General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

Bluescope reportback following Fair Work Commission

Peter Moss - Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bluescope Reportback following Fair Work Commission

Dear Members

As you are aware, The AWU, ETU and AMWU sought the assistance of the Fair Work Commission yesterday to bring Bluescope to the table. Following a brief report from the Unions and the company, both sides separately met with Deputy President Dean to discuss the current negotiations and the points that we are currently unable to reach agreement on.

The parties then reconvened, and some discussions were had around BlueScope’s offer. It is clear that at the moment Bluescope are unwilling to move from their current position. Bluescope also introduced a new claim, Bluescope indicated that they want to remove the existing superannuation clause from the agreement and have it contained in an MOU. The Unions are opposed to the removal of this clause.

The Unions had a brief discussion with the commissioner on how we could continue to have the assistance of Fair Work and keep Bluescope talking.

The Unions agreed to put to Bluescope that we use the Interest Based Bargaining process properly, with the process assisted and controlled by the Commission in an attempt to resolve the outstanding issues. Bluescope agreed to this.

Whilst we continue with our industrial campaign the Unions believe that we should be exploring every avenue in trying to achieve an acceptable EBA outcome. We need to keep talking and negotiating while apply pressure through industrial action.

The interest based bargaining process is entered into only by agreement and the outcome of bargaining must be agreed by the Unions and the Company and final acceptance by the membership is through the normal EBA approval formal voting process. So if an acceptable outcome can not be achieved through this process it is not forced upon the members unless you agree to it.

We have nothing to lose by trying a new approach to bargaining. At the moment the answer to our outstanding claims is “NO”, if interest-based bargaining can shift some of those answers we should explore it.

When? 17th, 18th & possibly the 19th of December 2018.

During these 2-3 days we will pause our industrial action to allow negotiations to take place.

Yours in Unity
Brad Currey, ETU Organiser, NSW Branch.

ETU members launch wage justice campaign at Bluescope

Peter Moss - Friday, September 14, 2018
ETU members at Bluescope Steel have launched an industrial campaign for wage justice and to restore lost conditions.

Around 150 electricians joined ongoing action including stoppages and bans at Bluescope’s Port Kembla and Springhill plants.

Workers belonging to the ETU, AWU and AMWU are fighting for a decent pay rise and the reinstatement of conditions lost in 2015.

Employees accepted a wage freeze and sacrificed significant conditions after the company threatened to close Port Kembla operations. ETU members and others lost thousands of dollars are a result.

But now business is booming with Bluescope raking in $1.6 billion profit last year – the company’s second strong annual result and highest profit in a decade. No Australian corporate tax was paid on that profit due to previous losses being brought forward.

Despite this 119 percent increase in profit, Bluescope refuses to make an acceptable wage offer or restore conditions in stalled EBA negotiations.

Members of combined unions have dug in for a long battle, said ETU organiser Brad Currey.

‘Workers are rightfully angry that the company is all take and no give. The sacrifices made in 2015 saved $60 million. It’s time for employees to receive a fair share of the profits generated by their committed hard work,’ said Brad.

Launch of ETU Active for ETU Honoarary Members

Peter Moss - Thursday, August 09, 2018

Bluescope EBA Update - 5 July

Paul Lister - Monday, July 09, 2018

Apologies for the late update, we have been waiting for Bluescope to finalise and confirm their offer which has continually changed since Friday.

Following 2 days in The Fair Work Commission last week the following is a Summary of The Company’s Current Position:

7.5% over 3 years or 9.5% over 4 years is NOT ACCEPTABLE given the sacrifices made by members.

Penalty Rates on weekend Sick Leave HAS NOT been addressed. What the company is offering will only benefit a few people over the life of the agreement.

The $4000 would normally be paid in September but is being brought forward to buy your vote.

One agreement for both sites with no real benefit to members.

The following mass meetings will be held at the North Gate Visitors Centre

Steelworks Mass Meeting (off shift) – Thursday 12th July 6am & 6pm

Springhill Mass Meeting (off shift) – Friday 13th July 6am & 6pm

The ETU will be asking members to Reject this offer and we will be discussing our Next Steps.



Purpose: Discuss Next Steps and Reject the Company proposal
When: Steelworks – Thursday 12th July, 6am & 6pm
Springhill – Friday 13th July, 6am & 6pm
Where: North Gate Visitors Centre
(Please note these are not paid meetings, members should select either 6am or 6pm depending on your Roster)

In Unity,
Brad Currey

ETU Youth Meeting - June 14

Paul Lister - Monday, June 04, 2018

Come and join us on Thursday 14 June for pizza and beer and to talk about issues affecting electrical apprentices in the work place.

Come along and meet Tara Koot, the ETU's apprentice officer, have your say and meet other like minded electrical apprentices.

Bluescope EBA Update - 23 May

Paul Lister - Thursday, May 24, 2018

As previously reported, the Unions have lodged a “Bargaining dispute” with The Fair Work Commission in an attempt to bridge the gaps over our outstanding claims.

Today we had a brief phone conference with Deputy President Dean of the Fair Work Commission to set dates for the Bargaining Dispute.

On 4 June 2018 at 12:00pm we will be having our first meeting at the Fair Work Commission, with the 28 & 29 June 2018 also scheduled if required.

Why have the Unions lodged A Bargaining Dispute?

The Unions feel that negotiations have stalled, progress is not being made in relation to our key claims of:

% increases; penalty rates on personal leave; bonus system; two separate enterprise agreements; and the trade / staff operators.

With our enterprise agreements expiring on 23 July 2018 we could either continue discussions and hope progress is made to avoid protected action or seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission to help facilitate discussions between the parties on the issues.

As this is the Unions’ application to the Fair Work Commission, if we feel that the Bargaining Dispute is not helping to resolve our differences we can withdraw at any time.

The next negotiation meeting will be held on 24 May 2018.

In Unity

Brad Currey

CEPU Financial Accounts 2017

Paul Lister - Thursday, May 17, 2018

In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Registered Organisation Act 2009 the CEPU Electrical Division, NSW Branch (the Branch) has made available to members the complete financial report and associated documents for 2017.

By law the Branch must provide a copy of their financial report to members, this can be downloaded from the members area after logging in.

Click here to access the CEPU 2017 financial report.

ETU State of the Union Meetings

Paul Lister - Thursday, May 10, 2018

ETU Secretary Dave McKinley is travelling across NSW and the ACT over the coming months to meet ETU members. Dave will report back on recent industrial matters and provide you with an update on the major Change the Rules campaign that the ETU in NSW is playing a leading role.

The State of the Union meetings will kick off with the following four meetings, additional dates and locations covering the rest of the state will be provided as they are confirmed:

  • Wednesday 23 May - Sydney West - Revesby Workers Club, 2b Brett St Revesby
  • Thursday 24 May - Sydney East - Randwick Labour Club, 135 Alison Rd Randwick
  • Wednesday 30 May - Central Coast - Erina Leagues Club,
  • Thursday 31 May - Newcastle - Hunter Workers, Level 3 / 406-408 King St Newcastle

All members are invited to attend and must RSVP for catering purposes, finger food and drinks will be provided from 7pm. Please email your name, mobile number and event location/date to or call 02 9267 4844 and ask for Joanne.

We look forward to seeing you at your local State of the Union meeting.

Bluescope EBA Update - 23 April

Paul Lister - Monday, April 23, 2018

No meetings were held over Easter and last week’s meeting was postponed at Bluescope management’s request.

The following is a summary of items discussed, some matters were positively progressed:

Classification Structure Review – Bluescope have provided words that we have indicated we are prepared to include in the final offer.

A review will be undertaken by a joint working group, made up of employee and company representatives. The review will take place during the life of the new agreement. From the unions’ side, the review will focus on establishing a reclassification process, access to higher levels and providing clear definitions and guidelines for each level. From Bluescope management’s perspective, the review will focus on maximising flexibility and efficiency, removing classifications no longer required or utilised and ensuring classifications reflect current and future work requirements.

Fixed Term Employment – Bluescope have provided a clause with the minimum 6-month and maximum 12-month engagement. The company have sought a 2-year maximum in certain circumstances. Once we have agreement for the 2-year option to be removed, we will have an agreed clause.

Part Time Employment – Bluescope are still pursuing part-time provisions in the agreement. We have been very clear that these provisions will not be agreed to by our membership. We have communicated that further pursuit of these provisions has the potential to derail discussions surrounding the agreement. The unions have communicated that we are only willing to explore job-sharing in context of employees who are transitioning to retirement. Further discussions will be held regarding job sharing and transition to retirement.

Bonus – Bluescope have talked through what a 7.5% PSP (Staff Bonus) would look like. When the PSP pays 100%, 67% of employees would be better off than on the current LSPS. When the PSP pays 150%, 93% of employees would be better off than on the current LSPS.

Our claim remains at 15%. We have asked for figures on the PSP at 10% rather than 7.5%. Discussions to continue.

Disputes procedure – the unions’ claim has been for a procedure that covers all workplace matters. To date Bluescope has refused to entertain this claim. Yesterday an alternative was tabled by Bluescope to cover all workplace matters, that being:

  • linking the “Fair and Just culture for all” policy to the agreement. This is a policy that provides a clear and transparent approach to incidents and investigations.
  • linking a “Fair Treatment System” to the agreement. This system will allow for disputed issues to be reviewed by the one-up manager. If either party is not satisfied with the outcome following that step, a review can be conducted with the General Manager of Manufacturing and/or a Review Panel.

Unions have also asked that Timeframes be placed on Warnings:

  • 3 Months for Informal Warnings
  • 6 months for Formal Warnings
  • 12 months for Final Warnings

Bluescope are maintaining their position of one agreement for both sites. The combined unions will now seek the assistance of the Fair Work Commission with this issue.

Other Claims still being discussed which have not yet been finalised:

  • Casuals/Labour Hire
  • Trade Operator
  • Penalty rates on Personal Leave
  • Wage Increase

The next negotiation meeting will be held on 26th April 2018.

Bluescope EBA Update - 12 March

Paul Lister - Monday, March 12, 2018

Following last week’s meeting, the unions sought feedback from members regarding the offer tabled by BlueScope management. The offer was rejected by 99.28% of the membership.

Members indicated they were angered by the offer. Members consistently felt the offer was well short of their expectations and didn’t deal with the claims the unions have been pursuing.

The Unions tabled draft clauses on the following claims:

  1. Casual Labour (employed by Bluescope)
  2. Conversion from casual positions to permanent positions after 6 months
  3. Measures ensuring that Labour Hire and Contractors are paid no less than employees engaged under the agreement.
  4. Fixed Term Employees should be employed for a maximum 12 months, after which time they become permanent.
  5. Disputes Resolution Procedure – to allow all matters to be covered under the Disputes Procedure. Status Quo provisions would also be put in place to ensure that the situation that existed prior to the dispute arising will be maintained.

Discussions were also held around updating departmental agreements, classification structure review, deduction of Union fees and two separate agreements.

Bluescope have expressed concerns over clauses relating to casuals, contactors, labour hire and disputes procedures and are continuing to push for one agreement for both sites.

We are pushing for two separate agreements.

We are agitating around the issues above relating to casuals, contractors, labour hire and enhanced disputes procedure as these are vital protections which are key within any future agreement.