Following a phone hook up with the Essential Energy ETU negotiating delegates last Friday, I wrote to Gary Humphries regarding a prospect raised by the Fair Work Commissions’ Vice President Hatcher for consent arbitration on outstanding and non-agreed matters that currently exist between Essential Energy and the unions. This course of action was endorsed by the ETU negotiating delegates.
Earlier this week the union received a reply from Gary Humphries which expressed his desire to continue with the company’s application to cancel your agreement.
It would appear that Essential Energy have a clear agenda, one to continue their attacks on your job security and conditions.
The ETU and other unions, with the support of members sought to resolve this dispute and secure an agreement by allowing the independent umpire – the Fair Work Commission – to determine the remaining outstanding matters.
Gary Humphries and Essential Energy have rejected this good will gesture and in doing so have revealed that rather than reach agreement they are prepared to spend taxpayers money attacking their loyal employees who have put up with too much for too long.
Even though the company’s response was negative, I met with Gary Humphries on Wednesday the 27the April at the ETU offices in Sydney to see if we could narrow down the areas of disagreement in relation to the Essential Energy enterprise agreement.
The discussions ranged around the areas that we have seen as barring a way forward on an outcome, there was no agreement on a way forward but there were frank discussions that I believe, if confirmed by Essential Energy, would enable us to quickly progress our negotiations.
Unfortunately Gary Humphries hasn’t responded to the ETU in the timeframe he agreed to.
Friends, we are left with no option but to escalate our dispute with your employer. On Tuesday I spoke to ETU Essential Energy delegates from across the state that have now provided feedback that members in depots across NSW support stepping up our protected industrial action in order to increase pressure on the company.
ETU delegates and members from across the state have indicated high levels of support for a 24hr stoppage in May in an effort to secure an agreement acceptable to members. There is the real chance that the strike action will have to further escalate if there is no resolution.
I accept that this is drastic action, but the alternative – to sit back and allow ETU members and their jobs to be attacked – is simply unacceptable.
The combined unions have put forward significant proposals, including non-voluntary redundancies, and have now offered to allow the independent umpire to arbitrate an outcome but your employer has chosen to go to war with you rather than reach agreement.
We will continue to communicate on developments. If you have any questions, please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.