General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing
General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing
Weather forecasters are predicting that temperatures will be in excess of 38*C across NSW while the ACT is expected to reach temperatures exceeding 33*C.
All members should be aware of the dangers of heat stress please follow the links below for further information from SafeWork NSW on working in heat.
ETU members should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation, including but not limited to taking regular breaks, conducting individual (personal) risk assessment and/or ceasing work completely.
Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions about working in heat please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.
Dave McKinley - Deputy Secretary
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.
With the support of WorkCover NSW, the ETU and other industry representatives, have developed a free asbestos e‐learning package for electrical workers providing important information on:
What is asbestos
The health risks associated with exposure to airborne asbestos
Where asbestos containing materials may be found in the electrical industry
The safety controls that minimise the risk of asbestos exposure
Examples of real life electrical work situations involving asbestos
To complete the online training simply CLICK HERE.
The Long Service Corporation will soon be cancelling the registrations of workers who have not recorded service for at least 4 years, and who have less than 5 years recorded service in NSW.
The Corporation will be cancelling registrations under Section 19(1A) or 19(2) of the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986.
Notifications of the intention to cancel a workers registration will be issued to approximately 18 000 affected workers on 12 May 2014. Workers will have until 27 June 2014 to lodge an appeal against the cancellation of their registration.
Long Service Corporation have updated their website and Helpline messages with information about the cancellation of registrations.
ETU members are reminded to make sure the Corporation has your correct contact details.
If you have any enquiries about the cancellation process please phone Long Service Corporation customer service on 13 14 41.
The first four information evenings will be held in NEWCASTLE, the CENTRAL COAST, SYDNEY and WOLLONGONG with a further eighteen meetings scheduled across the state.
ALL members from all industry sectors are invited to come along and hear from your leadership team about the challenges we face including industrial matters, campaigns and the latest developments in Superannuation.
Full details for the meetings in Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong including times, dates and venues can be found HERE.
A full list of regional locations and dates can be found HERE. Once times and venues have been finalised for these locations we will notify members.
Food and drink will be served. If you wish to attend please RSVP to Joanne Crowder on 02 9267 4844 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The ETU was instrumental in the recent decision by Fair Work Australia to award significant increases to apprentice award rates of pay. The decision handed down on Thursday 22 August was the culmination of months of hard work coordinated and run by the ETU National Office.
In summary the key points covering the Electrical Contracting Award include:
Junior First year rate with year 12 - increased from 40% to 55% of trade
Junior Second year rate with year 12 - 52% to 65% of trade
Junior Third and Fourth year rates - unchanged (70% and 82% of trade)
Adult First year rate - 80% of trade
Adult Second year rate - minimum wage
Adult Third & Fourth year rate - the higher of the minimum wage or the junior rate
This decision represents a 37.5% pay rise for first year apprentices with year 12 (the rate is set at 50% of trades for first year apprentices without year 12) and we now have adult apprentices rates permanently and nationally.
Due to the size of these increases, there will be a 2 year phasing in period.
The Fair Work Commission has now finished hearing the ETU and other unions’ applications to improve wages and conditions for apprentices. The Full Bench reserved its decision.
Background: What We (And Others) Applied For
Increasing award wages has been central to the ETU’s Apprentice Campaign. To that end, as part of the two-yearly review of modern awards, the ETU applied to vary the Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 to:
increase award wages for junior apprentices from 40%/52%/70%/82% of the trade rate to 60%/65%/75%/90% of the trade rate;
provide that adult apprentices must be paid at no less than the lowest classification in the award and, if an apprentice is employed with the same employer prior to becoming an apprentice, be paid a wage no lower than the award rate applying to the classification in which they were employed;
require employers to pay for travel and accommodation costs associated with training; and
introduce new award obligations concerning mentoring, supervision, and recognition of service, as well as for the provision of two weeks’ notice prior to an employer applying to suspend or terminate a training contract.
The ETU also applied to increase apprentice wages and compensation for travelling to training under the Electrical Power Industry Award 2010 and the Telecommunications Services Award 2010, as well as to increase the lift industry allowance payable to apprentices under the Building and Construction General On-site Award 2010.
The ACTU, AMWU, CFMEU and CEPU – Plumbing Division also applied to vary other awards to improve conditions for apprentices.
A number of parties either applied to introduce competency based wage progression, or urged that it be introduced. The ETU strongly opposed any variation to awards to apply competency based progression to electrical apprentices.
The Australian Industry Group (AIG) applied to vary the National Training Wage Schedule in all awards to try and exclude any existing payments to trainees to cover costs incurred in travelling to training.
Employers / Commonwealth Government
The union applications were opposed by a wide range of employer groups including: the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), the Electrical Contractors Association (Master Electricians); the AIG; Master Builders Australia; the Housing Industry Association; Australian Business Industrial; the Motor Traders Association; the Master Plumbers NSW and Victoria; the Coal Industry Employer Group; all State chambers of commerce and industry; and the Australian Federation of Employers and Industry.
Applications were opposed on a number of very technical jurisdictional grounds and on the merits of the claims. NECA’s central argument was that, in the electrical contracting industry, the proposed increases, or any in fact increase, was not affordable.
The Commonwealth Government supported a “suitable increase” to junior apprentice wages, the introduction of rates of pay for adult apprentices and the union claims relating to employers paying for travel costs. Although the Commonwealth Government strongly supported competency based progression, it also supported an exclusion for electrical apprentices.
Material Before the Full Bench
All applications were heard together over some 22 hearing days. The case opened with oral submissions from Dave Oliver (ACTU Secretary); Peter Tighe; Andrew Dettmer (AMWU National President) and Dave Noonan (CFMEU – C&G Division Secretary).
ETU material in support came from all state branches and also included the Workplace Research Centre Report “The Changing Situation of Electrical Apprentices”. The ETU and NECA brought the largest amount of witness evidence, each with over twenty witnesses. Most parties also relied upon a substantial volume of survey results, research reports and other material.
What Result is Likely?
The Full Bench gave little express indication of its views on either the jurisdictional objections or the merits of particular claims. A best guess might be that the unions’ wage related claims have a better prospect of success than some of the non-wage claims. Any movement on wages appears likely to include a multiple entry wage rate for first year apprentices, for example the three level model based upon years of schooling presently contained in the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010. There is some cause for optimism that an increase of some kind might be granted.
The Full Bench gave no indication of when a decision might be made. Again, a best guess might be that, given the very substantial volume of material before the Commission, a decision could be published in 6 to 8 weeks.
If the Fair Work Commission does grant substantial wage increases to apprentices, it is very likely that they will be transitioned.
It is proposed that the apprentice committee be reconvened to be given the opportunity for a more comprehensive report concerning the proceedings before the Full Bench and to plan the next stages of the Apprentice Campaign.
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