Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Ausgrid EBA negotiations - 5 Feb

Bruce Fan - Monday, February 05, 2018

Please find the latest Ausgrid video update from ETU organiser Mark Buttigieg reporting on Ausgrid EBA negotiations.

Any questions please call Mark Buttigieg on 0417 208 447.



Paul Lister - Friday, February 02, 2018



Over the coming weeks the ETU will be seeking feedback from all members about the in principle position, we have also applied to the Fair Work Commission for a 30 day extension to the industrial action period....

Yesterday the combined union delegates met at Ausgrid HOB to discuss Ausgrid’s final Enterprise Agreement negotiated offer. In summary the offer consists of the following key elements;


  • $1600 upfront cash payment and a 2.75% wage increase on a successful employee yes vote.
  • 2.5% on the second anniversary of Agreement certification.
  • 2.25% on the third anniversary of Agreement certification.

Redundancy, Redeployment & Salary Maintenance

Up to 30 June 2020:

A one-off incentive payment of $75,000 for all people in redeployment as at September 2017, and anyone else who enters redeployment up to 1 January 2020.  Redeployees will have 3 weeks to accept or reject the payment.  Those who reject it will permanently lose entitlement to any such payment.

From 1 July 2020:

Up to 250 remaining redeployees can be made forcibly redundant if they do not take a VR.  Those who are forcibly redundant lose entitlement to the 8 weeks’ notice period payment.

From 2 July 2020:

A global cap of 250 for both voluntary and forced redundancies per annum, subject to consultation and processes of seeking VRs first. i.e. There can be no more than 250 redundancies per year of either forced and / or voluntary type.

Apprentices / Trainees / Cadets

Ausgrid have committed to take on 35 Apprentices / Trainees / Cadets per annum for the life of the Agreement.

Contracting out / Outsourcing

On top of the existing clause provisions, a consultative committee comprising unions and Ausgrid management will be formed to have oversight of any work that is contracted out / outsourced and input into Ausgrid’s preferred panel of contractors.


Largely unchanged, however consultation will be necessary when a “significant effect” test as defined in the clause has been met.

Dispute Settlement Process

Time frames for dispute escalation have been included.  This measure ideally sees the dispute process expedited without unnecessary delay.  The inserted timeframes are, however, subject to extension by agreement of the parties.

The status quo provision still applies; however, it will apply when it can be shown to disadvantage the employee/s affected, or if the non-application of status quo during the dispute would bias the case for the dispute at hand.

Career Capability and Remuneration (CCR) framework Appendix

The CCR framework is now in its third version and thanks to the negotiating delegates is far removed and improved from the original proposal.  That said, much work is needed on it before it comes into operation.  To that end, the current structure of the CCR is as follows;

  • CCR applies from December 2018;
  • Pay points at transition have largely been set;
  • The “Market rates” which were a feature of the earlier versions have now been abolished and pay rates have been set in line with current pay levels.
  • No one loses money on transition into the framework. Everyone is “grad parented” across to the new system in December 2018 on their rate of pay plus allowances at that time.
  • ESR allowance will be rolled in to the hourly rates and Electricians Licence will remain a stand alone separate all purpose allowance.
  • The inclusion of a “soft merit” appointment concept to facilitate a more streamlined career path where previous versions of the CCR contained too many “hard” merit appointment hurdles.
  • The Appendix is to contain tight consultation guidelines with respect to the development of the soft merit concept and the definition of what “meeting” and “exceeding expectation" will mean in practice.  This consultation will also determine the development of the Work Level Standards.  Work Level Standards won’t be altered as a means of halting progression or lowering pay and unions will have input into these Work Level Standards.

Other Agreement changes

  • Method of payment – people currently on weekly pay will be moved to fortnightly.
  • Annual Leave – Taking of Annual Leave at half pay will only be possible if;
    a) Your leave balance is less than 320 hrs = 40 days (i.e. you can’t have more than 2 years leave accrued to take Annual Leave at half pay and
    b) A minimum of 2 weeks annual leave at half pay is taken.
  • A one-off option to cash out annual leave provided you have a minimum Annual Leave balance of 160 hrs.
  • All Long Service Leave must be taken for a minimum period of 1 week or more. In order to take LSL at half pay you must have an LSL balance of 13 weeks or less. i.e; any accrual beyond the10-year amount cannot be taken at half pay.
  • Sick Leave occasions without a certificate for people with 5 or more years of service have been reduced from 7 occasions to 4 occasions. i.e. aligned with employees with less than 5 years’ service.

The above proposal was discussed at length and in detail, and various options were canvassed including protected industrial action. The meeting concluded with the following motion;

“That the meeting endorses the in principle offer subject to the following criteria;

  1. That the upfront payment of $1600 and the first 2.75% increase are payable on a yes vote of employees and
  2. That the unions retain the right to take protected action if necessary by applying to the Fair Work Commission for an extension to the protected industrial action period of 30 days in accordance with the Act”

It is important to note that the “in principle” endorsement means that the precise and final wording of the Agreement is yet to be agreed.

A report was also provided by Vera Babicheva from the PSA regarding family friendly clauses that Vera was instrumental in having included as part of the Agreement. Vera detailed that one of the outstanding issues was Ausgrid management refusing to accept a proposition for paid leave in the event of miscarriage or stillbirth situations. As a result, the following motion was unanimously endorsed;

The combined unions require that Ausgrid include a cessation of pregnancy clause in the enterprise agreement to protect workers facing situations of miscarriage or stillbirth. The cessation of pregnancy clause should provide that paid parental leave applies to pregnancies that pass 12 weeks’ gestation. The clause should also consider the application of compassionate leave to these situations. Ausgrid’s refusal to include a clause on cessation of pregnancy in the enterprise agreement is morally repugnant and unacceptable.

The resolution on 1 February regarding in principle agreement does not preclude further negotiations on gender equality issues raised by the PSA/CPSU. The combined unions support the claims of the PSA/CPSU and their resolution in the enterprise agreement.

Next Steps

Your negotiating team will now work to finalise the precise and final wording of all clauses including those associated with the CCR after which time another delegates meeting will be held to endorse the document and proceed towards a formal vote subject to final agreement between the parties.

During this period members will be availed of the complete package including the detailed and final CCR proposal.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all members for their ongoing support and patience in what has been the most difficult and protracted Ausgrid negotiation in living memory. We would also like to thank all the delegates and in particular the negotiating committee in their tireless and intelligent effort which has significantly improved this agreement offer from was a totally unacceptable outcome to one which we believe does the job of moving us forward.

In Unity,

Mark Buttigieg - markb@etunsw.com.au

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


Peter Moss - Thursday, December 21, 2017

Members should have received ballot papers from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for the Ausgrid Agreement bargaining protected action vote. The ballot closes on Monday 8th January. Given the Christmas break now is realistically the last chance members will have to exercise their vote. Tick yes to all three categories of questions on the ballot paper and return it immediately via post or a workplace delegate:

1. Fill in your ballot paper by ticking yes to all three questions.

2. Put your ballot paper in the declaration envelope and seal it.

3. Sign the voter’s declaration on the declaration envelope.

4. Place the declaration envelope in to the reply-paid envelope and post it immediately.

If for some reason you do not have the reply-paid envelope you can place the completed declaration envelope inside a normal envelope (no need for a stamp) and address it to;

Australian Electoral Commission
Reply Paid 1326
Haymarket NSW 1239.

If you are unable to get to a post box – give the sealed envelope to your work place delegate who will post it on your behalf. If you have any issues with your voting papers call the AEC on 9375 6361.

While we continue to have productive discussions with Ausgrid over the Career capability and Remuneration scheme (CCR) we must retain the option to take protected industrial action in case we cannot negotiate an acceptable outcome. To achieve this - all members should vote yes to all the questions and return the ballot papers ASAP. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members a very happy and relaxing Christmas and thank you for your support during the year.

Mark Buttigieg
0417 208 447


Peter Moss - Friday, December 15, 2017

More than 2,600 Essential Energy workers will celebrate the New Year with a 2% pay rise.

The increase is the first of four now locked in after ETU members overwhelmingly approved their new enterprise agreement today.

More than 96 per cent of employees who voted gave the thumbs up to a 3.5 year EBA.

The deal will deliver total increases of between 7%-8.25% while maintaining all existing conditions.

ETU Assistant Secretary Justin Page welcomed the strong turnout and huge ‘yes’ vote.

‘This agreement delivers modest pay rises and job security without trading off the conditions we have,’ said Justin.

‘It was achieved without industrial action and is wrapped up before the current EBA expires.

‘That’s great news for our members at Essential Energy. No-one deserves a pay rise more than these workers.’

Justin thanked ETU delegates for negotiating the agreement.

‘This positive outcome is the result our delegates’ hard work and dedication. At depots across NSW, ETU delegates are the heart and soul of the union.


Bruce Fan - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Ausgrid Protected Action Ballot

Members will this week receive ballot papers from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for the Ausgrid Agreement bargaining protected action vote. The ballot is open to all union members and is being conducted for us to have the legal right to take protected industrial action should thatbecome necessary.

Given that Christmas holidays are upon us it is critically important that all members exercise their vote immediately by ticking yes to all three categories of questions on the ballot paper and returning it via post or a workplace delegate;

  1. Fill in your ballot paper by ticking yes to all three questions.
  2. Put your ballot paper in the declaration envelope and seal it.    
  3. Sign the voter’s declaration on the declaration envelope.
  4. Place the declaration envelope in to the reply-paid envelope and post it immediately.

If you are unable to get to a post box – give the sealed envelope to your work place delegate who will post it on your behalf.

Important: If ongoing discussions do not result in what we think is an acceptable package to put to delegates and members, then we must send Ausgrid a clear message that we mean business by taking protected industrial action. To achieve this - all members should vote yes to all the questions and return the ballot papers ASAP.


Peter Moss - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don’t forget to have your say on the agreement which will set your wages and conditions until 2020.

The proposed EBA will deliver between 7%-8.25% in pay rises over 3.5 years – with the first 2% paid to you on New Year’s Day 2018.

All existing conditions have been maintained.

Vote in the electronic ballot using the password emailed to you.


Ausgrid protected action ballot

Bruce Fan - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Please find latest Ausgrid video update for instructions on completing the Ausgrid protected action ballot ASAP - which members will be receiving now.

Any questions please call Mark Buttigieg on 0417208447.


Four Year Transgrid EBA Protects and Improves Conditions

Peter Moss - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

ETU members at Transgrid have maintained and improved conditions in the first enterprise agreement negotiated since the company was privatised two years ago.

A four-year EBA will deliver total pay rises of 8 per cent, with two instalments of 2 per cent set to land at Christmas and then New Year.

The agreement includes better redundancy pay, superior remote working arrangements and a pacesetting 10 days domestic violence leave.

Photo: Col Waring

Veteran ETU negotiator Michael McManus said the outcome meets the priorities set by members at depot meetings.

‘We’re reasonably happy with it. The wage increases are not big but for the blokes the primary aim was to secure our conditions and avoid trade-offs,’ said Michael, a site manager in Yass.

‘It’s not perfect but the payments for forced or voluntary redundancy are now significantly higher than the National Employments Standards.

‘We’re very happy with the domestic violence leave – 10 days helps our people and makes Transgrid a national leader,’ said Michael.

Col Waring, a substation advisor and ETU negotiator, said ‘we’ve accepted an offer that does the minimum’.

‘It’s a reasonable outcome in a tough environment for the electricity sector. We’re 100 per cent privatised and our workforce is under pressure,’ said Col, who works at Eastern Creek.

‘We had to protect jobs and full-time employment, particularly in rural areas. We need stability and security. This EBA delivers that along with improved conditions and a reasonable pay rise for the future.’

Transgrid workers are now entitled to up to 62 weeks redundancy pay, far above the 12 weeks contained in the National Employment Standards.

The EBA provides that employees working away from home are uniformly entitled to claim a day ‘sustenance rate’ instead of being paid ‘actuals’ (receipted expenses).

A new flexible arrangement for remote work means employees working away for long periods will enjoy more leave when they get home.

ETU Secretary Dave McKinley, who led negotiations, said the maintenance of conditions met ‘our members’ biggest concern’.

‘Our team protected all key conditions while enhancing others with an eye to the future.

‘Transgrid is likely to take on more contestable work including huge projects such as interconnectors in South Australia and Queensland. This will require extended periods of remote work which will see our members benefit under clauses in this EBA,’ said Dave.

Transgrid operates almost 13,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission network in NSW and the ACT.

The company was sold by the NSW Government in December 2015 to a consortium composed of Australian, Canadian and Middle Eastern investors.

The four-year EBA, expiring in December 2020, covers around 900 employees including up to 400 ETU members.