Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

NECA caught out under paying apprentices, AGAIN!

- Wednesday, January 14, 2015

NECA, the National Electrical Contractor's Association has once again been uncovered paying apprentices less than what's applicable in the host employers Enterprise Agreement.

It came to light just before Christmas and has been going on for months. This time it's at host employer FDC Technologies where apprentices who are employed by NECA are being paid substantially less than those from Electrogroup and My Gateway who are being paid the rates in the FDC Enterprise Agreement.

The difference in rates is up to 25%.

Despite numerous attempts by the apprentices to have NECA address the issue, they have refused, blaming FDC instead. As one tradesmen at FDC Technologies said, "It's just plain mean, especially at Christmas time!".

Organiser Stewart Edward said, "The ETU is calling on NECA to amend the rates immediately and back pay the apprentices in line with My Gateway and Electro Group."

"It's time NECA showed some leadership and Christmas spirit rather than acting the Grinch!".

Sydney Construction Members meet to discuss EBA and Log of Claims

- Friday, December 19, 2014

In 2011 ETU construction members in Sydney were involved in a hard fought EBA campaign that culminated in prolonged industrial action and eventually be locked out by the employers. With that in mind our mass meeting held on Wednesday 17th December saw the largest roll up of construction members ever for an EBA campaign launch.

With the current construction laws that are in place members were forced to use RDO hours to attend and after shrugging off pressure from some employers to not take the afternoon off they turned up in their droves. After filling the Teachers Federation Conference Centre members listened intently to reports from the Secretary, Steve Butler, the National ETU Secretary Alan Hicks and Sydney Official Stewart Edward.

Steve discussed the current state of the NSW ETU and the resources that will be used on the 2015 campaign whilst Alan Hicks reported on the draconian new laws and regulations that he Federal Liberal/National Government have in store for the construction industry.

Stewart Edward reported on the disgraceful wind back of WH&S conditions in NSW and the lack of commitment from WorkCover to investigate a recent serious electrical breach that had the potential to cause a fatality.

Stewart went to inform the membership of the current campaign being coordinated by Unions NSW to stop the cuts. A petition has been set up calling on the Government not to introduce the appalling changes. For more information, please visit the website: Bring Our Workers Home Safely.

Following these reports members went on to hold a lively discussion on what should and shouldn’t be included in our 2015 Log of Claims and then endorsed the following to be negotiated next year:


  • Increase in payment for boots to $150
  • In order to ensure that the new requirement for members to wear safety glasses all day every day the company is to offer employees a free annual eye test.

Start/finish times

  • The wording included in the agreement is to be made clearer to ensure there is no confusion regarding the mutual agreement requirements for altering start and finish times.


  • Morning Tea to be twenty minutes
  • In lieu of the increase in productivity that a company gains from having only one meal break Friday is to be shortened one hour.

Picnic Day

  • Payment for the Union picnic day is only to be made to those that can produce a picnic ticket


  • Payslips are to contain records of all accruals including sick leave, annual leave, RDO’s etc

Personal Leave

  • Members are to be entitled to a minimum of three days of personal leave a year without having to produce a medical certificate


  • The adult apprentice rate that is contained in the wage structures of some contractors is to be carried through to all agreements
  • Foremen to be included in wage structure
  • The unlicenced leading hand position is to be removed from the agreement and in the future only licenced tradesmen are to be offered the position of leading hands

Site Meetings

  • The current provision that allows quarterly half hour site meetings to be held on large jobs is to be flowed through to any job with twenty or more employees

Stand Down

  • As companies have chosen to alter the intention of the stand down clause it is to be removed in its entirety.

Inclement Weather

  • Inclement weather clause to reflect the Building and Construction Award. This would include payment for all lost time due to inclement conditions of up to 32 hours a week


  • The wording included in the agreement is to be made clearer to ensure there is no confusion regarding the penalty rates that apply when working outside of the spread of hours
  • Bring the electrical EBA into line with other construction employees by increasing the loading on afternoon and night shift to 50%
  • All overtime to be paid at double time

Rest Period after Overtime

  • The rest period after overtime is to be extended out to twelve hours from the current ten
  • Holders of an ACMA licence are to be paid a weekly all-purpose allowance of $99 (equivalent of the electrical licence)

Site Allowance

  • Reintroduction of site allowance with the allowance to be based on total construction value of a site as follows:

Total Construction Contract Value (Millions $)          Site Allowance
$5.7 To $20                                                                          $1.70
$20 To $100                                                                          $2.50
$100 To $200                                                                       $3.50
$200 To $300                                                                      $4.50
$300 To $400                                                                      $5.00
$400 To $500                                                                      $5.50
$500 To $600                                                                      $6.00
$600 To $700                                                                      $7.00
To >$700                                                                              $8.00


  • Minimum payment for superannuation $175/wk
  • Increasing to $185 in the second year of the agreement then $200 in the final year

Productivity Allowance

  • The productivity allowance is to be rolled into the hourly rate
  • Wage and all allowances (including MERT) increase 6% p.a.


Victorian OTIS Victory

- Friday, December 19, 2014

After a long fought campaign Victorian Otis workers, who held the line and fought back against Otis’ lock-out, have broken through and achieved a significant win.

An in-principle offer was put to a mass meeting of Otis members on Wednesday and was voted up. This is a fantastic win for Otis workers, and for other workers in the industry who will be negotiating their own wages and conditions in the coming months.

The breakthrough came after 11th hour negotiations on Tuesday that led to a number of concessions by Otis. The in-principle offer includes:

  • A 3 1/2 year Agreement
  • 4% wage increases over the life of the Agreement
  • Income Protection for the first time
  • Increased daily fares and travel allowance
  • Construction allowances increased to above industry standards
  • Minimum site allowances on all projects

Our congratulations go out to our Victorian brothers and sisters.

The Victorian Branch has extended a sincerely thanks to the ETU National Office and interstate branches for their support during this dispute.


AMP IT UP: EBA Mass Meeting

- Monday, November 24, 2014

Sydney Construction Industry EBA mass meeting will be held on Wednesday 17 December, full details below and in attached flyer.

Wednesday 17 December, 12 noon
NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre
Cnr Mary and Reservoir Streets Surry Hills

Members will need to take a half day RDO.

Stewart Edward  0419 210 442
Brad McDougall  0438 777 653
Dave McKinley  0414 877 478

 Download the flyer here.

Victorian Lifties Locked Out

- Friday, November 21, 2014

Next week members at Otis Lifts in Victoria will be in their fifth week of being locked out by company management.

Members of the AMWU and ETU working for Otis Lifts had commenced protected industrial action in support of a new workplace agreement several weeks ago. The workers were forced to take action to bring management to the table to negotiate outstanding claims about employing apprentices and reducing future entitlements to below industry standards for skilled trades workers.

Otis have now locked out all 150 employees wanting to suppress workers accepting an Agreement that reduces conditions and entitlements.

Construction industry standards include overtime paid at double time rate and 26 RDOs per year on guaranteed days. Otis and its workers are in dispute over the overtime rate, RDOs, employment of apprentices, site allowances and the Federal Building Construction Code.

Working in Heat

- Friday, November 21, 2014

Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.

All members should be aware of the dangers of heat stress and be familiar with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy or the Workcover code of practice for managing the work environment.

In summary ETU members should observe the following as a minimum but individuals should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation: 


Continuous work with normal breaks.


Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.


Mandatory - stop work - do individual (Personal) risk assessment and determine if work is to continue, that work undertaken to be limited to fault and emergency or finalisation of current work (No New Work).


Click on the links provided for a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat (2003) policyWorkcover NSW’s website with details about working in heat and the Bureau of Meteorology for current weather forecasts (click on the map for your local forecast).

Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

Delegate Training

- Thursday, October 30, 2014

The ETU is running a delegates training course for new delegates or current delegates that have not yet done any training. The "Delegates Level One" course has been scheduled for two days over 3-4 December. Places are limited, if you wish to attend this training please contact your organiser.

Full Details...

Course name: Delegate one (basic) training.

Location: ETU Sydney office.

Date/Time:3 - 4 December 2014 starting at 0830.


Mandatory Working with Asbestos Training - ACT

- Friday, September 26, 2014

The scourge of Asbestos has dominated the headlines in the ACT recently mainly due to the well-publicised Mr Fluffy loose fill asbestos insulation saga. Whist this heightened media exposure has caused the ACT government to act definitively for the home owners of these 1000 odd effected properties,  what about the countless tradespeople who have worked on these properties over the years blissfully unaware of the dangers they faced hidden in the wall cavities and underfloor spaces. The fact is that workers likely to encounter Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) products through their respective occupations had been required to undertake basic asbestos awareness training for many years. The fact is this was poorly managed at a government level and the reality was many employers in identified occupations never ensured the proper training was implemented.

Through the ETU and other construction union’s representation on the ACT’s peak Workplace Health and Safety advisory body; the Work Safety Council, the issue of proper asbestos training has been firmly on the agenda for many years. Together with the backing of the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe and other relevant industry associations, a new mandatory regime of Asbestos Awareness training was developed in 2013 and was designed to capture all workers that are likely to encounter asbestos in the workplace as identified in a list of prescribed occupations. This training was required to be provided to all existing employees by 30 September 2014 and subsequently all new employees prior to them starting work. Along with existing mandatory training and licensing of asbestos removalists and assessors, this awareness training formed two of the three tiered approach to asbestos training for the ACT.

The final or third tier of the Asbestos training framework for ACT is now finally underway. This new package is particularly relevant to electrical and communications workers in the ACT as it finally deals with the elephant in the room……working with asbestos. The fact remains that many electrical and communication workers are often faced with tasks involving the cutting, drilling, penetrating or fixing to ACM products in older premises.  Asbestos related work, if carried out correctly, drastically reduces the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres; if not done correctly, exposure to airborne fibres increases dramatically not only for the person doing the work but also others around them.

The aim of this new training package is designed to provide workers with the skills and knowledge to perform these tasks safely, competently, efficiently. It will cover all aspects of Asbestos Related Work from initial planning and risk assessment, selection and use of correct PPE, asbestos fibre containment methods, appropriate disposal of residual asbestos, correct decontamination methods for the site, any tools and protective clothing. It is intended that the training will be developed as a national unit of competency and will only be delivered by accredited register training organisations. Accreditation will be overseen by the project steering committee of which the CEPU is represented. It is anticipated that the final package will be ready for delivery in the first quarter of 2015. The new training will be mandatory for all workers in occupations where asbestos related work is carried out.

The ETU commends the work of the ACT Work Safety Council and the support of the Work Safety Commissioner in not only endorsing, but actively campaigning for this long overdue package of mandatory safety training. The ACT is now leading the way in effective and legislative asbestos training nationally and we call on other jurisdictions to follow suit and mandate asbestos training for all effected workers.

For more information on this subject contact Matt McCann at the CEPU on matt.mccann@etunsw.asn.au

St Helena Tunnel Fit Out

- Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Further update for members wishing to get short term work on the Tunnel fit out.

Lend Lease Infrastructure Services Pty Ltd have been confirmed as the Electrical Contractor and look like they will be beginning in early October 2014, at this stage.

The rates will be as per their Sydney Construction Workplace Agreement 2012-2015 and the current rates from that agreement are displayed below this article.

The expectation from the Contractor is a workforce of up to 40 with the peak around February 2015. There is a further expectation of a majority local workforce for the project.

Tony Abbott's Building Code

- Wednesday, September 24, 2014