Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Essential Energy EA Industrial Update

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 24, 2013

Members are advised that following the ETU providing notification to Essential Energy of our intention to take industrial action (including returning to depots for lunch, not operating padlocks and work stoppages) the CEO of Network NSW, Vince Graham, has requested the union suspend this action in order to hold further negotiations.

Members can read Vince Grahams letter here where he outlines a number of proposals in order to try and reach agreement.

Following a meeting with your negotiation team today, the ETU has agreed to suspend all planned industrial action (including returning to depots for lunch, not operating padlocks and work stoppages) in order to allow further negotiations to occur.

Should these negotiations not be successful the ETU and our members reserve our right to lodge further notifications for future industrial action until such time as an acceptable outcome is achieved.

A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday 29 October that will include Vince Graham and Gary Humphries.

We will keep members up to date on any developments and members should check the ETU website (Electricity, Water & Utilities section) on a regular basis for updates.

Vince Graham Suspends Drug Testing

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 24, 2013

The ETU has been advised that Ausgrid, Essential Energy and Endeavour Energy have withdrawn their program of saliva based drug testing while another court case is undertaken by Endeavour Energy over a July 2013 notification from NATA in relation to accreditation.

The ETU remains convinced that the use of saliva testing is the most accurate and least invasive form of testing as previously determined by the Fair Work Commissions decision of 26th March 2012 and the subsequent rejection of the Endeavour Energy appeal to the Full Bench on the 14th August 2012.

All three organisations have taken the same approach but the ETU believe they are wrong and the Unions have assembled the same legal team who
were successful in the original decision and represented the Unions interests at the failed Endeavour Energy appeal.

The matter is listed for appearance before Fair Work in the week commencing 25th November 2013.

The ETU will keep members up to date on the progress of this case. Any questions can be directed to your workplace delegate or contact details for your organiser can be found here for Sydney, NewcastleWollongong and Canberra.

Essential Energy Protected Action

Paul Lister - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Essential Energy members are advised that notification has been given to Essential Energy for rolling stoppages covering Friday 1 November.

Please see below the official notification to Essential Energy that covers stoppages on Friday 1 November.

Further details relating this action will be forthcoming once finalised.

s414 notice - rolling stoppages Friday 1 November 

NSW Bushfires

Paul Lister - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Over the past week many parts of NSW have been engulfed by bushfires with the hardest hit areas being the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, parts of the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie and Newcastle around Heatherbrae and Raymond Terrace.

I know many of our members live and work in these areas and I am asking each and every one of us to keep an eye out for fellow ETU members that may have been affected by these fires.

If you know of any ETU members that have been impacted by the fires through loss of property or if you have been impacted yourself, I would like to know so please call the office on 02 9267 4844 and the union will consider what assistance may be available.

I would also like to extend a massive thank you to ETU members that have once again put the community first by responding to this emergency situation to make sure the electricity network, rail corridor and our communities remain safe.  We all know who the real heroes are – people like you, who work within the fire ground protecting the community.

Again, if you are aware of any ETU member that requires assistance following these destructive fires please get in touch. To the rest of you thanks for your hard work, selflessness and community spirit.

Yours in unity
Steve Butler

Essential Energy Protected Action

Paul Lister - Monday, October 21, 2013

Essential Energy members are advised that Protected Industrial Action will commence on Wednesday 30 October and will continue indefinitely.

Initially the action will consist of the following:

  • Returning to your depot for your lunch break, and
  • A ban on using Essential Energy keys to open or close Essential Energy padlocks with the exception of depot gates.

All members should observe the above action and report any issues immediately to your ETU delegate or organiser.

This collective action is being taken in order to secure outstanding log items in the current EBA including acceptable Redundancy Clause, On Call Allowances and Permanent Leading Hand arrangements.

Below you will find the notices as lodged with the Fair Work Commission covering your protected action.

s414 notice - Return to depot for lunch break

s414 notice - Ban on using Essential Energy Keys to open/close padlocks



Essential Energy Members Support Industrial Action

Paul Lister - Friday, October 18, 2013

You are probably aware the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) yesterday published the results of the protected action ballot that has been running for the past three weeks. I would simply like to confirm those results for ETU members and add a bit of commentary in relation to the outcome from the protected action ballot.

The ETU supplied a confidential list of ETU members to the Australian Electoral Commission as required for the ballot on the 23rd of September 2013.  As you know, Essential Energy supplied a list to the AEC that the ETU successfully argued did not properly cover the Order that was made by the Fair Work Commission. By the time the company did supply a further list of names the Australian Electoral Commission had closed the ballot, meaning that those employees were denied the right to vote.

I have just had a look at the Declaration of results issued by the AEC and I am extremely concerned to see that the variation in numbers supplied by the ETU and the ballots issued by the AEC is close to 10% and that position must now be thoroughly investigated to establish why there is such a large variation, it is possible that Essential Energy supplied a list that denied the voting rights of up to 10% of ETU members employed by Essential Energy.

The figures from the ballot are staggering and given the fact that postal ballots are notoriously difficult to get employees to vote on, especially in areas where there are remote locations, to get over 65% of ETU members voting is indicative of the strong views of members in relation to this ballot. If the proper list had of been supplied to the AEC then i believe that number would have been closer to 75%.

When the actual voting is analysed then the results are clear and members have sent management a very strong message about their agreement.


As a result of discussions and consultation with your ETU delegates, the ETU will begin to make 7 day notifications as required under the legislation of our intention to take industrial action. Essential Energy will probably try and get you to vote on their unchanged agreement and members are advised to vote NO in any Enterprise Agreement ballot that is attempted in the next little while. We will be running a NO campaign if management attempt that trick and the ETU will provide further advice as it comes to hand. 

Yours in unity
Steve Butler

Protected Action Ballot Result

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 17, 2013

Preliminary results show approximately 60% of ETU members returned ballot papers & have resoundingly supported the protected action ballot. We will report more when we receive the official AEC report. Members have responded to the management’s attacks on their conditions & classifications. 60% return for a protected action ballot is considered a great return. Management pulled out all stops to not provide all members details to the AEC in time to be included in the ballot. The other Unions also had positive results to the ballot question.

ETU Results were as follows
Question 1: 92% YES 
Question 2: 84% YES 
Question 3: 94% YES 
Question 4: 92% YES

I would like to congratulate members for standing up & sending a clear message to your management. Your management will try to talk down the result, remember management wanted members to vote no. In the end the number of members that voted NO were bugger all!

All members covered by the 2011 EBA are now eligible to participate in protected industrial action. Below you can view the AEC ballot result and declaration.

Yours in Unity

AEC Ballot Result & Declaration



Essential Energy Fatality Incident Report

Paul Lister - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Essential Energy have released a preliminary report into the fatal incident that occurred on Monday 2 September on the mid north coast.

Members can read the Essential Energy Incident Report here.

All members are reminded that the ETU work restrictions that were issued on Tuesday 3 September remain in place. Please take another look at these restrictions using the link above.

As further information becomes available we will provide this to members.

RG EWP Safety Alert

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 03, 2013

ETU Members are advised to read the RG EWP safety alert listed below as issued by Ergon Energy (QLD) in relation to uncontrolled movement of an RG EWP.

Members should read this notice and take any necessary action to ensure workplace safety is maintained.

Redmond Gary MEWP HSE alert.

Public Warning - Infinity Brand Cable

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 03, 2013

On Friday 27 September the Fair Trading Commissioner issued a public warning against all Infinity branded TPS and orange round cable. A copy of the Public Warning press release and the Fair Trading Fact Sheet is attached for your information.

In August 2013, Fair Trading announced the voluntary recall by the company of three batches of Infinity brand TPS. Those were batches numbered INFH 190311, INFH 210912 and INFMEL 081112.

Fair Trading had continued to gather further samples of Infinity electrical cable and conducted further indicative testing of cable samples. The test results concluded there were deficiencies in the manufacturing of the cable and as a result, Fair Trading has concerns regarding the safety of all Infinity branded TPS and orange round cable.

Infinity was recently notified of Fair Trading*s growing concern about all of Infinity*s flat TPS and orange round electrical cable and had discussed the possibility of a wider recall.
However, on 27 September 2013, Fair Trading became aware that the company had initiated action to wind-up the company. In the absence of a formal recall Fair Trading is issuing this public warning to ensure that consumers and electricians are aware of the safety risks of the cables and no further cable is purchased or installed.

Fair Trading's advice to traders and consumers is that unused Infinity cables should be returned to the place of purchase by electricians, where they will be entitled to refunds on any unused cabling they have purchased. We are also advising that consumers should not try to inspect the cable in their homes. Any work on wiring or cable should only be done by licensed electricians.

Further information is available on the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the Infinity electrical cables can also contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.