under NSW or Comcare schemes, if you lodged a hearing claim pre-2012 with paid time off work, you are eligible for a replacement hearing aid through the insurer every five years.  If insurers deny a claim, contact the ETU. 

If the hearing claim did not involve paid time off work, or was made after 2012, then insurers are not liable to pay for hearing aids or services 12 months after the claim. The 2012 restrictions do not apply to ACT Comcare.

At the time of publishing, the NSW Government introduced changes to workers compensation that may alter the 2012 restrictions.

If you are older than the pension retirement age, you are not generally covered by workers compensation.

To claim a hearing aid:

  1. Contact the old employer or insurer using the original claim number.
  2. Wait for their response as you cannot do anything without it. Any further assessment must be done by a Workcover-approved hearing provider.
  3. If your claim is denied, the union can refer you to NewLaw for review.
  4. If you are over the pension retirement age, you can apply for a hearing aid through the Department of Health for hearing aids.  

More info: www.hearingservices.gov.au/

Changes to Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions

- Friday, August 07, 2015

The ETU and CEPU have made recent changes to our privacy policy and terms and conditions. You can view our privacy policy and terms and conditions using the links provided.

NECA Refusing to pay EBA rates

- Friday, August 07, 2015

The ETU has negotiating on your behalf for an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) with NECA GT. This EBA will set the wages and conditions of employment for the next four years.

A meeting was held on Wednesday 3 June 2015 with bargaining representatives including one representative from the ETU. At this meeting the ETU did not put together any claims, as we hadn’t had time to formulate any claims on your behalf.

On Wednesday 10 June 2015 the General Manager of NECA GT, Tom Emeleus wrote to you saying “we have met with the nominated Bargaining Representatives and have drafted a new Agreement”. He implied that the Agreement has been finalised and that NECA GT intends to put it out for a vote. A VOTE, when we haven’t even provided a Log of Claims or bargained on your behalf!

As a result, we lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission (FWC), on the sole basis that we have not yet bargained or provided a Log of Claims. A meeting was scheduled with Deputy President Lawrence of the FWC for 29 June 2015.

At the conference meeting the following process was agreed and endorsed by DP Lawrence.

  1. The CEPU will provide to NECA Group Training (NECA) its concerns/issues with respect to the current draft agreement, in writing by COB Friday, 3 July 2015.
  2. The CEPU will provide to NECA any additional claims, in writing, by COB Friday 10 July.
  3. The parties will meet on Wednesday, 15 July 2015.
  4. The matter will be listed before the Commission at 2pm Thursday, 23 July 2015.
  5. The ballot shall be put on hold during this process.

All steps of the agreed process were followed by the ETU and as a result, we have managed to negotiate some good outcomes on your behalf.

Since the initial FWC hearing we have had three lengthy EBA negotiations with ETU representatives from NSW, QLD, ACT and the National Office involved. Also an additional conference hearing was held at the FWC. We have been able to negotiate a number of good clauses on your behalf, which I will list below.

Negotiated for you, by the ETU.

  • Site Allowance Clause – linking site allowance to Host Employer’s Agreement
  • Compensation for Loss of Tools Clause – $376
  • Social Day/Picnic Day – an extra paid day off
  • Mandatory Training Costs – will be paid
  • Protective Clothing – will be supplied including prescription glasses if required
  • Supervision Clause – to ensure safe, adequate and effective training
  • Women in Industry Clause – recognising the low participation rates of females in our industry and ways to redress this
  • Annual Leave – additional leave for shift workers
  • Recall to work – increased from 3 hours minimum payment to 4 hours minimum
  • Multistorey Allowance Clause
  • Inclement weather clause – including up to 32 hours per week paid
  • Relationship to National Employment Standards (NES) Clause – you will receive the better of the NES or the Agreement
  • Consultative Committee – including provisions for apprentices from outside of the Sydney Metropolitan area
  • Paid Crib Break after 10 or more hours of work
  • You will no longer be expected to unpack tools and materials prior to the designated work starting time

HOWEVER!!! There are a number of things that NECA GT are refusing to put into the Agreement, these are listed below.


  • NECA GT are refusing to put a Clause in the Agreement linking Host Employer EBA rates of pay to NECA Apprentices. NECA claim that the current practice is to pay host rates, and this seems to be true in most cases (not all). They are obviously planning to change this at some point and put you back down to Award rates or else why would they be so determined to leave such a clause out!
  • They are refusing to put a clause in the Agreement linking the Award to the Agreement. The Award sets out the very minimum rates of pay and working conditions that must be paid/applied to an apprentice. The reason they don’t want it in is because the proposed draft Agreement doesn’t meet some of those basic conditions. NECA GT can vary the probation period of an apprentice for as long as they like, where the Award says it must not exceed 3 months. They have a clause which puts restrictions on allowances so you will not receive all of the allowances in the award such as First Aid Allowance, Towers Allowance or any other additional allowance that may change if the Award Varies. The Award says you will be paid a meal allowance if you have not received 24 hours’ notice of doing 2 or more hour’s overtime, the Agreement does not.
  • They are refusing to pay 3% above the top tier of the Award for Apprentices working with a non-EBA Host.
  • Refuse to take a Clause out of the Agreement which forces you to use RDO’s if work is not available
  • Refusing to guarantee Income Protection for all Apprentices, although have adopted a clause that says “Income protection will be paid by the Company for all apprentices where practicable”. In other words, they don’t have to pay it at all
  • NECA GT refuse to remove a Medical Examinations Policy, in where you must see their doctor even if you have clearance from your own doctor
  • Refuse to pay for downtime, rather have a clause saying that “Employees may be stood down without pay” as a result of A breakdown of machinery, Industrial action or a stoppage of work for ANY CAUSE for which the company cannot reasonably be held responsible
  • Refuse to pay above Award Rates for any allowances including Living Away From Home Allowance, Multi-Storey Allowance, Compensation for Loss of Tools, Travel Allowance, Fares Allowance and Meal Allowance. Our Claims are in line with Industry Standards and they are flat out refusing to go above the Award with any of them
  • Our claim of Fares and Travel Allowances are almost identical to NECA GT’s except that they will be paid to all apprentices regardless of where they start work or TAFE. NECA will only pay if you meet certain criteria and will not pay if going to TAFE

It is because of these reasons we are still urging you to VOTE NO to the proposed Agreement if they put it out to a vote.

There are a number of things that you can do to help achieve better wages and conditions for yourselves.

  1. Join the ETU today to stand up and fight for your rights
  2. VOTE NO to proposed NECA Agreement unless you hear from us
  3. Tell everyone at TAFE and Work to VOTE NO to the Agreement
  4. Notify us immediately if NECA GT put out any documents/correspondence/letters of any description regarding the Agreement.
  5. Join our campaign on facebook www.facebook.com/StandUpforApprentices

We have a further meeting with the FWC on Thursday 6 August and will update you after this meeting. At any stage you are encouraged to contact an ETU Organiser near you for further details.


If NECA GT refuse to:

  1. Pay Host Employer EBA Rates VOTE NO
  2. Pay 3% above the Award for non-EBA Hosts VOTE NO
  3. Pay Income Protection Insurance to ALL Employees VOTE NO
  4. Recognise that the Award is the MINIMUM they have to pay VOTE NO

ETU Contacts

Mark Burgess 0438 732 301 / Ben Lister 0400 264 007 / Mick Koppie 0400 844 741