Essential Energy yesterday announced the company is commencing consultation to update the Drug & Alcohol Policy. CEO John Cleland had the courtesy to inform the ETU last week that they intended to issue a broadcast yesterday announcing the commencement of employee consultation. To date the ETU has as much information as you have received.
Today I requested John convene a face-to-face meeting of all unions to discuss and hopefully agree on a consultation process going forward. As you would be aware, Drug & Alcohol Policies have a long history in the NSW distribution industry including disputation and many court proceedings.
In the ETU’s view, the lack of genuine proper consultation played a significant part in that disputation. I have outlined to John that Essential does not have the best track record on effective consultation and it needs to improve.At the outset I note the ETU supports proper WH&S Procedures in the workplace, but it needs to be more than words in polices. There is genuine scope for improvement in WH&S but it needs to be backed up by proper training delivered by experts and with ongoing support.
To just say others are doing it, so we should won’t cut it. Essential have not demonstrated that the current system is not adequate. Drug and Alcohol use has many underlying factors that need to be considered. The ETU will ensure that any consultation needs to consider initiatives that go beyond testing.
High-risk industries do have different testing regimes but they also have adapted and implemented initiatives beyond testing. Initiatives that genuinely support and train employees on Drug and Alcohol, Mental Health, impairment and fatigue backed up by proper training and ongoing support from experts in each field.Essential can certainly improve in all of these areas and we will ensure they are addressed as part of this consultation process.