Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

A worker aged in his 30’s was tragically killed yesterday while working on the construction of the Barangaroo ferry hub. It has been reported that a steel beam fell and crushed the worker at around 4.30pm on the afternoon of Wednesday 1 March.

NSW Police and Safework NSW are investigating but ETU organiser Stewart Edward said that yesterday’s tragic accident was the latest in a long list of OHS problems that have plagued the site ever since construction started.

“My thoughts and the thoughts of all ETU members go out to this workers family.” said Stewart.

“Every single worker deserves to go home safe at night to his or her family and sadly yesterday’s incident is the latest in a long list of OHS problems that have occurred on this site over a period of years.

“I can only hope that this is the last accident and fatality to occur on this site but based on past safety performance I am not confident that it will be.” Stewart said.

“The reintroduction of the ABCC and the building code, which are designed to limit the ability of unions to access sites and represent members, will only make matters worse in the future, but right now we need all members to look out for each other and to identify potential safety breaches before an accident can occur.”

“The best chance workers have at maintaining high safety standards is to join their union and notify us when there is a problem.” finished Stewart.

Work is about to commence on the casino project within the precinct which is expected to provide a further three to four years work of construction work. The ETU has concerns around the level of Labour Hire being used in all trades across the site and the union will be making this a focus well into the future.

With the footy season gearing up the ETU Footy Tipping Comp is now open for people to join. Try your hand a tipping your weekly favourites and get you workmates to join in the fun.

We will again be giving away periodical prizes through the season based on weekly results while the overall competition winner will receive one free week accommodation at the ETU Holiday Cabins at Nambucca Heads on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

CLICK HERE TO BE REDIRECTED TO THE ETU FOOTY TIPPING COMP HOME PAGE.

The competition password is: Electric

In order to be awarded a prize participants must be financial members of the ETU NSW and ACT Branch.

In Unity,

Dave McKinley - Secretary

The 2017 ETU construction RDO calendar is now available for members online and printed versions are available from ETU organisers.

Click here for a printable version.

This morning ETU members at Fredon voted down Fredon's nonunion EBA.  A clear majority of nearly 90 workers overwhelmingly rejected the company's offer to give up their hard fought conditions in return for little more than back pay. The bosses had tried to sneak the agreement out without consulting the ETU, delegates or talking to the workers using 'the carrot' of the back pay and 'the stick' of it not being offered again!

Fredon bosses, including recently appointed NECA national President, Alan Brown rolled out the nonunion EBA to its workers on Friday 9th of December, despite an agreement between Fredon and their employees and their appointed bargaining agent, the ETU. After negotiations stalled earlier this year, Fredon bosses issued an email to its workforce saying that the ETU was seeking further legal advice. The ETU agreed with Fredon management to resume negotiations once they had that advice. Instead of sticking to that agreement, Fredon bosses sought to undermine the union by claiming the ETU had failed to get back to them.  These are the underhanded tactics NECA members have been using for years.

As Fredon bosses are well aware, the only time the ETU could start to get firm advice was after the Federal Election and then the subsequent vote in the Federal senate. This legislation regarding the ABCC and the 'building code only became law from midnight 2nd December 2016. Only then could the ETU start to determine a position which was best for it's members without being forced to give up key employment security clauses protecting labour hire and apprentices rates.  The ETU is currently working through the ramifications of the extreme legislation which was lobbied for by NECA ( see Alan Brown) and passed in the senate by the liberal/nationals, and independents including Pauline Hanson(one nation), Nick Xenophon, Derren Hynch and others.

Th ETU will continue to update members at Fredon on the requests made to Fredon management to sit down to negotiate a union EBA

On behalf of its members at Fredon and across the contracting sector the ETU would like to wish all members,  activists and delegates a Merry Christmas and a happy 2017.

The North West Rapid Transit (NRT) consortium, made up of Hong Kong’s MRT Corporation, John Holland, CPB Contractors and UGL Rail, were unable to produce a heat policy on-site at Schofields yesterday as the temperature climbed above 37*C.

ETU official Tony Stegic attended the site to meet with ETU members and upon leaving found the temperature rising above 37*C. Tony re-entered the site using his OHS access permit and asked NRT for their working in heat policy which the principle contractor was unable to produce.

After dicking around and trying to pass the buck the builder admitted that they did not have a working in heat policy and went on to say “what difference does it make if its 37 or 47…”.

Tony Stegic said that it is this kind of attitude from builders that leads to serious injury and workers being exposed to situations that are unsafe.

“I couldn’t believe what this builder was saying when the temperature was climbing and workers were exposed to a potentially dangerous work environment that could quickly develop into an emergency if a worker suffers heat stroke or other heat related illnesses.” said Tony.

“I immediately contacted SafeWork NSW who said that they would “triage” the job and send an inspector if the agency deemed the situation to be dangerous.”

“It’s disturbing that there are builders out there that do not have a policy in place to deal with severe heat given we are coming into the middle of summer where this kind of occurrence is only going to increase.

“My message to ETU members is keep an eye on the mercury, watch the temperature and if it’s getting too hot or you can see your workmates struggling take the necessary action to make the situation safe including taking a break, conduct a hazard assessment and even stop work all together.” Tony said.

After the recent revelations concering Lend Lease at Barangaroo, the approcah of major builders are taking towards safety is unacceptable.

The ETU will be out on job sites making sure members are protected from severe heat over the summer months – if you know of a dodgy builder that is not abiding by the rules when it comes to working in heat contact the union and we will provide advice and visit the site if necessary.

Sydney Construction Mass Meeting

Posted on 16-11-2016

The ETU is holding a mass meeting for all Sydney Construction members on Thursday 24 November. Issues to be discussed include developments in the Sydney Construction sector and issues faced by electricians, but most of all we want to hear from you.
 
This meeting is an opportunity for members to have their say about what is happening in the industry and to also hear from ETU Deputy Secretary Dave McKinley. Invitations have also been extended to ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks and ETU National Assistant Secretary Dave Mier plus officials from other states.
 
We want to hear from you about your experience onsite including Labour Hire, Apprentices and the various EBA's that have been voted on and supported by a majority of members at each company.
 
Many members are taking 4 hours RDO on the day in order to attend, we urge all members to come along, listen and have your say. Full details are below:
 
What: ETU Sydney Construction Mass Meeting
When: Thursday 24 November 2016
Where: Sydney Congress Hall, 140 Elizabeth Street Sydney - Note new location.
 
In unity,
The ETU Construction Team.

Canberra Construction Update

Posted on 10-11-2016

Electrical Contracting in Canberra construction is a mix of major companies and smaller locals companies competing for work.

The ETU has commenced negotiations with the ACT Branch of Heyday 5 and we will not be expecting any shenanigans like those suffered by our Sydney brothers.

The ETU will also be commencing negotiations with a local company, Martin Donnelly, and we have concluded negotiations, with a good result, with Shepherd Electrical earlier this year. Our friends at Fredon are years late, a dollar short and slow to the table.

While we have continued relatively good relationship with most companies one has snuck under the radar. We attempted a number of times to contact Stowe by post, phone, visits and email. But no response.

What Stowe was up to was convincing employees they needed a “race to the bottom” resulting in some of the lowest rates of pay for Electricians in this area. When the ETU discovered a crappy non-union EBA was lodged in the Fair Work Commission we opposed the agreement. Unfortunatly, the employees had trusted the boss, swallowed the bait and voted yes.

The Stowe Canberra EBA, supported by a majority, provides the following:

  • Transferred apprentices to NECA group training and cuts 30% out of their rates of pay
  • Specifically excluded apprentices from the EBA – to continue low pay rates
  • The existing Licensed Electricians are currently on a rate of $40.72 which will be increased after 2 years by 2.1%
  • The next increase after that will be at 3 years and 2.1%
  • This has created a 1% per year EBA – a tragic outcome for highly skilled workers.

From there it’s all downhill:

  • Newly employed Electricians will start at $29.46 per hour
  • This rate will increase to a maximum of $36.83 per hour after going through a number of steps
  • The increases are at management discretion so you could remain at $29.46

In most other respects the EBA is the same as, or slightly less than, the competition. This is a race to the bottom from what used to be a good employer. This agreement is a dog, and there is no other way of describing it.

ETU Officials in Newcastle are telling me this agreement is now being used as the “blueprint” and being portrayed as the model. ETU members across the state should not fall for this and the only way to secure a better outcome is to join the union, get active, stick together and stand your ground. When it comes to large companies like Stowe, this approach and attempt to dud workers with a substandard agreement is unacceptable.

Stowe cannot be allowed to get away with this anywhere else and while they may have got their Canberra agreement registered, the ETU will be watching these grubs very closely ready to take action at any opportunity.

All ETU members should immediately alert their organiser if their boss attempts to pull a swiftly and follow in the miserable footsteps of Stowe Canberra.

ETU members across the construction sector are raising money and awareness around site safety after five construction workers were killed on Sydney construction sites over the past three weeks.

ETU Recruitment Officer, Mick Hopper said that ETU members were paying their respects to those workers that have lost their lives on construction sites by wearing black arm bands and observing a minute silence at meetings held across sites this week.

“Over the past three weeks we have seen five guys lose their lives on Sydney construction sites.” Said Mick Hopper.

“That is five men to many and five men that did not go home to their families which is unacceptable.

“ETU members are paying their respects and raising awareness about site safety at the same time to make sure no one else is tragically killed.” Mick Hopper said.

“I want to make sure every single ETU member goes home safe each day and our union will not tolerate dodgy bosses who take short cuts when it comes to OHS.”

“If any member has any concerns about safety they should immediately notify the ETU who will attend site and respond to concerns.” said Mick.