Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Medical Assessments Notice No4 - Essential Fails to Address the ETU’s Key Issues.

Paul Lister - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Work Capacity Assessment Procedure is still in dispute. The ETU strongly 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.

In the Fair Work hearing on 16th May 2017, Essential Energy and their Lawyers adamantly argued in front of DP Sams that they have not threatened or disciplined any employee for refusing to attend a Work Capacity Assessment appointment.

Last week Essential provided a revised Procedure to the ETU. The revised Procedure fails to restrict the scope of employees to Live Line & Heavy Vehicle employees which under statutory requirements, Work Capacity Assessments must be carried.

Essential also failed to adequately address what happens if an employee is deemed “Unfit for substantive duty –permanently”.

The ETU has advised Essential that the matter remains in dispute and the Union intends to relist the matter before DP Sams.

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

Removal of ETU Safety Ban - Towing Jinker Trailers with Borer Cranes.

Paul Lister - Friday, June 09, 2017

In response to the Safety Ban the ETU issued on Wednesday 7th June 2017, Essential Energy yesterday made Application to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop unprotected industrial action. Essential alleged the ETU Safety Ban on towing jinker trailers was illegal industrial action. The matter was heard today before Deputy President Sams.

Essential Energy agreed to withdraw their application following agreement on the following process to be followed by employees-

“Consistent with Essential Energy’s standard practice, should any crane operator have a concern regarding the weight of any crane borer in terms of its registration compliance, the following steps are to apply:

  1. Notify your immediate supervisor regarding your concerns and provide details of the total load for that particular vehicle;
  2. Arrange to have the vehicle weighed for compliance at a certified weighbridge;
  3. Once completed, provide the weighbridge certificate to your supervisor.

Should the relevant compliance weight limit be exceeded at the weighbridge, you should take immediate action to reduce the total weight to within the registration compliance limitations.  Should this not be possible, notify your immediate supervisor who will arrange appropriate remedial action for the vehicle.  Vehicles are not to be driven unless they meet RMS compliance.

The ETU agrees that this is an appropriate process for ensuring RMS compliance for our heavy fleet operators.  The ETU agrees to immediately withdraw all notices in relation to this matter and work will continue as normal”.

On the basis of this agreed process, the ETU withdraws its Safety Ban and strongly encourages all heavy vehicle drivers to follow the above process to ensure RMS compliance is met.

Members must understand that as the operator of the heavy vehicle, by law both you and your employer have the obligation for ensuring that the vehicle is operated within the weight and load limits imposed by the Heavy Vehicle National Laws Act of NSW and you cannot be directed to work in an unlawful manner.

If you are unaware of the current actual weight of the vehicle and have concerns please ensure you follow the steps outlined in the above process and put it over an accredited weigh bridge.  If you ordinarily tow a jinker/pole trailer with this vehicle, this test should be conducted both with and also without the loaded trailer attached.

Essential Energy has communicated directly to all drivers and Supervisors of the impacted Ozzy Crane Borers, ensuring that they are aware that they are not to tow jinker trailers behind these vehicles until further notice. All impacted Ozzy Crane Borers have also been fitted with a Danger Tag to prevent the unintentional use of these machines to tow a jinker trailer.

If you need any advice as to your obligations under the NSW heavy vehicle laws, please contact your immediate Supervisor, the RMS directly or contact the Union for further assistance.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary
ETU NSW

ETU Safety Ban: Don't tow Jinker trailers with any Borer Crane

Peter Moss - Thursday, June 08, 2017

Members are advised there are Safety Bans on towing Jinker trailers with any Borer Crane. It has been found that mass limits on the axle capacity have been exceeded on Borer Cranes when Jinker trailers are being towed.

Background.

On Thursday 1st June 2017 a Total Safe was lodged when a Borer Truck fitted with an Ozzy Crane went overweight on the front axles when it was placed on a weigh bridge. Other Ozzy Borer Cranes towing jinker trailers have gone overweight on the rear axle when placed on a weigh bridge. Since Friday last week the ETU has requested that Essential Energy issue a Safety Alert notifying employees but they refuse to do so.

Essential Energy today conceded that the mass limit stipulated by the RMS on the axle groups for the registration category have been exceeded on Ozzy Borers. The ETU is of the view that employees are unable to determine if vehicles are within mass limits when Jinker trailer and poles are being towed with any Borer Crane without putting them over a weigh bridge.

As part of holding a Heavy Vehicle license, it is the operator’s responsibility to make sure these limits are not exceeded. The penalty for overloading a vehicle may exceed $2200 for an individual.  Members are advised not to put themselves or others at risk, or risk being fined by driving any heavy vehicle where you are unable to determine the weight of the load and if it is within mass limits.

The ETU is of the opinion that Essential has failed in their safety obligations to properly notify employees of the potential safety issues by driving overweight heavy vehicles and to implement a safe system of work. As a result the ETU has been left no option but to put this safety ban in place.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary

EBA Negotiation Updates and latest Ausgrid Job reductions

Bruce Fan - Friday, June 02, 2017

EBA NEGOTATIONS


Whilst there are still several negotiation meetings to take place and the Agreement is by no means settled, negotiations have now progressed sufficiently enough for a report back to all delegates. 


Ausgrid have agreed to a paid delegates meeting as follows;

 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017  10:00-14:00: Silverwater Training Centre Auditorium.

All delegates should attend this important meeting.

 

I have also scheduled a series of paid depot meetings to update members on the negotiations. The schedule is detailed below. All members should make every effort to attend these meetings so as you are briefed on the status of the Agreement negotiations. 

 

AUSGRID PROPOSED JOB REDUCTIONS


Many of you would be aware that yet again Ausgrid is going through another round of significant job cuts with some 300 reductions proposed across a range of Management, Admin / Clerical, para- professional and some trade based roles. 


In accordance with the consultative provisions of the Agreement Ausgrid have been consulting with us in a number of areas where our members are affected including Field Services, Customer and Asset Management. 


We have delegates representing our members in each of these affected areas and if members have concerns they should contact these delegates in the first instance.

 

Along with our delegates I have attended a number of these meetings. It is clear to me that, to the extent that an analysis has been done by Ausgrid to justify the proposed reductions in each area - some heroic assumptions have been made at best. 


At worst, the analysis has been based on cursory guesses, inaccurate information and basically attempts to come up with cuts to satisfy quotas or targets. 


In particular, prior to the consultation commencing, Ausgrid have not sought bottom up data on the work type and volumes so as to be in a position to make accurate judgements on remaining labour capacity. 


As a result we have been making the point that this analysis needs to include feedback from our delegates and members as to what happens in the real world so we can test their assumptions. 


This process is happening right now and I encourage all the consultative groups to put in alternative proposals based on the experience and knowledge of the work type and volume that you all have expertise in. 


Invariably this feedback should in my view result in an upward revision of jobs retained. Credible alternative proposals should always attempt to address and factor in to the proposals productivity and efficiency. 


Whilst I understand why there is a lot of cynicism regarding consultation on these matters – I have on occasions seen such proposals result in retention of positions that would have otherwise been lost- so please proactively participate and influence the outcome.


Download the notice

Ausgrid Transformation Consultative Committee TCC (Mix and Match committee)

Bruce Fan - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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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     Request for additional review




Fair Work Conciliation Hearing

Paul Lister - Wednesday, May 17, 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

Paul Lister - Monday, May 08, 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.

Forced Medical Assessments Update - ETU Lodges Dispute with FWC

Paul Lister - Friday, May 05, 2017

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 Job Cut - Notice To Member 05/05/2017

Bruce Fan - Friday, May 05, 2017

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

ETU Members Win with New ActewAGL Agreement

Paul Lister - Wednesday, May 03, 2017

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


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