Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

The ETU NSW Branch has swung their support behind our Victorian brothers in their fight against Carlton & United Breweries after CUB contracted out the jobs of 54 electricians and fitters and offered the workers to reapply for their old jobs on 65% less pay.

The ETU NSW, AMWU and Unions NSW are hitting the streets tomorrow to raise awareness of this bastard act with members of the public. WE ARE ASKING ALL ETU MEMBERS TO ATTEND ONE OF THE ACTIONS OCCURING TOMORROW IN SYDNEY CBD, PARRAMATTA AND PENRITH.

We will be handing out flyer asking members of the public to boycott CUB products including VB. Details for each event can be found below - please click on the link for each event for full details.

SYDNEY CBD - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 1pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Salim Babar: 0417 286 482)

PARRAMATTA - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 2pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Iris Knight 0429 464 064)

PENRITH - CLICK HERE (Penrith Plaza - Riley St 12noon - 2pm outside Westfield entry/exit handing out flyers. Contact Mary Yaager 0408 931 899)

 

Members and supporters,

Your EBA negotiating committee met with FXA management on Monday 01st August 2016 in a bid to further progress the EBA claim. Further progress was made in the areas of the introduction of GPS and Travelling time. No progress was made in the areas of the pay claim and the introduction of a Status Quo provision for disputes.

Areas of progress on outstanding issues

GPS Tracking as stated in the last update the company has agreed to drop their claim for tracking employees. Instead the proposal is that a volunteer group of employees would participate in a pilot / trial program which would assist FXA in developing a model proposal to be put to employees with a view to subsequent implementation being subject to employee acceptance of the model. The ETU had requested more detail around the parameters on how the trial would be implemented and in the event of full implementation on what basis that would occur. Fuji as of yesterday have come up with the following detail in response;

Additional GIS information as proposed in EA Meeting 14

  • FXA would like to retain the ability to continue pilot phase testing of GIS with a target of no less than 20% of volunteer employees proportioned by state. To ensure geographic coverage we are seeking minimum of 2 engineers per team or 1 for smaller teams where 2  would be greater than 20%.
  • The pilot phase is to capture the benefits to the customer, the organisation and employees in order to validate benefits.
  • Clauses previously tabled regarding FXA assurances to be included in the EBA regarding the implementation of GIS stand.
  • 13.2 FXA undertakes that the introduction of global positioning technologies.
  • 13.2.1   Will not to be used as a disciplinary tool.
  • 13.2.2   Will not be sold to 3rd parties.
  • 13.2.3   Utilised within the privacy act 1988.
  • 13.2.4   Will not be used to track individuals outside of normal business hours of the employee including annual leave, RDO’s and personal leave.
  • The implementation of GIS will be subject to consultation with employee and union representation and can only be introduced through the life of this agreement with the consensus of a 75% majority of field acceptance through an employee vote.

Travelling Time As resolved at the mass meeting on Thursday 28th July, the Company’s proposal that payment of excess travelling time be paid only after travelling occurs over 35km outside the Technicians nominated district was deemed unacceptable.  This was communicated at the meeting with FXA as well as NSW members’ view that it was not a matter of compensation but leeway regarding start times. We made the point that the members believed such leeway should be time based not km based. In the same correspondence as the above GIS proposal FXA yesterday, have come up with the following graduated km based proposal;

First Call of the Day- Start Time Adjustment

It is proposed that calls assigned as first call of the day have a start time grace period under the following circumstances: From time to time to meet our customer obligations we may need to assign calls outside of the employees accustomed working area, or district.


 
Lack of progress on outstanding issues

Pay Rise The current company offer of a $2,000 pay rise in years 1 and 2 of the Agreement and $2,300 for years 3 and 4 stands, with FXA not prepared to offer any more.

Dispute Settlement Procedure (DSP) The current company proposal FXA of retaining the current DSP which has no provision for invoking of status quo remains the company position notwithstanding the fact that the ETU has proposed a set of limiting circumstances under which status quo could be invoked.

At the last mass meeting NSW members gave unanimous delegated authority to take more protected industrial action if a suitable resolution was not reached. As a result a 4hr legal industrial action stoppage of work will occur between the hours of 1:00pm and 5pm Thursday 11th August July 2016. During this time members should attend a stop work meeting to be held at Rosehill Bowling Club, Hassall St, Rosehill. As of 1pm, members should be proceeding to their allocated job then proceed to the above location for the meeting. Your attendance at the meeting is critical.

If you are not a member of the union it is illegal to take this protected industrial action. If are not in the ETU and you want to do the right thing and join in a collective effort to help you and your mates – please go to the website and join today.

In Unity,
MARK BUTTIGIEG
0417 208 447 | markb@etunsw.asn.au

Last night a construction worker was killed in a catastrophic incident on a Canberra building site. First and foremost, the ETU wishes to extend its deep and sincere condolences to the family and friends of the worker who lost his life last night. Our thoughts go out the workers on the site that lost a friend and comrade in such catastrophic circumstances.

From what we know of the incident so far, a crane driver from Sydney was killed when he was struck by the boom of a crane that rolled over during an on-site operation that went horribly wrong. The crane driver was assisting in the operation at the time and was not operating the crane that rolled over.

Electrical workers from Heyday 5 in Canberra were working in conjunction with the site crane crew to relocated a large generator from one area of the site to another. A worker was killed when he was struck by the boom of the non-slewing mobile crane (franna) after it rolled over during the placement of the load. Whilst the electrical workers were not injured as a result of the incident they have undoubtedly witnessed a horrific and catastrophic event that will adversely impact on them psychologically as the initial  shock of the incident wears off. The ETU has made offers of support to the workers and to the company involved.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of how dangerous our industry can be and highlights the importance of being ever vigilant when it comes to workplace safety.

If you need assistance or you wish to talk to your ETU organiser please contact the ETU office on 02 9267 4844 and one of our memberhip services officers assist you.

ETU Cracks Down on Site Safety

Posted on 01-8-2016

As part of the ETU’s construction and contracting campaign the union has started to crack down on worksite safety.

As part of this hardline approach ETU Organisers Mick Hopper and Antony Stegic attended a Lend Lease site at Macarthur Square last week where multiple safety breaches were identified. Builder Lend Lease agreed that the identified breaches needed to be rectified and proceeded to shut down a majority of the job until electrical contractor’s Neilson and All Tech fixed the problems.

Even more disturbing was the fact that All Tech had no licensed electricians onsite despite unlicensed overseas labour hire workers continuing to perform work.

On another site at Sutherland Hospital, builder Richard Crookes was forced to halt work after the ETU identified electrical safety breaches. This time the electrical contractor was Grid Electrical who were forces to rectify issues immediately after being instructed to do so by the builder.

On both sites the union raised concerns over amenities as there was not enough room for all workers to use them. After raising concerns both sites have improved amenities by bringing in additional sheds – a win that will benefit all workers on these sites.

If you have any safety concerns or need assistance on-site please contact your site delegate or ETU Organiser.

Members and supporters,

Your EBA negotiating committee met with FXA management on Monday 18th July 2016 in a bid to further progress the EBA claim. Some more progress was made but not enough to get an Agreement completed prior to the expiry of our right to take protected industrial action in accordance with our successful protected action ballot (PAB) which expires on the 30th of this month.

Areas of progress on outstanding issues.

GPS Tracking: The company has agreed to drop their claim for tracking employees. Instead the proposal is that a volunteer group of employees would participate in a pilot / trial program which would assist FXA in developing a model proposal to be put to employees with a view to subsequent implementation being subject to employee acceptance of the model. The ETU noted this progress with the company but made the point that we required some more firm parameters around how the trial would proceed and on what basis subsequent acceptance, if any, would be deemed legitimate.

Travelling Time: The Company has proposed that payment of excess travelling time be paid only after travelling occurs over 35km outside the Technicians nominated district. The proposal is subject to FXA conducting cost / benefit analysis. The ETU made the point that this proposal, notwithstanding the fact that FXA are yet to make a firm offer until they have conducted the cost benefit analysis, is problematic given the dimensions of the Sydney Metropolitan Area and the density of traffic, so such a radius would rarely result in compensation for excess travelling time.

Lack of progress on outstanding issues.

Pay Rise: The company have offered a $2,00 pay rise in years 1 and 2 of the Agreement and $2,300 for years 3 and 4.

Dispute Settlement Procedure (DSP): FXA wish to retain the current DSP which has no provision for invoking of status quo. The ETU, at FXA’s request provided some limiting parameters around which Status Quo would apply but the company still refuses to consider this provision. The ETU maintained our position that without Status Quo the company simply proceeds through a “tick the box” consultative process then implements decisions which have major impact on our members. Subsequent disputes then have less effect because the changes have already been implemented.

As a result of this remaining impasse we made it clear to FXA that we would be forced to activate member’s right to take protected action in accordance with the successful PBA before that right expires on 30th July. As a result a 2hr legal industrial action stoppage of work will occur between the hours of 8:30am and 10:30am tomorrow 28th July 2016. During this time members should attend a stop work meeting to be held at Rosehill Bowling Club, Hassall St, Rosehill. Members should proceed to their allocated job for an 8:30 start as normal then proceed to the above location for the meeting. I have attached the FXA offer in detail for members to consider, the offer will form the basis of discussion at the meeting during which time direction from members will be sought as to whether or not further actions are required. Your attendance at the meeting is critical.

In Unity,

Mark Buttigieg.

"We couldn't have done it without the ETU" – Chris Walker

Electrical contracting company VMH based in Shellharbour went broke while working on a Lend Lease site at Darling Harbour Live. They were also contracted across major sites with state and federal government funding in Sydney. 

Five ETU members were paid zero superanuation for up to a year and also had their wages, accruals and redundancy payments ripped off. The ETU pursued the issue with primary contractor Johnson Controls and Lend Lease Building to ensure that all ETU members recovered their superannuation and other entitlements which amounted to over $60,000.

The ETU became aware of the situation when one of our members, Chris Walker, enquired about his redundancy entitlements after being let go by the company in April. Initially, Chris wanted to know how much redundancy he was entitled to after working there for several years. However, Chris was unaware that the boss tricked him into reducing his wages to 'help the company'. The boss told him he would have to resign from the company first to make it legal to reduce his wages. In fact what the boss did was to steal his notice period and redundancy payments for the years he had worked. It was another example of wages theft!

ETU organisers Stewart Edward, Fred Barbin and Mick Hopper pursued the matter vigorously to ensure all monies owed were paid.

"This example of a company going broke or not paying correct entitlements on major construction sites is now common.” Said ETU organiser Stewart Edward.

“It is important that all workers check the name of the company they are working for and that it is written on their wage slip. Furthermore, it is essential that workers check that their superannuation is actually being paid into their accounts not just written on their wage slips.” Stewart said.

“Non payment of superannuation is an early indicator that your boss may be winding up the company you work for so it is important for workers to be vigilant." Stewart said.

The ETU understands that the individual involved in running this company may also have been involve in seething up another company with different directors to continue tendering on the same construction sites and with the same builders. The ETU will be keeping an eye on the situation in order to protect members.

If you have any concerns about your wages and entitlements you should contact the ETU on 9267 4844 .

 

As many of you would be aware, on behalf of ETU members at Fuji Xerox around the country the ETU filed an application with the Fair Work Commission for a ballot to take protected industrial action in accordance with the Fair Work Act.

On 30th June 2016 the ballot was declared. The ballot resulted in a 73% participation rate with an overwhelming majority of members voting in favour of all 17 proposed forms of industrial action. The highest yes vote being 99% of participating voters and the lowest being 86%. There is little doubt from this result that members are more than willing to take protected action if necessary. We have 30 days from the declaration to exercise our right to take protected industrial action after which time any actions not taken will lapse and require another ballot.

During the ballot the ETU has continued negotiations with FXA management with some movement but not nearly enough. The last meeting took place on 15 June 2016 and resulted in the following outcomes;

 

EA/Reps and Bargaining Reps

Items

FXA’s position

$3K increase

Pay increase

$2K increase

Yes

Mark B to provide clarification/wording.

Travel Time 30minutes start & finish

Clarification on travel time Clause 38.16.2

No/To review drafted rewording of clause 38.16.2

Yes

Status quo DSP

Agreed on to review clause 40 of the current agreement

No Change

Redundancy

12 Month’s as per FXA corporate policy for new starters

 

EA/Reps and Bargaining Reps

Items

FXA’s position

12.5K

Walking allowance

Agreed

Same as current agreement

Vehicle Allowance

Agreed

No restrictions

Vehicle Allowance Vs Co. Car

No more than 50% of field opp’s employees to have car allowance.

Increase of $2K for the term of the agreement

TS Allowance

Proposed an increase of $1K  for year 1 and year 2, an additional $1K on year 3 and 4 ($2k total over 4 yrs)

GC 45K/ OSG 40K

Minimum pay

Agreed

4 Year

Duration

Agreed

Work Day (Yes)

Drop Point is working time

It is optional and flexible for employees. Can opt out or FXA review removal if not working

Clarification on Working

Clarification on WA travel time for training Clause  25.2

Agreed on proposed wording for WA

 

In terms of GPS tracking, FXA maintain their position that they require this implemented. Our constant feedback from members and the position that we have consistently maintained in the negotiating committees is that members are adamantly opposed to the use of this invasive technology tracking their every move.

Negotiations will continue on Monday 18th July. We will then report back on the progress of those negotiations and ask for feedback from you on whether we then proceed to exercise our right to take industrial action prior to the 30 day expiry date of 30 July. Clearly we are at a fork in the road and the ball is now squarely in the court of Fuji Xerox. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact either myself or your workplace delegate.

In Unity,
 
MARK BUTTIGIEG 
0417 208 447 / markb@etunsw.asn.au

The ETU has secured more than $2,000 in underpayments for a Sydney based Electrical Apprentice after it was discovered his employer was paying him less than the award rate.

The first year apprentice was employed by Halkat Electrical Service over a period of 8 months where the apprentice was paid at the rate of $9.85 an hour when the award rate for a first year electrical apprentice is $11.07.

Over the 8 month period the electrical apprentice was under paid $1,971 in wages and additional $145 in lost superannuation.

Recently the ETU has drawn a line in the sand in the construction and contracting sectors with a zero tolerance approach to dodgy bosses when it comes to member’s rights, conditions and workplace safety.

ETU organiser Fred Barbin who handled the matter said that it is possible other electrical apprentices could be in the same boat.

“My message to electrical apprentices is join your union, know your rights and double check things because bosses will rip you off at the first possible opportunity.” said Fred.

“This apprentice member eventually got what he was owed but it was only because the ETU got involved and force his employer to pay through legal intervention.”

“In the end the ETU took decisive action by notifying principle contractors on sites where Halkat Electrical Services was engaged forcing the boss to pay the apprentice what he was owed.

“Without the help of the union it is likely that this electrical apprentice would never have got his money which is an example of why it is so important for all workers to join their union.” said Fred.

If you are an electrical apprentice, electrician or electrical worker and you suspect you are not being paid correctly you should contact the ETU on 02 9267 4844 and we have one of our organisers assist you.

Following a stoush with management in mid-May after industrial action, ETU members and the union thought we had secured an in-principle agreement however on closer inspection of managements proposed agreement it became clear that management had attempted to sneak in significant changes that would have seen ETU members out of pocket if their tools were stolen while also leaving members that work “short shifts” worse off.

As a result, ETU members at Chubb Fire and Security attended a mass meeting on the morning of Friday 3 June where negotiations were discussed at length. At this meeting members decided that any previous in-principle deal was off as a result of deceitful management tactics. It was unanimously resolved that members would re-double their efforts to secure an outcome that delivers important items such as protection around the use of labour hire, sub-contractors, domestic violence clause and delegates rights clause.

The negotiating committee is scheduled to meet with management this Friday 1 July after which a further update will be provided for members.

In Unity
Steve Bankes – ETU Organiser

The current dispute with Otis over the enterprise agreement is a lot more in depth than what the company is making out. As there are quite a large number of issues to resolve we have agreed to move the stoppage back to Wednesday in order to try and reach agreement without the need for industrial action.

They have deliberately put all of the focus on the service spread of hours to hide from you that they are still trying to steal more of your conditions.

The following are the points that the Union believe are still not agreed:-

  • SITE PRODUCTIVITY ALLOWANCE: The company want to take the allowance off you when you are undertaking off-site work that is associated with the project. This has never been the case before.
  • “ILLEGITIMATE” ALLOWANCES: Leading Hand allowance is probably the main target here. Over the years the company has offered L/H allowance to employees as an enticement to stay with Otis. This has been due to the FACT that other lift companies pay a higher hourly rate and the only way to compete with that is offer an allowance. This is not an EBA issue and should be dealt with by management internally.
  • TRAINING OUTSIDE OF NORMAL HOURS: We are still unsure on this item. You currently have provisions in the agreement that allow for training outside of normal time at single time. There are strict parameters around this but we still aren’t sure how they want to expand them.
  • INCOME PROTECTION: There has been no agreement reached on Income Protection/Top Up insurance. The company has been quick to use the Victorian agreement when pushing compulsory spread of hour but they refuse to talk about the fact that the Vic’s have Top Up.
  • CASHING OUT RDO’S: This is just another way of pushing you back to a 38hr week. If the company has too much work and need you to work through your RDO’s then they should be offering to pay them out at overtime rates.
  • CASHING OUT ANNUAL LEAVE: We have been rejecting this for ever and a day. Why they would even keep bringing it up is beyond me.
  • TAKING OF ANNUAL LEAVE: There is no way in the world we would ever accept that the company can direct you to take annual leave when they haven’t planned enough work. This would lead to members being forced to take a week off in the middle of winter and then having none left when they need it.
  • FARES AND TRAVEL: We have accepted in the past that Fares would be paid at a lower amount on RDO’s now they want to take it away altogether!
  • REPAIRS ALLOWANCE: Richard Langdon has made it clear that as he has put a water container with a hose running off it in each repairs truck Otis can now say they have met the requirements of amenities. What a joke. These blokes continually get filthy dirty on sites with no lunch rooms or toilets. He even suggested that they should go to university in order to find a job that has better conditions.
  • HOURS OF WORK FLEXIBILITY: Otis has been pushing this hard for many years. They currently have the ability to implement late starts but have refused to use the method agreed to previously. Instead they just run the mantra that the Victorians and Queenslanders agreed to it so we should. In both of those States there are provisions for the introduction of various shifts, with appropriate allowances, to cover calls. There has been no talk of that here. All the company has put on the table so far is “no mutual agreement” for service. Given that it was in their log of claims that they want it for all employees there is no doubt they will continue to push it for construction/mods in future agreements.
  • WAGES: The company is currently offering 3% but only if a number of changes are made to the agreement.

In Unity - Steve Bankes.