Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Ausgrid EBA update - 5 February 2016

Paul Lister - Friday, February 05, 2016

EBA Negotiations

Your negotiating committee met with Ausgrid management yesterday at the EBA negotiating committee. This meeting occurred against a backdrop of recent EBA discussions whereby Ausgrid’s volume of claims were of such magnitude and scale that the resulting cut to pay and conditions were unlikely to ever result in a negotiated outcome in the near future. Notwithstanding this the ETU have always been and are always prepared to listen and bargain in good faith.

The New Year appears to have provided some rays of light with Ausgrid now seemingly prepared to talk sensibly about how we might come to agreement on a few key issues including the Voluntary Redundancy Policy, Consultation, Contracting out and Dispute Resolution clauses.

The discussions are occurring with the knowledge of the impending sale transaction and the pros and cons of negotiating an Agreement prior to new owners taking over. Both parties have agreed that it would be preferable for us to achieve a negotiated outcome prior to this. However it is important that members understand that in the event that we do not have an agreement negotiated by that time the current Agreement stands and along with it all the provisions and protections it contains.

At the end of the day we will not negotiate an agreement which undermines the three fundamental principles which we have been charged with securing;

  • Job security
  • No trade off in conditions
  • A reasonable wage outcome

Judgement about the degree to which we are prepared to compromise to get a negotiated outcome prior to a sale will be guided by these principles.

AER Consultative Committee

We continue to meet with management on a weekly basis and review the ongoing numbers, which as of yesterday are as follows;

  • Redeployee Pool plus Remaining from Phase 1 - 130 positions
  • Phase 2 (2016) - 420 surplus positions
  • Phase 3 (2017) - 180 surplus positions

Ausgrid have begun to consult with us on the measures that they see are necessary to justify the deeming of the phase 2; 420 positions as surplus and we are debating with them the timeframe for consultation over this. Ausgrid are proposing an 8 week timetable which we cannot agree to until we have seen some of the detail behind what they are proposing to achieve this reduced number. Ausgrid have stated that they intend to use the same process of mix and match for phase 2 as was used in phase 1.

There is little doubt that the mix and match process instituted in phase 1 after significant industrial and legal pressure from the combines unions, has had an effect on the organization utilizing the process to at least make a decent attempt at maximizing the opportunity for those that want to stay and allowing those that want to leave to leave. Obviously we have been and continue to push for the process to be as flexible as possible to maximize job security for people. Whilst the outcome is not as good as we would have liked i.e. zero in the redeployment pool, it is a big improvement on the “pick and choose” method that Ausgrid were proposing 6 months ago.

We will continue to work with the organization to ensure that our member’s interests are best served by the process which means;

1. Maximising the use of mix and match and therefore ensuring that job security is maximised and
2. Ensuring that organisation complies with its legislative obligations and only exits staff down to the legislated minimum number.

Finally, we note that the CEO intends to do a road show, I am sure you will let him know what you feel regarding the organization’s attitudes to your apparently “uncompetitive” Agreement.

In Unity,

Mark Buttigieg & Justin Page