Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

STOWE ETU Members Support Protected Action Ballot

- Friday, June 19, 2015

Negotiations have now been going on for more than a month with the bosses and NECA attempting to push through non-union agreements that deliver big benefits for bosses while delivering poor outcomes for workers.

ETU members at electrical contractor STOWE have overwhelmingly supported the union’s application for a protected action ballot which will step up pressure on management to come to the table with a genuine offer.

STOWE management have challenged the unions application for a protected action ballot but the union will argue in the Fair Work Commission that the ballot should be permitted to proceed in which we expect a ruling from the commission within two weeks.

If approved the ETU will be pushing to conduct site ballots where members will be able to vote onsite on set dates. A list of industrial action options will be available for members to vote on and the ETU will be asking members to support all options to provide members with as many options as possible which will include strike action.

ETU organiser Stewart Edward said that the time for cheap management talk is over and if STOWE management are serious about striking an agreement they must start negotiating in good faith and deliver a good outcome for workers as we coming into a construction boom across Sydney.

“Management have been full of cheap talk but it’s time they seriously consider some of the claims that workers are seeking including the re-introduction of site allowance, improvements to inclement weather provisions,  reviewing penalties and delivering decent increases to pay and allowances.

“It is clear to me when I visit Stowe sites across Sydney that members are fed up with the antics of management and the games NECA are playing behind the scenes.”

“The fact that ETU members at Stowe are prepared to stand up and be counted by supporting a protected action ballot should send a strong and clear message to management that we will not back down and accept a sub standard non union agreement.” Stewart said.

The only way ETU members will get a decent outcome is by sticking together and rejecting managements sub standard offers.

Bosses Try Every Trick in the Book

- Friday, June 19, 2015

When the ETU met with members at STOWE sites across Sydney management decided they would attend and try to disrupt proceedings by peddling the company line, interrupting delegates and officials and trying to talk over the top of people.

Despite this ETU members at Barangaroo, Blacktown Hospital, Darling Harbour LIVE and George Street all endorsed the union’s application to the Fair Work Commission for a protected action ballot.

On top of this the ETU also believes that management have supported sympathetic reps on the negotiating committee in order to back in managements position with these reps misreporting what has happened at negotiating meetings.

Stewart Edward said that management are trying every trick in the book in order to stifle negotiations, misrepresent the union and our members and to create confusion in an attempt to get their employees to accept a sub standard agreement.

“There is nothing new to what management are trying to do but it is disappointing that management prefer to play these games rather than sit down and listen to what workers have to say when it comes to negotiating an acceptable outcome.

Meanwhile ETU members at other contractors are facing similar issues in negotiating a new EBA with City Electrical deciding to put out a non union EBA to a vote which will see workers end up with sub standard conditions including no site allowance and pay increases below 3%.

The ETU will be asking members at all electrical contracting companies to reject any offer that is not endorsed by the union and our members at mass meetings.

WorkCover Electrical Safety Information

- Friday, June 12, 2015

WorkCover NSW as the body responsible for workplace safety in NSW have release online videos relating to electrical safety in the workplace. Electricity is a constant hazard in many workplaces and workers who work on or near electricity are at risk of shocks, burns, other serious injuries or even death.

ETU members across NSW should take the time to review WorkCover's electrical safety information which can be viewed on the WorkCover NSW website.

NSW Apprentice Forum with John Kaye

- Friday, May 29, 2015

Apprentices are some of the most exploited workers and students in Australia. Most apprentices have stories of poor working conditions, unfair dismissal, and being paid below minimum wage.

At this free public forum you will hear from a number of speakers explaining what the state and federal government are doing. This will be your opportunity to tell the Greens and others what you want us to do to stop the exploitation and remove many of the difficulties you face.

Thursday 11 June, 6:30 pm
Club Ashfield, 1-11 Charlotte Street, Ashfield

Speakers include

  • John Kaye, Greens NSW MP
  • Lee Rhiannon, Greens Senator
  • Rita Mallia, State President, Construction & General Division, NSW Branch CFMEU
  • Phill Chadwick, President NSW TAFE Teachers Association
  • Mark Burgess, National Apprenticeship Officer, Electrical Trades Union

All welcome. Refreshments to be provided.
RSVP to john.kaye@parliament.nsw.gov.au
For more information Ph: 9230 2668

Don't forget to like, join and share the facebook event here.

Safe Work Australia releases latest mesothelioma report

- Thursday, May 21, 2015

Safe work Australia recently release their latest report on mesothelioma. This presents a factual analysis of mesothelioma cases taking into account data up to 2013 and is based on data from the Australian Mesothelioma Registry (AMR) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). In addition to mesothelioma statistics, the report provides background information on the production and use of asbestos in Australia, including an overview of regulations and initiatives aimed at preventing exposure to asbestos.

Key findings include:

  • The AMR was notified of 652 new cases of mesothelioma in 2012. The preliminary number of diagnoses for 2013 is 575.
  • AIHW data shows that the number of new mesothelioma cases has risen steadily in most years since 1982, when national data first became available, and peaked at 690 in 2011.
  • Of the 690 mesothelioma cases in 2011, 83 percent were of males and 90 percent were of people aged 60 years and above.
  • The number of deaths due to mesothelioma generally increased between 1997 and 2012 and reached a peak of 638 in 2012.
  • Of the 638 mesothelioma deaths in 2012, 84 percent were of males and 94 percent were of people aged 60 years and above.

Click here to read a copy of the report.

Sydney Construction EBA Mass Meeting

- Monday, May 18, 2015


Cnr Mary and Reservoir Streets Surry Hills.


INDUSTRY WIDE LOG OF CLAIMS TO BE DISCUSSED AND ENDORSED. Once again all members will need to take a half day RDO in order to attend.

Stewart 0419 210 442 | Brad 0438 777 653 | Dave 0414 877 478


Concerns over safety at Barangaroo after worker made contact with live power during 15 hour shift

- Monday, May 18, 2015

Workers are demanding a thorough investigation into safety at Barangaroo South following a serious incident that saw a labour hire contractor come in contact with live electricity while carrying out commissioning work in a switch room, in the second serious electrical incident at the site this year.

The Electrical Trades Union said two electricians, employed by labour hire company LUHAN Group, had been working on the site for more than 15 hours when one of them came into contact with a live circuit.

Despite the incident occurring at 9.40pm on Thursday, safety regulator WorkCover NSW was not notified of the accident until 200 workers from major electrical contractor Stowe Australia stopped work on the site and demanded proper scrutiny of the accident.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said inspectors from WorkCover issued two prohibition notices — preventing certain work from occurring — following their visit to the site.

“There are serious questions that still need answering about how this electrician was able to make contact with a live circuit, which had the potential to deliver a fatal electric shock,” Mr Butler said.

“The union has been told that these two men — employed by a labour hire contractor — had been working for more than 15 hours at the time of the incident.

“They were there without supervision, no safe work method statement had been prepared for what they were doing, there was no observer in the switch room in case of an emergency, and there were reportedly delays with the response to the accident.

“It is also concerning that the safety regulator was not notified about the incident until after the union and workers demanded the cause of the accident be properly investigated.”

Mr Butler said he was deeply concerned that labour hire workers, who have no job security, were being pressured to work long hours in dangerous conditions at Barangaroo.

“Unlike the electrical workers employed by major contractors on site, these labour hire workers have no job security, so they find it extremely challenging to raise safety concerns,” he said.

“It is difficult to imagine permanent electricians being forced to work more than 15 hours straight without proper safety procedures in place, yet that was what was asked of these two men.”

Protect yourself - make sure you are financial

- Thursday, May 07, 2015

We’re not talking about glasses and gloves. We’re talking about protecting your rights to ‘have a say’.

With the looming EBA negotiations we are urging all members to make sure that they are financial in case the proverbial ‘hits the fan’ as it did three and a half years ago. How would you feel if there was a protected action ballot and because you were a few months behind with your fees you had to walk past your work mates and go into work while they’re making a stand for better wages and conditions?

Being a financial ETU member is a great way of protecting yourself at work. The ETU are out there fighting for members across the construction sector every day of the week on important issues including EBA negotiations, safety, apprentice rights and licensing issues while also holding unscrupulous bosses to account.

But this is not the only protection we offer to members. All financial ETU members also enjoy Journey Cover Insurance supplied free to all members. This protection was taken away from ordinary workers by Barry O’Farrell back in 2012 meaning if you have an accident on the way to or from work ordinary workers are on their own, but not if you are an ETU member. The ETU came to the party offering members free Journey Cover Insurance meaning we have you covered.

New Law Solicitors – the ETU’s own law firm has you covered for all manner of legal issues, whether it’s family law, conveyancing, discrimination cases, wills, industrial law or litigation so they have your back covered. As they’re a union owned law firm the first consultation is free and further representation is at a fraction of the normal cost of other law firms.

Following feedback from members the ETU has recently introduced new Funeral Cover for members who pay their fees by direct debit. This provides ETU members and their families peace of mind knowing that if the unthinkable happens the ETU is there to help those left behind.

On top of all this the ETU also offers fantastic holiday cabins. The kids can let off some steam as you kick back on the beach, or wet a line and let the stress levels drop as you forget the cut and thrust of the construction site. Our only advice when it comes to the ETU cabins is to book early as our Nambucca Heads cabins proved extremely popular with members.

ETU recruitment officer Steve Bankes is here to help members who’ve fallen behind with their fees, get back on track. If you have fallen behind get in touch sooner rather than later as the construction industry EBA is approaching fast and only financial ETU members can participate in any campaign or action.

Steve Bankes will be visiting sites every day. Feel free to approach Steve at the next mass meeting or if you want to chat or talk about membership please call Steve on 0414 877 553.

You can JOIN THE ETU ONLINE. You can also SIGN UP FOR DIRCT DEBIT to make sure you qualify for the ETU's new funeral benefits. 

Workers are stronger when we are all together – make sure you’re a financial ETU member and enjoy POWER IN UNITY.

Construction workers deserve the same rights as all other workers

- Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Abbott Government have introduced legislation in the federal parliament that will see the Fair Work Building Construction Inspectorate retain coercive power which were set to expire at the end of May.

In 2012 the Gillard Government abolished the Australian Building Construction Commission, the ABCC and replaced it with the Inspectorate falling under the Fair Work Commission.

They also put in place an expiry date for coercive powers which treat construction industry workers differently to every other worker by compelling construction workers to produce information, documents or evidence at investigations into suspected breaches of the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act or other building laws.

These coercive powers remove the basic right to privilege against self–incrimination and effectively force workers to give evidence in investigations against colleagues and themselves or face severe penalties.

Under Gillard's changes these powers were set to expire at the end of May but now the Abbott Government is trying to keep them in place by introducing legislation to extend the coercive powers of the building inspectorate.

We are asking ETU members in the construction industry to take action by writing to Labor Senator Sam Dastyari who has a track record of standing up over issues such as this while working with cross bench and other Senator’s to make sure legislation is properly scrutinised.

Please download the pre-formed letter below, complete your details and either post the letter to PO Box 717, Randwick NSW 2031 or you can cut and paste the text into an email or scan the letter and email it to senator.dastyari@aph.gov.au

Click here to view the letter.

Incident Update: High Voltage Oil Insulated Fuse Switch Units

- Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Further to the ETU Notice issued on 11 February below is an update on the fatal incident that occurred in Western Australia on 3 February involving High Voltage Oil Insulated Fuse Switch Units.

Please read and understand the resolution carried by the NSW ETU State Council relating to this matter and subsequent bans relating to work on this equipment.

Click here for the latest WA EnergySafety media release and link to WA EnergySafety's preliminary findings and Work Orders.

All NSW ETU members should read the above information and be aware of the dangers this equipment may present. It is also important for all NSW ETU members to read and understand the resolution adopted by your state council as outlined below restricting work on oil insulated fuse switch units across NSW and the ACT.

Resolution on the Galleria Shopping centre incident on 3 February 2015 (Morley, WA) that resulted in two fatalities and seriously injured two others.

1. The ETU calls upon all employers and electrical safety regulators to conduct immediate safety audits in all workplaces where high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units are in operation; and

2. The NSW Branch of the ETU implements a live work ban on Long and Crawford / GEC / ALSTOM high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units (eg GF3, T4GF3 etc).

3. The NSW Branch of the ETU implement bans on any operating work (such as checking and/or changing of high voltage fuses in fuse switches of this type of equipment) without the high voltage feeder being de-energised into the fuse switch.

Further information is available below:

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates for members.