General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

ETU welcomes leadership on steel

Posted on 16-6-2016

The ETU representing more than 70,000 people working in high-skill blue-collar trades has welcomed the news that a Labor government will invest in Australian steel.

The announcement of a joint investment in a $150 million steel reserve between federal labor and the South Australian governments demonstrated a realistic and credible plan for Australian steel, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) national industrial officer Matt Murphy said on Thursday.

Mr Murphy said that the announcement would help troubled South Australian steelmaker Arrium weather the current steel glut and return to health.

“Arrium has been teetering on the edge of a financial cliff for months, and if it falls it takes thousands of Australian steel and manufacturing jobs with it,” he said.

“It’s testament to the co-operative efforts of working people, administrators and creditors that we have kept the company alive, but we need credible long-term leadership from government. Until today it has been absent.”

Mr Murphy called on the federal government to match the ALP’s commitment.

“It’s beyond ideology at this point – people’s livelihoods are at stake. Malcolm Turnbull knows a good idea when he sees it, and one has been put in front of him.”

“It’s time for the government of Australia to support its steel industry the same way our major trading partners do.”

“Anything less from Turnbull represents a failure of leadership. It’s time to show that the government’s commitment to industry extends beyond slipping on a hi-vis for photo ops.” 

CEPU/ETU 2015 Financial Accounts

Posted on 15-6-2016

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 2015.

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/ETU 2015 financial report.

ETU members are invited to attend a public forum on the future of education covering TAFE and university. The forum will be held on Wednesday 15 June at the Campbelltown RSL, 1 Carberry Lane, Cambelltown at 7pm.

Please RSVP to: mstuart@actu.org.au

Attn ETU Retired members - please see below a timetable of campaign events being organised and supported by the Unions NSW retired members committee. For more information contact Alison Rahill at Unions NSW tel 02 9881 5923 mob 0414 316 839 Email arahill@unionsnsw.org.au.

 

THURSDAY 12 MAY
LUNCHTIME 11:30am – 1:30pm International Nurses Day. Leafleting Medicare and Budget cuts Concord Hospital, Hospital Rd Concord. Meet at the big pedestrian crossing. (Bus to Concord Hospital from Strathfield train station 458 or 459).

SATURDAY 14 MAY
MORNING 9:00am – 12:00pm street stall and leafleting in front of the Five Dock Post Office 106 Great North Rd, Five Dock. Pat mobile 0418 616 858.

MORNING 9:00am – 11:00am street stall and leafleting sporting grounds Edwards Park Brewer St Concord.  Jill mobile 0414 231 959.

MONDAY 16 MAY
MORNING 7:30am – 9am Concord West train station and street stall.

TUESDAY 17 MAY
LUNCHTIME 1:00PM – 4PM meet at the Country train station North exit, we will travel together to Neutral Bay Jillian Skinners Office for an Aged Care protest. Return to AFTERNOON 3pm – 4:30pm Gonski action. Assemble Burwood Park corner Burwood Rd and Park St Burwood (opposite the entrance to Westfield, next to the War Memorial).

WEDNESDAY 18 MAY
AFTERNOON 3:30PM – 5:00PM Gonski action. Leafleting and street stall for Gonski in Strathfield Square opposite the Strathfield train station.

THURSDAY 19 MAY
MORNING 7:30AM – 9:00AM leafleting Homebush train station.

FRIDAY 20 MAY
MORNING 7:30AM – 9:00AM leafleting North Strathfield train station.

SATURDAY 21 MAY
AFTERNOON 1:30PM – 4:30PM Doorknocking union members meet at the Tigers Five Dock Corner Barnstaple Road and Ingham Ave, Five Dock.

SUNDAY 22 MAY
ALL DAY 10:00am – 2:00pm information stall at the Rhodes Bridge Opening, west of Rhodes train station in the Park near the new bridge.

MONDAY 23 MAY
MORNING 7:00am – 9:00am leafleting Strathfield train station.

TUESDAY 24 MAY
AFTERNOON 2:30pm – 4:30pm street stall and leafleting Croydon train station and in front of the Post Office 1 The Strand, Croydon. Jill mobile 0414 231 959.

THURSDAY 26 MAY
LUNCHTIME 11:30am – 1:30pm International Nurses Day. Leafleting Medicare and Budget cuts Concord Hospital, Hospital Rd Concord. Meet at the big pedestrian crossing. (Bus to Concord Hospital from Strathfield train station 458 or 459).

PLEASE NOTE: EXTRA CAMPAIGN MEETING MONDAY 30 MAY 10AM – 12 PM TRADES HALL

Update for ETU members at Arrium

Posted on 18-4-2016

During the past week there have been a number of developments in the Arrium administration process that you should be informed of.

Unions and other creditors have elected to appoint KordaMentha as the company’s administrator. KordaMentha has a strong history of working constructively with unions and securing worker entitlements in situations such as this. We are confident that we will be able to reach the best possible outcome working with them.

The ETU and other unions are representing 6600 workers at 181 sites around Australia. We are determined to engage in a process that focuses on the preservation of jobs, of value, and of Arrium as a going concern – we don’t want the company to be propped up only to fall over again in six months.

We will ensure that there is money to cover all outstanding entitlements – employees of the company have priority over other unsecured creditors in this situation. The banks are locked in and are not allowed to sell their debt.

At this stage there are no redundancies or job cuts planned as part of the administration process.

We are meeting regularly with other creditors and will provide updates throughout the administration process.

We encourage members who have not appointed the ETU as their proxy for the administration process and wish to do so to obtain a proxy form from the local administrator representative and complete it in consultation with your local organiser for forwarding to the national office of the ETU.

Questions may be directed to Justin Page - justinp@etunsw.asn.au / 0414 877 301. 

A Save Our Steel Rally will be held at 8am this Friday outside the North Gate of BlueScope Steel, Springhill Rd Coniston.

The Senate Inquiry into the future of the Australian Steel Industry will commence its hearings in Wollongong on Friday with a tour of the facility followed by hearings on Level 9, Wollongong City Council.

We plan a strong display of solidarity with steelworkers and the other industries dependent on it such as mining, transport, manufacturing and construction and it will provide an opportunity for the broader union movement and Illawarra community to show their support as well for this critical industry and for the right to work in our own country.

Please come along to support Illawarra ETU members.

The ETU is seriously concerned at the latest figures which show the number of people undertaking an apprenticeship - including in the electrical trades - has plummeted.

Shadow Minister for Skill's David Harris pointed out today that the number of apprenticeships being undertaking in September last year was 82,600 down from 146,200 in 2010.

This drop of almost 50% in five years is alarming. At the same time the ETU has witnessed a reduction in the quality of trade outcomes following the implementation of "Smart & Skilled" which has financially gutted the TAFE system and reduced face to face training time.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that this is a worrying trend which is not reversed will have severe consequences for all trades right across NSW.

"We have had feedback from many employers saying that the quality of apprentice training has dropped significantly." Steve said.

"On the job employers are seeing a drop off in the skills of apprentices particularly around competency and safety."

"The ETU has commissioned research into trade outcomes to help identify the problem and how it may be addressed."

"We have already started talking to MPs about changes and we will have more to say on this front later this month." said Steve.

In October and November last year the Visy paper mill located in Tumut underwent is annual shutdown to facilitate major maintenance and upgrade work. During this period an increased number of contractors attended the site to undertake work around control systems, wiring, switchgear and other electrical work.

The shutdown was marred by multitude of safety problems and other issues. The ETU had concerns relating to fatigue as electricians were required to work 12 hour shifts while commuting long distances, in some cases more than 100 kilometres each direction.

The first day of the shutdown saw a major incident when a large section of roofing collapsed. The ETU was astounded by Visy managements response after they simply said “lucky no one was there”. If only this was true! At least one worker had to dive under a table to escape the falling roof section measuring 40 meters by 15 meters. The ETU understands that there were at least 5 or 6 workers onsite and in the vicinity.

A list of other safety incidents at the Visy site include:

  • Two Electric Shock incidents with one resulting in a 4th year apprentice being hospitalised.
  • Crane Rollover outside the perimeter of the site with Rural Fire Service, Police and Ambulances responding.
  • Two switch rooms infiltrated by water resulting in explosions and the need to rebuild them.
  • A worker suffered burns from caustic or acid solutions during the replacement of control gear.
  • Repeated sounding of Gas Alarms at the site.
  • Delay in allowing ETU officials to immediately enter the site under WH&S right of entry – the company delayed entry by two and a half hours.
  • Excessive hours with some EBAs including a minimum of 12 hours per day for 6/7 days straight.

The ETU also has concerns that union members maybe being targeted by management after the company made changes to individual staff working conditions after safety concerns were raised and complaints were made.

The ETU is continuing to monitor the Visy site closely while providing members with industrial support.

Extreme Heat Forcast for NSW

Posted on 12-1-2016

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

All members must be aware of the dangers of heat stress and familiarise themselves with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy and 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: 

             
TEMPRETURE
DETAILS
0-28C

Continuous work with normal breaks.

28-38C

Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.

38C+

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).

 

Please use these links to access a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat policy (2003)Workcover 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.