Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

APPLY NOW - ETU 2017 Education Scholarships

Paul Lister - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The ETU offer six general scholarships every single year with each scholarship valued at $2,000. These scholarships are available to ETU members, their children and their grandchildren. To qualify, you must be enrolled in studies in an approved course at a registered training organisation at diploma level or higher.

To apply for one of six annual general scholarships download the application form. Conditions apply (see application form). Applications are being accepted for 2017 and close at 4.30pm Friday 30 June, 2017. Successful applicants to be notified by 31 July, 2017.

NTM-Ausgrid Agreement Negotiation Bargaining Meeting No.5 – Days 1 and 2

Bruce Fan - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Your combined union negotiating team met with Ausgrid over yesterday and today for the 5th meeting since negotiations recommenced on 22 February this year. Over the past few weeks sub working groups off the main negotiating team have met on two separate occasions (without management) to discuss proposals for the headline issues listed below. The full negotiating team also reconvened on Monday this week to review these proposals prior to the EBA meetings with Ausgrid. Below is a summary of the EBA meeting progress to date.

 

      EBA Day 1. 12 April 2017; dealt with the following headline issues


Redeployment / Redundancy; There appears to be a consensus that the no forced redundancy provisions of the legislation will be honoured and reflected in the agreement. That is to say, there will be no forced redundancies prior to the June 2020. Productive discussion is occurring around the following issues associated with this subject;

·   The operation of a thorough mix and match program, more thorough training and priority access to internal jobs as a precondition for identification of future redeployees – this issue overlaps with the current consultation over Ausgrid’s recent proposal for another reduction of 300 full time equivalent roles in financial year 2018.

·   An incentive for redeployees to exit the business which includes a more generous training component.

·   The nature of redundancies post June 2020 when the job guarantee period expires and

·    A regular Apprentice / Trainee / Cadet intake.

 

Consultation / Dispute Settlement; The combined unions tabled draft clauses which make the consultation and dispute processes more defined and systematic in terms of how consultation occurs. Under the combined Unions proposal, there are associated timetables which would govern the length of consultation and disputes based on the breadth and complexity of the proposal under consultation or dispute. The proposals also make more specific references to a delegate structure, nominated and recognized in a revised delegate’s charter. A revised delegate’s charter clause detailing the proposed delegate’s structure and including scheduled paid delegates meetings was also tabled.

 

Classification structures and allowances; some progress has been made in this area, however given the complexity of the current skills structures which sit under the associated classifications, the consensus is that it will only be possible in this Agreement, to arrive at a road map of how we might transition to a new classification structure. The aim is to have a new classification structure which is simplified and emphasizes multiskilling. The proposal to move forward with this is that the Classification Structure / Allowances sub working group will attend workshops with Ausgrid management through May to work on a proposal which meets these criteria. I have listed the members of that working group further below and urge all members to communicate their input on this matter with these delegates.

 

EBA Day 2; 13 April 2017; dealt with the following secondary issues


Ausgrid presented a grab bag of speculative claims most of which were remnants from the previous owners. These claims relate to Allowances, Payroll frequency, Management discretion on the taking of RDO’s, Annual Leave and Long Service Leave, and leave at half pay. Most of the Ausgrid claims would result in a loss of conditions for members and as we have consistently said from day 1 we will not be in the business of trading off basic conditions. We made this abundantly clear to Ausgrid. Having said that, there may well be some areas for reform where suggestions are sensible and do not result in a material loss of conditions for members. We are and should always be open minded about any such proposals.

 

Other issues raised by the unions included;

·    Paid delegates meetings.

·    Simplification of shift work clauses and rationalization of shift allowances.

·    Reformed contracting out clause.


Read more to download the Notice to Member

Endeavour Update: NO means NO!

Paul Lister - Friday, March 24, 2017

It’s little surprise that Endeavour Energy members voted overwhelmingly to reject Rod Howards and Managements “generous offer” to slash your conditions in the EBA vote this week. We always knew that this offer would go down in a ball of flames and management should not be surprised.

I want to recognise the efforts of your delegates, among the most committed ETU members, who without their contribution and dedication this EBA negotiation would be so much more difficult. I also want to congratulate all ETU members for taking a stand against these attacks on your working conditions by a CEO and management team who hold nothing but total disregard for fairness.

Yesterday’s result should send a clear message to Rod Howard and management that the offer they put on the table, an offer that would strip away your legislated protections, is just not good enough. This should also stand as a message to the new CEO of Endeavour Energy, whoever that might be once the company is sold, that they should not waste any more time or money in putting forward so called “offers” that leave workers worse off, unless of cause they too want a bloody nose like your current management team.

The ETU, on behalf of our membership, remain committed to securing a fair outcome and will continue to negotiate towards an offer that delivers on our three bargaining principles – no forced redundancy, no loss of conditions and a fair pay increase. I am hopeful that the new CEO and new owners will be more pragmatic when it comes to reaching an agreement.

As you are aware the negotiating committee will meet on 30 March and it now appears highly unlikely that a fair offer will be put before the Liberals privatisation transaction is complete, none the less we will keep you informed of any developments.

Again, congratulations to all ETU members for standing together in protecting our rights and for rejecting a disgraceful offer from a disgraceful management team lead by Rod Howard. If you look at Essential Enegry and Ausgrid, both company’s moved to dump their CEO’s and clean out management that presided over failed EBA negotiations, one can only guess the same will apply at Endeavour Energy.

Oh and by the way, I have included an interesting snapshot that appeared in yesterday’s paper outlining just how well Endeavour Energy are doing despite the AER’s ruling with the company posting higher than expected and very healthy profits.

In Unity,
Dave McKinley
Secretary

Ausgrid Update - LV Incident & EBA

Paul Lister - Friday, March 24, 2017

Live L.V. Jointing accident.

On Monday 20th March at about 3am one of our members Jake Archer suffered a serious electric shock while performing Live L.V. underground jointing in a pit in the Sydney CBD. It is with great relief that I can report Jake is now recovering in hospital and is in a stable condition. If not for the diligence and training of his fellow ETU members who performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, this could have quite easily resulted in a fatality. Our thoughts are with Jake and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Live jointing is something that the union has raised concerns about in the past and the fact is that it results in far too many accidents. There is something seriously wrong with a system of work when it has to be done alive in preference to properly organizing and planning jobs in a way so that interruptions to supply have to occur and people can work safely on mains and apparatus in an isolated and de-energised state. To their credit and in consultation with the ETU, Ausgrid has today placed a suspension on all Live L.V. work – that includes suburban and Sydney CBD work. I have attached a copy of that suspension notice from Ausgrid. The union fully supports this suspension and will work with Ausgrid to understand the cause of this and other related accidents in a bid to develop better work processes around L.V. jointing. In the meantime I ask that everyone observes this suspension to the letter.

CLICK HERE FOR THE AUSGRID SAFETY NOTICE.

Ausgrid Agreement Negotiations.

Your negotiating team met with Ausgrid management yesterday in what was the third meeting under the new owners - Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd. Several matters were discussed including the following headline issues;

Redeployment / Redundancy; The combined unions have consistently made it clear that the employment security provisions of the legislation governing the recent lease transaction are non-negotiable. In a nutshell that means that there cannot be any forced redundancies prior to June 2020 when those job security provisions expire. For your information please see the attached resolution from the executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) which underwrites this position with support from the whole union movement. Ausgrid appear to be sympathetic to this point of view but have expressed concern as to how they will deal with surplus employees in the redeployee pool which they say will only grow in size over the life of the agreement.

Consultation / Dispute Settlement; Ausgrid have expressed concern over the time that consultation and disputes take and also raised an issue with the status quo provision of the disputes settlement procedure. The combined unions made it clear that the status quo provisions were not up for negotiation. In terms of the mechanics of the consultation clause, our view is that consultation can be made more efficient and expedited if consultation is both up front and genuine in nature i.e. not consultation on how a predetermined managerial decision is arrived at but consultation on ideas the organisation may be considering with opportunity for genuine input from our members. The point was also made that members and their workplace delegates needed to be given more autonomy, recognition and authority to negotiate early on during the process.

Classification structures and allowances; Discussion related to a more simplified and rationalised system of classifications and allowances which would involve multiskilling and the incorporation of allowances in to the classification hourly rates.

Smaller working groups have been formed off the main negotiating committee to formulate more detailed proposals from the unions in each of these areas. The delegates forming these groups are listed on the following page. I encourage all members who may have a contribution to make to feed this through their respective delegates up to these negotiating committee representatives. This is your Agreement and if you have input you should provide us with that so we can consider it as part of our position during the negotiations.

All proposals will be ultimately be brought back to the full negotiating team for approval before being tabled in the negotiations with Ausgrid. Please be aware that all negotiating positions are ultimately subject to the approval of further full delegates meetings should we begin to reach a negotiated outcome with Ausgrid.

On that note, I have to say that our experience with Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd at this early stage of the negotiations has been far more encouraging than the experience we had when the former (State Government) owners were on a mission to strip the company of cash and attack unions - prior to the sell off.

There is now genuine dialogue and a will on both sides to try and reach agreement on a number of keys issues. Whether this goodwill will be enough to transform in to proposals that will give effect to both parties’ interests remains to be seen, but we are much more positive about that prospect than we have had reason to be over the past 3 years.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL COPY OF THIS NOTICE.

Endeavour Energy to go to Ballot

Paul Lister - Monday, March 13, 2017

Dear Members,

On Thursday 2 March, at the EBA Negotiating meeting, your EBA Bargaining Team informed EnE of the outcome of the feedback sessions held with the members and the Joint Union delegates meeting.

Prior to us informing EnE of the outcome, as above, EnE had already made its decision of which “Option” they would choose to include into the proposed EBA to go to vote, and presented it to the bargaining team.  True to form, your employer chose the absolute worst option for the employees of the 2 options.

On Friday 10th March 2017, Endeavour Energy will be making available the EBA that they want for the required access period prior to the voting period which is from the 21st to 23rd March 2017.

Remember our 3 key principles, which has been repeatedly endorsed as an outcome to an acceptable EBA, which are;

  1. Job security
  2. Maintain Conditions of Employment; and
  3. A reasonable wage increase.

Their offer doesn’t tick the box for any of our above principles… Click here to read the full notice about the ballot and what it means for ETU members.

In Unity

Brad Currey - Organiser - 0431 838 852 / bradc@etunsw.asn.au

Footy Tipping Comp 2017 - Win a week at the ETU Holiday Cabins

Paul Lister - Thursday, March 02, 2017

With the footy season gearing up the ETU Footy Tipping Comp is now open for people to join. Try your hand a tipping your weekly favourites and get you workmates to join in the fun.

We will again be giving away periodical prizes through the season based on weekly results while the overall competition winner will receive one free week accommodation at the ETU Holiday Cabins at Nambucca Heads on the NSW Mid-North Coast.

CLICK HERE TO BE REDIRECTED TO THE ETU FOOTY TIPPING COMP HOME PAGE.

The competition password is: Electric

In order to be awarded a prize participants must be financial members of the ETU NSW and ACT Branch.

In Unity,

Dave McKinley - Secretary

National Fight Back Rally - 9 March

Paul Lister - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Endeavour Energy Combined Union Delegates Motion

Bruce Fan - Friday, February 24, 2017

 23/2/2017

“This Joint Union Delegates meeting reject “Both Options”, as presented by Endeavour Energy.  Therefore neither option is preferred.  The unions are committed to continue the negotiations in good faith and re-affirm our 3 key principles of;

1. Job security;

2. Maintain conditions of employment; and

3. Reasonable wage increase.

Carried unanimously

Ausgrid Agreement Overtime provision claims

Bruce Fan - Monday, February 20, 2017
It has come to the union’s attention that Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd are misleading employees regarding the Agreement provisions in respect of stand down after working overtime. The attached documents and variations of them are being used by various managers across the supply area to subvert the stand down provisions of the Agreement. The Ausgrid Agreement is very clear on stand down provisions. I have included the relevant clauses below;

15.5 Rest period after Overtime
15.5.1 Where overtime is necessary, whenever possible it shall be organised so that employees shall have at least ten (10) consecutive hours off duty. If so much overtime is worked that an employee cannot take a ten (10) consecutive hour break before the normal commencement time, they shall be entitled to time off without loss of normal pay until they have had a ten (10) consecutive hour break. If a ten (10) hour break is not given then the employee is paid double time for all hours worked until a ten (10) consecutive hour break is taken.
This means that after working overtime – any overtime – you take a 10 hr break or you get paid double time until a ten hour break is taken. This is irrespective of how long a break you might have had prior to the overtime. The attached document implies that if you have had a 10hr break prior to working the overtime then you do not have to take a 10hr break after. This is a misapplication of the Agreement. The clause clearly refers to Rest period after Overtime.
15.5.2 If a day worker is recalled to work overtime between the time determined by extending the employee’s usual ceasing time on the previous day by eight (8) hours and 0400 hours, the employee’s normal starting time the next day shall be put back by the number of hours worked between those times or paid at double time for the number of hours worked between those times.
This means that if you are recalled to work overtime between the hours of; finish time + 8hrs and 0400hrs, you only get stood down with pay for the number of hours you worked between those times or you get paid double time until that duration of a break is taken. For example if your start time is 0700 and your finish time is 15:30 and you get called in at midnight and work from midnight to 0400 then you would not start work until 11am the following day or get paid double time until that 4hr break is taken. Anything outside the span of hours above is simply reverts to the 10hr break rule.
Management has been using the attached flow charts, which are a breach of the Ausgrid Agreement. As a result of this it is apparent that many of you will actually be entitled to payment at double time when such breaks described above were not taken. I encourage all of you in this situation to make the relevant claims you are entitled to under the Agreement. This will involve consulting your own records and / or requesting time sheet records from your area management. If there are any issues with you getting this information please contact your local delegate who will assist with the process.


Ausgrid EBA Update - 8 Feb

Paul Lister - Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Dear Colleague,

The combined union delegates met on Tuesday 31st January 2017 at Ausgrid Silverwater Training Centre. The meeting was addressed by outgoing ETU Secretary Steve Butler, incoming Secretary Dave McKinley and Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd CEO, Richard Gross. Mr. Gross gave a summary of the challenges and opportunities he sees for the organisation going forward and was questioned at length by our delegates.

Mr.Gross was not prepared to give a commitment on the issue of forced redundancies one way or another but did say that he views the EBA bargaining process as a complete reset and was looking at every aspect of the business in the context of the upcoming EBA negotiations. He also stated that he wanted to see the organisation become competitive and pursue contestable markets. In terms of commitments Mr. Gross gave an undertaking that representation rights letters would be mailed to all employees within two weeks of the meeting and that he expected the first EBA meeting would take place before the end of February.

Steve Butler gave an industry report focusing on the Essential Energy negotiations and the associated legal actions which led to arbitration on the Essential Agreement. The incoming Secretary Dave McKinley thanked Steve and noted that given this was effectively Steve’s last day on the job, it was fitting that he address Ausgrid delegates. All delegates gave Steve a long round of applause in thanks for his huge effort over many years as both the organizer for Ausgrid and Secretary of the union.

The meeting proceeded and elected the following EBA negotiating committee representatives;

The meeting discussed our negotiating position with respect to the EBA and it was agreed that the consistently maintained principles of;

  1. Job security.
  2. No trade off in conditions
  3. A reasonable wage outcome.

- Continue to be the guiding principles in the negotiations.

To that end the following log of claims was unanimously endorsed by the meeting;

  • No forced redundancies.
  • 3% per annum wage rise with an effective backdate to 1 Dec 2016.
  • Nominal expiry date of 1 Dec 2020.
  • An improved contracting out clause.

Other possible claims were discussed at length but the overwhelming position of the meeting was that the claims should be kept to a minimum, be simple and directly address the three principles specified above. If members have any concerns or suggestions they should feed these back through their workplace delegates and in turn through the negotiating representatives in the list above. These will then be discussed and considered by the negotiating committee. I will today write to Ausgrid advising them of the outcomes of the meeting including the nominated representatives and the claims.

Members should expect to see representational rights letters in the mail from Ausgrid within the next week. I remind all members that if you do not respond to these letters then your default bargaining agent will be the ETU. It is important that all non-members understand that their interests will not be represented at the negotiating meetings and that they are not permitted to take part in any subsequent industrial campaign / action that the union may engage in.

I encourage all non-members to share the load with your workmates and join the union to get full representation. Members and delegates should be actively encouraging this.

Given the comments to date by the new CEO and the stance of the new owners in general, particularly in respect of engaging the union, I do believe that there is some room for cautious optimism and that we should approach the negotiations in that way. We should view this as a fresh start and hopefully an end to the war that was being waged against Ausgrid workers under government ownership. Having said that Ausgrid Management Pty Ltd and their owners should be under no illusion that we will not take a backward step on the core principles we have specified above and if we have to fight to defend those principles we have a long track record of doing so and will continue to do so.

Thank you to all members for their ongoing patience and support for your colleagues.

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