Electricity, Water and Utilities

The union has managed to successfully convince Ausgrid of the value in having our delegates directly participate in identifying opportunities for mix and matching permanent roles whereby staff who want to take a VR can do so and allow other staff to gain these permanent roles. Previously this management selected process has not been thorough enough to exhaust opportunities which members were telling us were available but managers were either actively resisting, ignoring or not supporting. What we need and now have is a process which formally allows our delegates to highlight such opportunities.

 

The way the process will work is that the committee has 7 permanent delegates as members of the committee. I have attached the list of permanent committee members. If members are aware of circumstances whereby mix and match opportunities exist they should brief their relevant delegate who will then either take the proposal to one of the nominated committee delegates or join the committee themselves on an as needs basis to present the case directly. I have attached a form, which specifies the details of the case, which members / delegates need to complete for submission to the committee. Fill out as much detail as possible. Management will then inform us as to whether the case can be facilitated and if not why not. To be clear Ausgrid retain final discretion over the decision but the process allows us to thoroughly exhaust all opportunities.

 

Notwithstanding extenuating circumstances, it is important for all members to understand that the ETU is not in the business of securing straight VR’s for people just because they have a desire to leave. This simply leaves our industry with fewer jobs for our members. Our absolute priority is to secure jobs for our members who otherwise do not have permanent employment. To that end we will always support a mix and match back-fill which results in our members achieving a permanent position and that is the function of the committee.


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Fair Work Conciliation Hearing

Posted on 17-5-2017

On the 16th May the ETU’s dispute re Work Capacity Assessment Procedure was before DP Sams of the Fair Work Commission. Both sides argued their case if in fact effective consultation had occurred. DP Sams directed the parties to focus on the key issues of difference in relation to the Procedure.

The ETU outlined the following key issues-

  1. The scope of “employees who work on or near the network” is too broad. The Procedure should be restricted to Live Line & Heavy Vehicle employees as there are statutory requirements in place that Work Capacity Assessments must be carried out for these workers.
  2. The Procedure document is deficient in ensuring that employee’s personal medical history details and specific outcomes of the Assessment are kept confidential and not disclosed to Essential.
  3. The Procedure document is deficient in outlining what the blood and urine test will be used for.
  4. If the employee appeals the Work Capacity Assessment outcome and requests an independent Medical Practitioner it should be at the employers cost, not the employees.
  5. The Procedure document is deficient in outlining what happens if an employee is deemed “Unfit for substantive duty –permanently”.

As part of the application the Union applied for an interim order imposing the status quo. Essential opposed the status quo and after much debate it was agreed that the ETU would not pursue status quo at this stage as Essential agreed to meet over the next couple of days to address the 5 key issues in a timely manner.

The parties met directly after the hearing and significant progress was made on issues 2, 3, 4 & 5. The parties are still apart on issue 1.

Essential did clarify that employees are not required to go to their GP and get a full medical history or reports to present to InjuryNET.

Essential clarified that they do not receive any personal information as a result of what the employee discloses to InjuryNET or specific details of the assessment outcome. That information is kept confidential with InjuryNET covered by Privacy Laws. Essential only receives the outcome of the assessment from InjuryNET stating the employee’s current fitness level -“Fit for substantive duty –unconditional”, “Fit for substantive duty –conditional”, Unfit for substantive duty –temporary” or Unfit for substantive duty –permanently”.

The parties committed to work through the issues over the next few days to try and resolve the dispute. The matter was left open with FWC in case resolution cannot be reached.

As the matter is still in dispute, and until the requirements are clarified, the ETU advises that in the interim, members should hold off attending any medical assessment. If you are threatened with discipline, inform the person threatening you that you are exercising your legal right to be represented by your Union and contact your local delegate or Organiser immediately.

Members are reminded you are legally entitled to have ETU Representation in any employment matter including investigations, performance matters, disciplinary matters, safety matters etc.

The ETU will keep members updated on this matters through our ETU workplace delegate’s network, Facebook and via the ETU website.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary
ETU NSW

2016 CEPU Financial Accounts

Posted on 08-5-2017

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 2016.

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 2015 financial report.

Today the ETU lodged a Dispute with the Fair Work Commission re Work Capacity Assessment Procedure. As part of the application the Union has applied to the Fair Work Commission for an interim order imposing the status quo.

Last week we wrote to Essential Energy raising serious concerns with EE’s implementation of the Work Capacity Assessments. The ETU requested EE provide evidence that genuine consultation has occurred with the ETU & the estimated 1850 employees this will affect. We requested EE provide evidence it has met its consultation obligations under the Work Health & Safety Act and the Enterprise Agreement.

The response from EE this week was an attempt to show that consultation had occurred. What the evidence clearly shows, is that no genuine consultation has occurred with the ETU or 1850 employees this procedure will affect, in our view, breaching their obligations.

As a result of our letter and the Notice to members last week, EE fast tracked booking employees into medical assessments and threatened disciplinary action if employees refuse to adhere to the assessments.

The ETU advises that in the interim, refrain from giving any consent or disclosing any personal medical history, blood or urine to the 3rd party providers –InjuryNET. Hold off attending any medical assessment. If you are threatened with discipline, inform the person threatening you that you are exercising your legal right to be represented by your Union. Contact your local delegate or Organiser.

Members are reminded you are legally entitled to have ETU Representation in any employment matter including investigations, performance matters, disciplinary matters, safety matters etc.

The ETU will keep members updated on this matters through our ETU workplace delegate’s network, Facebook and via the ETU website.

Dave McKinley
SECRETARY
ETU NSW

More Ausgrid Job cuts; 


Members would be aware that Ausgrid have proposed a further reduction in their already decimated workforce by another 300. Most of these 300 are to come from management and administrative ranks and represent almost 10% of the current workforce. 


Ausgrid have engaged the unions on the consultative process and ETU delegates have been nominated in most areas where the ETU has coverage. I have included a summary of the areas that are affected by the proposed reductions on the following page and the delegates nominated to date. If members are aware that they are in an affected area and do not have representation, please contact your delegate or myself to ensure adequate representation.


Last week I wrote to Ausgrid in response to a time-table they had requested on consultation over these reductions. In that correspondence I made it clear that the combined unions were not satisfied that the previous mix and match process was carried out with enough input and scrutiny from our members and delegates. That scrutiny we believe was and is absolutely necessary for us to be able to maximise opportunities for those who want to stay - to be mixed and matched in to roles for which people have expressed an interest in taking a V/R. 


I proposed that we form a mix and match committee to deal with various opportunities which our members and their delegates would be aware of. Ausgrid have now agreed to this process which we will be implementing over the coming weeks. I would encourage all members to feed any such opportunities back through their delegates so that this committee will be able to consider them. Details of the committee members will be forthcoming shortly.


Ausgrid EBA Progress; The next EBA meeting is not scheduled to occur until 31st May but in the meantime subcommittees consisting of negotiating committee representatives are meeting to finalise proposals on classifications, overtime and shift work. At that 31st May meeting we also expect Ausgrid to come back to us on firm proposals around Redundancy and Redeployment with further discussions towards finalising dispute settlement procedure and consultation.


May Day; On another note the union movement will be celebrating May Day this Sunday 7th May with a march and family fun day commencing 12:00 at Hyde Park Nth and ending at Prince Alfred Park. At the end of the march there will be food, rides and entertainment for the kids. I encourage all members to attend this great event and stand with us to celebrate and recognize the achievements of the union movement and the contribution that all unionists have made to Australian society over the past 150 years. I have attached a flier to the notice – please encourage your friends and family to attend.



Area Affected

Nominated Delegates

 

 

 

Field Services

Luke White (ETU) 0408 467 504;

Pat Keefe (ETU) 0429 019 620;

Peter Kramel (ETU) 0422 570 060;

Josh Williams (ETU) 0408 252 581;

Peter Cantlon (ETU) 0414 192 117;

Jason White (ETU) 0438 287 221;

Paul O'Neil (ETU) 0418 283 997.

Michael Whitton (ETU) 0415 549 487; 

Sean Russell (ETU) 0427 937 832.

Peter McNeil (ETU) ; 0405 332 351

Customer

Wayne Hudson (ETU) 0409 048 273 ;

Aaron Cole (ETU) 0457 513 327.

Bob Dupesovski (ETU) 0419 244 463

Brad Marks (ETU) 0400 795 866.

Finance

Megan Hambley (ETU); 0428 241 426

Lloyd Williams (ETU) 0414192192

Asset Management Operations

Peter Doolan (ETU) 0417227 449,

Dean Robertson (ETU) 0400 309 607

People & Safety

Darran Miller (ETU) 0458 203 390

Legal & Company Secretary

 

Corporate Affairs

 



Download the PDF file

The ActewAGL Enterprise Agreement was voted on the 27th April with a 90% YES vote. Big thanks go to those dedicated ETU members who participated, particularly Peter Brewer, thanks Pete.

Negotiations commenced in January 2017 and an in-principal agreement was made in early April. The ETU went to ActewAGL with a strongly supported “minimal change” position but with a fair pay outcome, which was ultimately agreed by the Employer.

ETU Delegates provided valuable feedback to members and brought comments and input back to the negotiating team. The quick turnaround our members provided meant the union was able to progress negotiations quickly, we also kept members updated meaning they were on board through the entire process.

There was one hiccup, unintendedly created by management, with a previously rejected career progression scheme being revived during the bargaining process. The scheme had been modified and was a case of good intentions, bad timing.

The changes to the previous agreement agreed to by the ETU and the company updated and corrected the agreement including the model consultation clause that had been added by the Fair Work Commission in 2014.

The agreement is a three year agreement that delivers inflation busting 3% pay increases each year meaning ETU members will be almost 10% better off over the life of the agreement.

The 2014 agreement (won by ETU members and supported by Neville Betts) was already a cracker with 15% Super, redundancy up to potential 96 weeks’ pay and a number of other worker friendly provisions.

Given the unfriendly nature of the distribution industry in recent years we always need to make sure that the “exit” (redundancy) provisions are as good as we can get. The AER has seen distributors mercilessly cut numbers and find new and inventive ways of getting rid of Staff. These provisions need to be strong in any EBA and this agreement delivers a strong outcome for ETU members.

The agreement will now be lodged before the current agreement expires on 1 July 2017, and so will replace the existing EBA. It is listed for hearing on Friday 4 May and will no doubt sail through the process.

Overall, while there is more we would have liked, an overwhelming vote of more than 90% in favour shows how ETU members assessed the EBA.

Mick Koppie - ETU Organiser

The ETU offer six general scholarships every single year with each scholarship valued at $2,000. These scholarships are available to ETU members, their children and their grandchildren. To qualify, you must be enrolled in studies in an approved course at a registered training organisation at diploma level or higher.

To apply for one of six annual general scholarships download the application form. Conditions apply (see application form). Applications are being accepted for 2017 and close at 4.30pm Friday 30 June, 2017. Successful applicants to be notified by 31 July, 2017.

Your combined union negotiating team met with Ausgrid over yesterday and today for the 5th meeting since negotiations recommenced on 22 February this year. Over the past few weeks sub working groups off the main negotiating team have met on two separate occasions (without management) to discuss proposals for the headline issues listed below. The full negotiating team also reconvened on Monday this week to review these proposals prior to the EBA meetings with Ausgrid. Below is a summary of the EBA meeting progress to date.

 

      EBA Day 1. 12 April 2017; dealt with the following headline issues


Redeployment / Redundancy; There appears to be a consensus that the no forced redundancy provisions of the legislation will be honoured and reflected in the agreement. That is to say, there will be no forced redundancies prior to the June 2020. Productive discussion is occurring around the following issues associated with this subject;

·   The operation of a thorough mix and match program, more thorough training and priority access to internal jobs as a precondition for identification of future redeployees – this issue overlaps with the current consultation over Ausgrid’s recent proposal for another reduction of 300 full time equivalent roles in financial year 2018.

·   An incentive for redeployees to exit the business which includes a more generous training component.

·   The nature of redundancies post June 2020 when the job guarantee period expires and

·    A regular Apprentice / Trainee / Cadet intake.

 

Consultation / Dispute Settlement; The combined unions tabled draft clauses which make the consultation and dispute processes more defined and systematic in terms of how consultation occurs. Under the combined Unions proposal, there are associated timetables which would govern the length of consultation and disputes based on the breadth and complexity of the proposal under consultation or dispute. The proposals also make more specific references to a delegate structure, nominated and recognized in a revised delegate’s charter. A revised delegate’s charter clause detailing the proposed delegate’s structure and including scheduled paid delegates meetings was also tabled.

 

Classification structures and allowances; some progress has been made in this area, however given the complexity of the current skills structures which sit under the associated classifications, the consensus is that it will only be possible in this Agreement, to arrive at a road map of how we might transition to a new classification structure. The aim is to have a new classification structure which is simplified and emphasizes multiskilling. The proposal to move forward with this is that the Classification Structure / Allowances sub working group will attend workshops with Ausgrid management through May to work on a proposal which meets these criteria. I have listed the members of that working group further below and urge all members to communicate their input on this matter with these delegates.

 

EBA Day 2; 13 April 2017; dealt with the following secondary issues


Ausgrid presented a grab bag of speculative claims most of which were remnants from the previous owners. These claims relate to Allowances, Payroll frequency, Management discretion on the taking of RDO’s, Annual Leave and Long Service Leave, and leave at half pay. Most of the Ausgrid claims would result in a loss of conditions for members and as we have consistently said from day 1 we will not be in the business of trading off basic conditions. We made this abundantly clear to Ausgrid. Having said that, there may well be some areas for reform where suggestions are sensible and do not result in a material loss of conditions for members. We are and should always be open minded about any such proposals.

 

Other issues raised by the unions included;

·    Paid delegates meetings.

·    Simplification of shift work clauses and rationalization of shift allowances.

·    Reformed contracting out clause.


Read more to download the Notice to Member

Endeavour Update: NO means NO!

Posted on 24-3-2017

It’s little surprise that Endeavour Energy members voted overwhelmingly to reject Rod Howards and Managements “generous offer” to slash your conditions in the EBA vote this week. We always knew that this offer would go down in a ball of flames and management should not be surprised.

I want to recognise the efforts of your delegates, among the most committed ETU members, who without their contribution and dedication this EBA negotiation would be so much more difficult. I also want to congratulate all ETU members for taking a stand against these attacks on your working conditions by a CEO and management team who hold nothing but total disregard for fairness.

Yesterday’s result should send a clear message to Rod Howard and management that the offer they put on the table, an offer that would strip away your legislated protections, is just not good enough. This should also stand as a message to the new CEO of Endeavour Energy, whoever that might be once the company is sold, that they should not waste any more time or money in putting forward so called “offers” that leave workers worse off, unless of cause they too want a bloody nose like your current management team.

The ETU, on behalf of our membership, remain committed to securing a fair outcome and will continue to negotiate towards an offer that delivers on our three bargaining principles – no forced redundancy, no loss of conditions and a fair pay increase. I am hopeful that the new CEO and new owners will be more pragmatic when it comes to reaching an agreement.

As you are aware the negotiating committee will meet on 30 March and it now appears highly unlikely that a fair offer will be put before the Liberals privatisation transaction is complete, none the less we will keep you informed of any developments.

Again, congratulations to all ETU members for standing together in protecting our rights and for rejecting a disgraceful offer from a disgraceful management team lead by Rod Howard. If you look at Essential Enegry and Ausgrid, both company’s moved to dump their CEO’s and clean out management that presided over failed EBA negotiations, one can only guess the same will apply at Endeavour Energy.

Oh and by the way, I have included an interesting snapshot that appeared in yesterday’s paper outlining just how well Endeavour Energy are doing despite the AER’s ruling with the company posting higher than expected and very healthy profits.

In Unity,
Dave McKinley
Secretary

Live L.V. Jointing accident.

On Monday 20th March at about 3am one of our members Jake Archer suffered a serious electric shock while performing Live L.V. underground jointing in a pit in the Sydney CBD. It is with great relief that I can report Jake is now recovering in hospital and is in a stable condition. If not for the diligence and training of his fellow ETU members who performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, this could have quite easily resulted in a fatality. Our thoughts are with Jake and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Live jointing is something that the union has raised concerns about in the past and the fact is that it results in far too many accidents. There is something seriously wrong with a system of work when it has to be done alive in preference to properly organizing and planning jobs in a way so that interruptions to supply have to occur and people can work safely on mains and apparatus in an isolated and de-energised state. To their credit and in consultation with the ETU, Ausgrid has today placed a suspension on all Live L.V. work – that includes suburban and Sydney CBD work. I have attached a copy of that suspension notice from Ausgrid. The union fully supports this suspension and will work with Ausgrid to understand the cause of this and other related accidents in a bid to develop better work processes around L.V. jointing. In the meantime I ask that everyone observes this suspension to the letter.

CLICK HERE FOR THE AUSGRID SAFETY NOTICE.

Ausgrid Agreement Negotiations.

Your negotiating team met with Ausgrid management yesterday in what was the third meeting under the new owners - Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd. Several matters were discussed including the following headline issues;

Redeployment / Redundancy; The combined unions have consistently made it clear that the employment security provisions of the legislation governing the recent lease transaction are non-negotiable. In a nutshell that means that there cannot be any forced redundancies prior to June 2020 when those job security provisions expire. For your information please see the attached resolution from the executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) which underwrites this position with support from the whole union movement. Ausgrid appear to be sympathetic to this point of view but have expressed concern as to how they will deal with surplus employees in the redeployee pool which they say will only grow in size over the life of the agreement.

Consultation / Dispute Settlement; Ausgrid have expressed concern over the time that consultation and disputes take and also raised an issue with the status quo provision of the disputes settlement procedure. The combined unions made it clear that the status quo provisions were not up for negotiation. In terms of the mechanics of the consultation clause, our view is that consultation can be made more efficient and expedited if consultation is both up front and genuine in nature i.e. not consultation on how a predetermined managerial decision is arrived at but consultation on ideas the organisation may be considering with opportunity for genuine input from our members. The point was also made that members and their workplace delegates needed to be given more autonomy, recognition and authority to negotiate early on during the process.

Classification structures and allowances; Discussion related to a more simplified and rationalised system of classifications and allowances which would involve multiskilling and the incorporation of allowances in to the classification hourly rates.

Smaller working groups have been formed off the main negotiating committee to formulate more detailed proposals from the unions in each of these areas. The delegates forming these groups are listed on the following page. I encourage all members who may have a contribution to make to feed this through their respective delegates up to these negotiating committee representatives. This is your Agreement and if you have input you should provide us with that so we can consider it as part of our position during the negotiations.

All proposals will be ultimately be brought back to the full negotiating team for approval before being tabled in the negotiations with Ausgrid. Please be aware that all negotiating positions are ultimately subject to the approval of further full delegates meetings should we begin to reach a negotiated outcome with Ausgrid.

On that note, I have to say that our experience with Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd at this early stage of the negotiations has been far more encouraging than the experience we had when the former (State Government) owners were on a mission to strip the company of cash and attack unions - prior to the sell off.

There is now genuine dialogue and a will on both sides to try and reach agreement on a number of keys issues. Whether this goodwill will be enough to transform in to proposals that will give effect to both parties’ interests remains to be seen, but we are much more positive about that prospect than we have had reason to be over the past 3 years.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL COPY OF THIS NOTICE.