Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Distribution Industry Hazard Alert

Paul Lister - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Please read the Hazard Alerts issued by Endeavour Energy listed below.

Biennial Conference, New Website & Scholarships

Paul Lister - Friday, May 24, 2013

Earlier this week our union held its biennial conference in Wollongong where a number of important matters were discussed. 120 delegates from across NSW and the ACT had the opportunity to raise issues, debate matters and adopt policy positions that impact on CEPU/ETU members.

A more comprehensive conference report will appear in the next LiveWire but some of the items covered at conference included:

  • Superannuation.
  • OH&S matters including safety committees, cross industry safety matters, communication, asbestos safety, changes to Workers Compensation and the possible provision of defibrillators in some industries.
  • Industrial and legal matters including how ETU members can access the services of NEW Law when making a workers compensation claim.
  • National Licensing and the national apprentice wage case.
  • Improvements to union communications including social media and the launch of a new & improved website; and
  • Improvements to ETU membership such as Journey Cover Insurance.

These items were discussed over a period of three days and the input from delegates was very much appreciated. It is the effort of our delegates that often goes un-noticed and without thanks, so I would like to say a big thank you to those members that take on the role of delegate in order to represent your colleagues, without you our union would not be as strong as it is.


As mentioned the union has launched a new website. Our last website was launched in 2009 and was in need of an overhaul. The union had four objectives in this overhaul including – introducing the ability for new members to join the union and pay online, simplify the layout and navigation, provide relevant and real time information and incorporate our social media accounts with the website.

Members will also now be able to request an electronic copy of their agreement through the website and access news, updates and notices relevant to your workplace and industry through the new industry groupings on the home page.

I encourage all members to have a look at the new website (www.etunsw.com.au) and we will continue to look at ways to improve interaction with members online.


One of the benefits of ETU membership is access to our annual education scholarships for members, their children and grandchildren. Nominations for this year close at the end of June so I encourage all members, your children or grandchildren that are studying at diploma level or high to submit an application.

We will be awarding six scholarships each worth $2,000 to assist with education expenses. You can read more about the ETU Education Scholarships here.

Ausgrid Delegates EBA Meeting

Paul Lister - Thursday, May 23, 2013

ETU Delegates Meeting

Date: Tuesday 28-05-13
Time: 9:30am – 11:30am
Venue: Hornsby RSL

Agenda: Enterprise Agreement

Note: Ausgrid has approved Delegates paid release.

Ausgrid EA Negotiations + Code of Conduct Dispute

Angela Lordan - Friday, May 17, 2013

Today the negotiating team met with Ausgrid. A lot of work has gone into drafting a new Enterprise Agreement document by the parties and the negotiating group was taken through that draft and had input into it. The negotiations are close to being finalised. However, there are two outstanding issues -

  • Local Workplace Flexibility Agreements- The ETU’s claim was to have the LWFA’s form part of the Enterprise Agreement. Ausgrid are saying they will not enter into any new LWFA’s and they want to review the existing LWFA’s throughout the life of the new agreement. The parties are still apart on this issue and further discussion are to take place.

  • ESRA- it is agreed ESRA will remain an all purpose allowance. Ausgrid are adamant they need to freeze the amount to fund an overall package worth 2.7% p.a. The freezing of ESRA has not been agreed and further discussions are to take place.

Code of Conduct Dispute The ETU and USU met with Ausgrid again on the 16-05-13. Ausgrid have agreed that the status quo shall prevail and Ausgrid will only use the old Code of Conduct in any disciplinary meetings.

The ETU and USU maintain that Ausgrid has not followed their obligations under consultation have asked Ausgrid to provide in writing what impacts the new Code of Conduct will have on employees and to provide all the Policies that underpin the Code of Conduct. The Unions pointed out a number of area’s in the new Code that go further than the existing Policies.

The Unions also again reminded Ausgrid that they need to consult with all affected employees on these changes, not just a target group selected by Management.

If any members is being disciplined contact your Delegate, myself or Mark  Buttigieg and we will ensure Ausgrid only use the old Code of Conduct. Every member has the right and should use Union representation in any workplace matter.

Essential Energy Asbestos & Negoatiations

Paul Lister - Friday, April 19, 2013


David Nardi & Maria Doherty have publically stated to a meeting of ETU delegates that NO work is to be conducted on asbestos contained boards etc until members have had face to face training. Nardi & Doherty have further stated that the training that is required will have to be agreed by the ETU.

Nardi & Doherty committed to the following;

  • No work to be done on asbestos boards until properly trained to a ETU agreed standard.
  • Asbestos awareness training is NOT training for work on asbestos boards or materials.
  • Nardi  & Doherty committed that after a member is properly trained that the member can refuse to work on asbestos contained boards / equipment & if any manager threatens them for refusal the manager will be disciplined.

Boss’s two week Singapore Junket

The ETU has become aware that the CEO Vince Graham has rewarded  two senior managers from Essential Energy, Ausgrid & Endeavour with a two week all expenses trip to Singapore.

When the ETU questioned the junket we were informed that they are attending a safety conference where they will learn new & valuable information to create a safer workplace.

Sounds impressive! but I cant work out how attending an aviation safety conference will improve safety in the electricity supply industry!  & who were the lucky EE senior managers who got the trip ? no other than David Nardi & Maria Doherty.

Beware, Smiling Assassins Bearing Gifts

Meanwhile management threaten to force some lesser managers onto individual contracts against their will.

Don’t be surprised if the management EBA reps who are joyfully taking great delight in attempting to reduce workers conditions & career opportunities don’t get rewarded for their attacks on the working men & women of EE.

The two managers (Peter Smith & Bericura) who are pushing to strip over 200 workers of the protection of the EBA, attack potential leading hand entitlements & generally attack the hard fought for conditions are in the opinion of many a disgrace & no more than traitors to the loyal & hard working members.

If their plot to remove over 200 workers from the EBA is not a set up to rip off conditions & rights from these people, why are the questions & answers from all concerned effected workers published for all to see? It’s not rocket science, they don’t want any poor bugger who has swallowed the crap from the snake oil salesmen that a contract is a good deal, to read & contemplate their workmates concerns!

Next thing you know they will have a role in the new structure, cheap pay off for selling out your fellow workers, Vince must be sitting back rubbing his hands in glee.

ETU Provides Journey Cover Insurance for Members

Angela Lordan - Monday, April 15, 2013

The ETU now provides Journey Cover Insurance for all financial members in NSW and the ACT.

This means that you are covered by ETU insurance if you are injured or have an accident travelling to or from work.

The union introduced Journey Cover Insurance in February after savage cuts to workers compensation left members exposed.

Last year the O’Farrell Government abolished journey cover for most NSW workers.

That is why the ETU has stepped up. We must ensure our members are protected from potentially catastrophic health and financial damage. We are now one of just a few unions to offer journey cover to all financial members as an automatic right at no extra cost.

Any member injured while travelling to or from work after 11 February 2013 is now covered and the benefits are generous.

  • Eligible injured members will receive 100 percent of wages up to $2,000 per week for the period they are unable to work due to injury.
  • Cover is available starting 14 days after the accident or injury.

To make a claim contact the ETU. The union will give you a claim number. for further details about this new benefit visit our Industrial Support Pages.

Ausgrids Latest EBA Offer

Katie Kidd - Friday, April 12, 2013

Ausgrid have this morning delivered an updated offer on the agreement (see attached) which contains the following basic propositions:

1. A wage increase of 2.7% to apply from 19 December 2012 and a further wage
increase of 2.7% on 18 December 2013.

2. New clauses to be incorporated as previously agreed in the bargaining process:

Consultation Clause

Dispute Resolution Procedure

Domestic Violence clause

Choice of Superannuation Fund clause

Removal of SP 54 Overtime Restriction (CI 16.8)


3. The current Superannuation clause to be amended to read:

"Should any increase to the Commonwealth Government Superannuation Guarantee
(SCG) occur during the nominal term of this agreement, these increases will be absorbed.
This essentially means members forgoing the slated 0.25% SGC rises in July 2013 and 
July 2014.

4. ESRA to be frozen only for the purposes of the agreement rises (i.e. the 2.7% rises identified above) over the term – but to remain as an all-purpose allowance.

5. An altered Outsourcing and Contracting Out clause – which basically represents a hybrid between the current Endeavour clause being proposed and Ausgrid’s current clause Removal of the Local Workplace Flexibility Agreement cl.25. – currently this is a linkage clause which recognises the existence of LWFA’s outside the agreement.

7. Inclusion of a trigger clause for renegotiations to commence six months before the expiry 
of this Agreement

8. Formal drafting changes.

Whilst at first glance the offer certainly represents progress from previous offers, the ETU and 
other unions are currently still examining the document in detail. On first reading however, there 
are a few obvious issues we will need to work through. These include;

 - A lack of any reference to the current voluntary redundancy and re-deployment 
provisions being formally recognised in the agreement.

 - Removal of the Local Workplace Flexibility Agreement cl.25 and the implications for preexisting LWFA arrangements.

Further issues may or may not arise from detailed examination and negotiating committee and member feedback. Once we have gone through the document in detail and worked through any major issues like the ones identified above – we will be updating members further.

In the meantime if members have any questions or comments on the proposal they can contact their negotiating committee representatives or email or phone either of us directly.

Letter to unions re Ausgrid EA12 offer

Stop The Sell Off

Paul Lister - Thursday, April 11, 2013

The ETU along with other power industry unions have recommenced the Stop the Sell Off campaign against plans to privatise the electricity distribution and transmission networks and Snowy Hydro.

Please read the Notice to Members for further information.

   NTM Anti Privatisation Campaign

Essential Energy EBA Update

Paul Lister - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yesterday the 9th of April saw the first meeting for the negotiation of Essential Energy Union EBA 2013.

Essential Energy’s Hr chief strategist, Peter K Smith, was responsible for overseeing the arrangements for the meeting.

The whole event was a shambles, with management forcing the majority of delegates to fly via Sydney to Port Macquarie for the “event”. One delegate was unable to leave his home town due to their being an unrealistic connection time, one other delegate flew to Sydney to find the only available connecting flight was about 4pm (1 hour after the end of the meeting)., others connecting flights got them to the meeting almost an hour after the scheduled commencement & one other delegate was, on his returning home, left marooned in Sydney with no available connecting flight till the following day!

This delegate attempted to contact Mr Smith, who showed a great example to the rest of the workforce of how to respond to an emergency by not answering the call. The delegate was unable to get accommodation, with the union providing lodgings at an officials home , food & transport to & from the airport. Thank heavens the management people aren’t being relied on to provide services to the electricity consumers!

Upon arrival at the management designated venue, “Fort Courage” Buller Street Port Macquarie, we were ushered to the meeting room. Things weren’t exactly well prepared with us having to wait while tables were arranged, temporary walls moved, chairs & tables found & a meeting room cobbled together.

When the meeting started, nearly an hour late (almost 11am) The management team of Peter Bericura, PK Smith, Linda Southern, Scott Berryman & Sue Turner then proceeded to discuss an agenda. To do this they utilised an overhead projector. Only problem being that the overhead projector was a reflection of the management team, put mildly dysfunctional, with large sections blacked out by apparently “dust”.

The first issue dealt with was that we needed to finish by 3 pm so that people could get to the airport to get arranged flights. What a shamozzle!  we had 17 people who had to travel!

It’s amazing that the management resident  brains trust has flown to Broken Hill today for a meeting tomorrow, seems that they have one rule for the workers & one rule for themselves, but you have to give them some credit, they are consistent.

ETU leads union opposition to forcing senior members onto contracts.

The meeting was now off to a flying start ! The combined unions expressed our belief that management had buggered up the notice of representational rights & voiced our collective position that the attempts being made to isolate 256 workers from the protection of the EBA is a disgrace & will be fought out in Fair Work Australia. The unions will not sit idly by & see these members in senior positions be put to the sword.

Management Log of claims.

The ETU then asked the management to identify their log of claims. The management wanted their claims to be called “Employer initiatives” & then asked the unions to leave the room so that they could work out which bits of their claim they would tell us. After a break they informed us that the issues that they want to discuss

  • Management want to vary the leading hand clause to stop any future appointment as permanent leading hand.
  • Management propose to freeze superannuation contributions at the current 15% etc for the life of the agreement.
  • Management propose a freeze on Electricity safety rules allowance at the current rates.
  • Management want to arrange all accommodation centrally for members working away from home with no option for making own arrangements & receiving an allowance.
  • Management want cashing out of annual to be extended with a reduction of leave needed to be kept.
  • Management want to remove salary maintenance & redeployment from the agreement.
  • Management want to vary the Dispute settlement procedures. (no details as yet)

Clearly they had more things that they want to rip off the members but they would not provide the details of other matters to the unions & will drop them on us at a later date.

The unions presented their logs of claims. (see below for ETU log of claims)

The ETU started to explain our log of claims but were cut short due to people having to leave the meeting to catch planes.

The ETU will continue to argue for members rights & job security.

The ETU delegates on the negotiating team are; John Speer, Michael Hannigan, Graham Brislane, Simon Davies, Tom Batars, Steve Magann, Chris Squire, Lee Irwin, Steve Hare, Hamish Wheatley, Glenn Kingston.

ETU Log of Claims

  • Scope of agreement to include all covered by current EBA
  • On call allowance increase
  • Mandatory 10 hour stand down when on call same as all other times
  • Pay Parity
  • 5% pa increase
  • Contractor clause tighten
  • Staff discount / salary sacrifice
  • No reduction of conditions
  • 48/52
  • Annualisation – control
  • Sick leave Accumulation scheme re introduction
  • Smart vehicles not for discipline
  • 1 hours leave in lieu for each day away from home
  • Inclusion of redundancy clause in agreement consistent with Endeavour etc
  • DSP fix up
  • On Call – what qualifications needed
  • C/C to be properly representative / no of delegates, regularity etc 
  • Reduction of days for permanent L/H’s
  • Extension of Salary maintenance to 3 years
  • If working EE day then toil @ penalty accumulation
  • ESRA for all EW’s & auxiliary trade members , eg meter readers etc
  • Strengthen working away from home re 3 star single accommodation
  • Time in lieu to be available in same pay period , no accumulation beyond 1 day toil
  • Incorporation of the crew coordinator allowance into the hourly rate

The ETU reserves the right to provide additional matters.

Asbestos and Negotiation Update

Katie Kidd - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ausgrid and the ETU are continuing to negotiate a “Heads of Agreement Asbestos Working Arrangements” document.

This document will  cover issues such as training, refresher training, a program for the removal of already identified friable asbestos, improved quality and accessibility of asbestos register, further auditing to identify asbestos containing materials and removal, ongoing use of “lung-bus’ and enhancement of health register and access to EAP.

The Delegates unanimously endorsed the following resolution –

“This delegates meeting endorses the formation of a subcommittee to continue to negotiate the tabled document through with Ausgrid management to a point where the ETU is satisfied  that the asbestos exposure risk mitigation training, PPE and programmed removal measures in place are adequate enough to dramatically reduce the risk to our members”.

Four Delegates were elected to form part of the subcommittee.

The ETU will continue to work with Ausgrid to progress emergency or customer critical jobs on a case by case basis. The ETU only agrees to this work going ahead where strict controls are put in place to ensure member safety.

The following ETU Delegates Resolution is still in place –

No opening or work on or near asbestos Meter Boards. Members should only respond to 
Emergency work (restoration of power) if they have been trained in asbestos awareness, 
trained in asbestos procedures and wear full asbestos PPE.

The following ETU Recommendation is still in place –

No Entry to any worksite where asbestos is suspected unless the member has been trained 
in asbestos awareness and procedures and full asbestos PPE.

To clarify training –

You need to have been trained within the last 12 month (within 2012) on Asbestos Awareness and Procedures. The refresher training Ausgrid rolled out in December 2012 was not agreed or accredited and does not count.