General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

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.

The Offer You've Been Waiting 3 Years For!

Paul Lister - Monday, March 05, 2018

The offer you’ve been waiting 3 years for!

  • BlueScope proposed Introduction of Change Clause
  • BlueScope proposed Retention of Rate Clause
  • BlueScope proposed Part-Time Clause
  • Changes to Individual Flexibility Clause to support Job Share and Transition to Retirement
  • Additional 1% bonus if absenteeism drops below 4%
  • 4-year Agreement with 2% pay rise per year
  • One EA to cover Steelworks and Springhill

The AWU, AMWU and ETU ended the meeting when this offer was put forward.

Whilst we appreciate this is only the first offer made by BlueScope, the offer does nothing to address your claims!

2% is by no means a fair and reasonable pay rise given the sacrifices members have made.

A 1% possible bonus increase is way off the mark when compared to the bonuses Bluescope management receive. You should note that no concern was raised over the cost of relining the Blast Furnace when management bonuses were paid.

Part-Time provisions – We are having enough problems currently with Labour Hire and Fixed Term Employment.

You will receive another message shortly which will allow you to reject this subpar offer and send us back to negotiations next week to refocus the company on your claims.

In Unity,
Brad Currey
ETU Organiser
- 0431 838 852 /


Paul Lister - Friday, March 02, 2018

Dear ETU Members.

Product Safety Australia, a division of the Commonwealth Governments Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, this week issued a product recall relating to Takata Airbags. This recall is compulsory due to significant safety risks and affects a large number of car makes and models and a small number of motor cycles.


If your employer has any of the affected vehicles in their fleet you should first contact your supervisor to find out if the mandatory recall work has been completed or to report that your vehicle is impacted by the product recall.

The ACCC has advised the following:

It is critical that owners of cars with alpha airbags installed take immediate steps to have the airbags replaced because of the significant risk of injury or death involved in using cars with these airbags. All other consumers whose vehicles are on the full recall list are urged to arrange for the replacement of Takata airbags in their vehicles as soon as possible due to the safety risks involved in the use of these vehicles.

If you have any issues arising in the workplace relating to the operation of affected vehicles please immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

In Unity,
Dave McKinley

Bluescope EBA Update - 23 Feb

Paul Lister - Friday, March 02, 2018

Following on from previous week’s discussions, Bluescope has tabled draft clauses on Retention of Rate and Consultation/Introduction of Change. The AWU legal team is currently reviewing these clauses to provide the company feedback at the next meeting.

Further discussions were had about the current bonus systems. Bluescope provided data on how the existing staff bonus system could be applied to members. The AWU, AMWU and ETU have put forward a claim of increasing our current bonus system, as our current bonus system is proving more beneficial.

The company also tabled a proposal on their claim of flexibility. The proposal included the provisions for Part-Time work, job share/Transition to Retirement and the removal of Demarcation between departments. The AWU, AMWU and ETU have stridently opposed part-time work. The AWU, AMWU and ETU have informed the company that we are prepared to further explore how Transition to Retirement might look so long as it provides a benefit to members.

Continued discussions over Penalty Rates on Personal Leave took place. The position of the unions is that penalty rates on personal leave should apply to all members both at the Steelworks and Springhill.

Our claim for two separate agreements at the Steelworks and Springhill is yet to be addressed. We have informed the company that if there is going to be a benefit to members for having one agreement then the company should put those benefits on the table now, otherwise the unions will initiate Fair Work proceedings to ensure 2 agreements are maintained. The company have committed to responding to the Unions by Wednesday 28 February 2018 on the issue of two agreements.

Finally, discussions were held on our claim for 3 x 30-minute crib breaks as standard, unions put a clear position that with issues relating to restructuring of areas, fatigue management and heat stress, the current agreement provision of 2 x 20-minute breaks for 12-hour shift workers is inadequate.

In Unity,
Brad Currey
- 0431 838 852


Peter Moss - Thursday, February 22, 2018
ETU and other union members have combined to vote down a misguided hybrid wages proposal at Centennial Coal’s Mandalong Mine, near Morisset.

On 20 February mine workers rejected by 192-93 an enterprise agreement that would have paid half of each annual pay rise as a flat dollar amount, with half being paid as a percentage.

This would have seen non-trades workers earning a higher hourly rate compared to trade-qualified workers by the end of the three-year agreement.

The hybrid pay system was developed by CFMEU Mining and Energy Division regional leaders but voted down by rank-and-file CFMEU Mining members combined with ETU, AMWU and Professionals Australia members.

Unions will now return to the negotiating table. The ETU expects that the next draft of the EBA will revert to percentage-based annual pay rises, in line with trade union values.

ETU delegate Jason Cowburn said the CFMEU Mining and Energy wages proposal was ‘a severe miscalculation’ that has been rightly binned.

‘The hybrid pay idea failed to take into account basic facts such as the different number of hours worked by groups of workers here at Mandalong,’ said Jason.

‘Any system that results in non-trades workers being paid more than tradespeople is unfair and contrary to long-established relativities based on skills and qualifications.’

Jason said that rank-and-file CFMEU Mining and Energy members had rejected the proposal because it discriminated against trade and professional workers.

‘It’s a victory for solidarity. We have word from Centennial’s mine at Myuna that union members there will also reject any hybrid pay proposal. Hopefully all concerned have learned from this episode and we can move on to improved agreements at both sites,’ said Jason.

Bluescope Combined Union EBA Update

Paul Lister - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Talks with BlueScope management continued this week. 

Discussions were held regarding the introduction of change/consultation clauses. Discussions were focused around the ‘interest’-based approach taken recently, as opposed to the “Letter 1, Letter 2” approach detailed in the current agreement.

The ‘interest’- based approach will be discussed in more detail at the next meeting.

BlueScope management provided further information on the staff bonus (profit share plan) for consideration. This information will be reviewed in future meetings.

Discussions were also held on our claim for penalty rates on personal leave. The Negotiating Committee put forward a strong and forthright stance on this issue, reflecting our membership’s firmly-held desire for these rates. Penalty rates on personal leave will continued to be discussed.

BlueScope management continue to hold concerns surrounding absenteeism levels.

The Next Meeting

Discussion will continue on the matters mentioned above, along with our claim of Trade operator/ staff operator removal/boundaries and our claim for a Classification Structure review.

In Unity,
Brach Currey - ETU Organiser / 0431 838 852

Canberra: Industrial action hits NASA Deep Space Network after negotiations break down with CSIRO management.

Paul Lister - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Staff at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex will stop work this afternoon to protest against efforts by CSIRO management to forcibly implement the Australian Government’s restrictive wages policy, which threatens to negatively impacting their wages and conditions.

More than 70 employees at the facility, including operational, engineering and administrative staff, will stop work for an hour from 2.20pm today, delaying the handover of communications responsibilities from the Goldstone deep space complex in California.

The Tidbinbilla facility is one of three deep-space communications facilities that support dozens of interplanetary spacecraft missions as part of the NASA Deep Space Network, the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system on earth. While the centre is managed and operated by the CSIRO, it is entirely funded from NASA's space exploration budget with no financial contribution from the Australian Government.

The industrial action involves members of the Electrical Trades Union, Professionals Australia, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.

ETU Canberra organiser Mick Koppie said negotiations between the unions and the CSIRO had been ongoing for nine months but had bogged down over management’s attempts to impose the Turnbull Government’s controversial wages policy, designed to reduce the pay and conditions of public servants.

“We have an extraordinary situation where workers at a facility that is completely funded by NASA to provide vital space communications are having their wages and conditions attacked as part of the Turnbull Government’s ideological war against the public service,” Mr Koppie said.

“Despite the fact that not one cent of funding for the Tidbinbilla deep space complex comes from the Commonwealth Government, workers have been told by management that they need to be covered by the restrictive wages policy that has already caused extensive industrial unrest across the public service.

“Today’s industrial action has not been taken lightly, but workers feel that delaying the scheduled handover of communications from California is the only way the leadership at NASA will be made fully aware of the mismanagement of this vital facility that is taking place at the behest of the Australian Government.”

Mr Koppie said industrial action was likely to escalate further if CSIRO management refused to budge, potentially causing disruption to NASA’s global deep space tracking and communication capabilities.

“Our members know just how vital their work is for maintaining communications with significant interplanetary research missions, which is why they have endured nine months of failed negotiations before taking this action,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the CSIRO board has dug its heels in and is insisting the Commonwealth’s wages policy be imposed on Tidbinbilla, leaving workers with no choice but to stop work in protest.”

Change the Rules Rally - 16 November

Paul Lister - Monday, November 13, 2017

Join us 11.30am Thursday 16 November - Belmore Park, Sydney (near Central Station).

Are you 30yrs or younger? Join us for ETU Youth

Paul Lister - Friday, November 03, 2017