Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Update on Ausgrid negotiations, protected action and delegates’ meeting

Paul Lister - Thursday, January 18, 2018

After the recent 95% YES vote to take industrial action if required, to keep the action active we now must decide to take protected action within a 30-day window that ends on 9 February 2018. Accordingly, a delegates meeting on Wednesday 31 January will decide whether to proceed to industrial action or not based on the progress of Agreement negotiations to that date. In the meantime, a group of negotiating delegates and myself continues intensive discussions with Ausgrid in a bid to obtain a negotiated outcome. The major outstanding issues are:

CCR: Reform of Ausgrid’s career capability and remuneration scheme to the point where we are satisfied with the following areas:

  • rates of pay
  • merit appointment hurdles,
  • the allocation of skills sets to various classifications bands and how that will be negotiated over the next 12 months prior to implementation.
  • The nature of “exceeding expectations” as a criterion for skills progression and how that will be negotiated over the next 12 months prior to implementation.

Wage rises: The combined unions demand remains 3% per annum. Averaged over the seven years between the last wage rise and the proposed end of this agreement, this equates to just 1.28% per annum. Our claim is very modest when compared to the average 5.3% pay rise and $50,000 bonuses that Ausgrid executives paid themselves annually over the past four years.

We will report back on the progress of these negotiations next week or early the week after. In the meantime, all delegates should attend the very important meeting to be held on Wednesday 31 January, the time and location of this meeting will be advised in due course. The meeting will discuss one of two things;

  • An in-principle Agreement package for delegates to authorise the negotiating committee to finalise or
  • the type and quantity of industrial actions to be taken.

Either way the matter will be brought to a head once and for all.

In Unity,

Overwhelming Vote Authorises Protected Action

Paul Lister - Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Almost all combined union members at Ausgrid who participated in the Protected Action Ballot have voted ‘YES’ to authorise all listed industrial actions.

The Australian Electoral Commission declared the result this afternoon. A strong turnout produced almost 95 per cent support for all three sets of industrial action. The clock is now ticking for Ausgrid management to improve the current EBA offer or face widespread industrial action.

The vote opens a 30-day window for union members at Ausgrid to take protected industrial action, which if taken may be used until an outcome is secured. If management fails to make an acceptable offer, combined delegates will meet on Wednesday 31 January to decide specific actions.

The major obstacles to agreement are:

  1. Employees have rejected Ausgrid’s proposed Capability and Remuneration scheme (CCR) because, unless modified, the CCR severely limits career paths with future employees set to receive lower rates of pay.
  2. Inadequate wage rises – Ausgrid’s offer remains: Year 1, 2.5% plus one-off $1,000 sign-on bonus; Year 2, 2.5%; Year 3, 2%. Years 2 and 3 are contingent on agreement to implement the CCR. The combined unions position remains a modest 3% annual pay increase. While workers’ wages have been frozen for four years, Ausgrid executives enjoyed average bonuses exceeding $50,000 each in 2014, 2015 and 2016 on top of annual pay increases averaging 5.3%.

Congratulations to all union members for your strong stand in this protected action ballot. Management must now respond, or they will face an escalated employee campaign.

In Unity,
0417 208 447 / markb@etunsw.asn.au