Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Ausgrid EBA & Job Reduction Update

Paul Lister - Friday, August 11, 2017

EBA Negotiations

Ausgrid continue to consider their position with a view to putting a firm documented proposal to the unions - sometime towards the end of this month or early September. We will obviously reserve our judgement until we see that document and will always be willing to negotiate. Having said that we are increasingly becoming pessimistic of the possibility of an amicable outcome given Ausgrid’s position of wanting to increase job insecurity by insisting on unlimited forced redundancies and the ability to contract out work at lower rates of pay and conditions.

Once we have received Ausgrid’s position on the Agreement we will report back to delegates and decide on how to move forward with the matter - one way or another.

Ausgrid’s ongoing program of job cuts

As reported last time, Ausgrid have consulted on the axing of some 236 jobs on top of the thousands they have already axed over recent years and intend to consult on an extra 60 on top (i.e. 300 FTE all up). As a result of several disputes lodged by the union the following results were achieved.

  1. GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping section: an alternative proposal was put by members and delegates which would have seen job cuts reduced from 23 down to 15. Ausgrid did not accept the proposal but agreed to a transition period of 6 months whereby a number of staff would be kept on to oversee the transition to a contracting out model of data recording. Ausgrid have undertaken to review the numbers if the projected assumptions underlying the model turned out to be inaccurate.
  2. Asset access: Discussions are continuing around a dedicated monitoring and rescue based model (previously just monitoring) whereby the previous numbers of 23 would be retained and possibly expanded on. The new model improves productivity by using Asset Access as a professional rescue service and teaming up with region staff to provide monitoring where Asset Access staff are not available for monitoring.
  3. Contact Centre: This area remains in dispute as Ausgrid have attempted to shut down an administrative centre (Sydney Contact Centre) and re-advertise positions in Newcastle effectively giving no viable opportunity for the Sydney based Customer Service Representatives and Team Leaders other than redeployment on a lower income.
  4. Administration/Clerical: The USU and ETU have participated in the job evaluation for these roles and whilst the points value of the new roles was revised upwards it was not enough to result in an upward revision from Admin / Clerical 7 to 8. Note that Ausgrid have confirmed that salary maintenance of all current grade 8 people who subsequently land a role will be maintained.
  5. Arborists: The ETU is in discussions with Ausgrid management regarding Ausgrid’s decision to axe one of the three arborists roles. These roles oversee contract tree trimming activities and in our view, are already stretched to the limit over the full Ausgrid franchise area and this is a completely unwarranted cut.
  6. Trainer/Assessors: The ETU has this matter in dispute because of Ausgrid’s attempt to devalue the Network Operators Training / Assessor role by about $20,000.00.

I will be off work from Friday 11th August returning Monday 11th September. In my absence Anthony O’Sullivan will be performing my role. I would ask all delegates to support Anthony and give him every assistance in carrying out the role.

Anthony can be contacted on the following: 0467 565 902 and anthonyo@etunsw.asn.au

EBA Negotiations delayed as Ausgrid rejects proposed job security clauses

Paul Lister - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

There has been a delay in EBA negotiations as Ausgrid are yet to put their position on a number of key areas that the unions have identified below. Ausgrid have told us that they do not expect to present a position on these matters until the next scheduled meeting on 2 August 2017. The combined unions negotiating committee have maintained the following position in terms of each of these items as follows;

  • Potential incentive payment for redeployees; Ausgrid have yet to present their position on a proposition for an incentive payment that we put when Ausgrid stated that they were having trouble exiting redeployees from the business. We have also given Ausgrid an alternative to an incentive payment which is to find redeployees jobs within the business instead of paying contractors to do their work plus paying our members to sit in redeployment. It doesn’t seem like a very smart business model to have people sitting in redeployment until June 2020 when you could be utilising them productively. One would have thought the new owners would be driven by basic business sense and not the mindless ideology of the previous owners but Ausgrid’s actions in this area suggest otherwise.
  • Response to the ETU proposition on a contracting out clause which recognises that Ausgrid should consider only contractors with like rates of pay and conditions to Ausgrid Agreement employees; We will not have our members exposed to a race to the bottom on wages and conditions. The contracting out clause we have proposed is common across several electricity supply agreements that were used as exemplars in the AER benchmarking process. These types of clauses prevent employers cynically using contactors as a method for undercutting their permanent internal employees and making them redundant. Ausgrid have indicated that they will reject such a clause which presents a major sticking point in an Agreement being reached for us. This is particularly concerning when coupled with Ausgrid’s position in item 3. below.
  • A limit on the numbers of any post June 2020 (end of job guarantee) forced redundancies; Ausgrid have indicated that they do not accept a limit on forced redundancies after the job guarantees expire on 1 July 2020. We have said that such a limit is non-negotiable and that by indicating they want unlimited forced redundancies after June 2020 flags their likely intentions with regards to outsourcing remaining work and instituting more mass job slashing.

There are other significant areas of disagreement but the three above remain major sticking points. We will update members after the next schedule EBA meeting on 2 August 2017.

Ausgrid continues to destroy jobs.

Ausgrid have now largely completed consultation on the axing of another 236 jobs on top of the thousands they have already axed over recent years – this excludes an extra 60 on top they are yet to consult us on (i.e. 300 FTE all up). Not content with the previous owner’s decimation of jobs they want to extract even more blood. The ETU (supported by the combined unions) placed the whole matter in dispute because of several inadequacies in the process including;

  • No data on final job reductions by classification and location,
  • No due process afforded in accordance with the Agreement in respect of job evaluations and
  • lack of dialogue with union officials on final numbers post employee proposals.

Since notification of the dispute Ausgrid have now provided the job cuts data and undertaken to formally abide by the joint union / management panel process for job evaluation as specified in the Ausgrid Agreement. As a result of the dispute, discussions are occurring on outstanding issues and final numbers in the following areas.

  • GIS (Geographical Information Systems) mapping section; is in dispute due to the consultation process, job evaluation and final numbers.
  • Field Services and in particular Asset access; consultation is on-going on final configuration and numbers as the ETU had placed the matter in dispute based on our view that the Ausgrid proposal would not have adequately catered for a rescue function which we believe is necessary to safeguard the welfare of our members entering confined spaces.
  • Contact Centre; In dispute as a result of Ausgrid targeting the Sydney contact centre based on work location and employment status as shift workers.
  • Administration / Clerical; In dispute because of job evaluation’s not being completed with Ausgrid proposing to downgrade many Admin grade 8’s to 7 and question marks over salary maintenance.

The ETU are in ongoing discussions over these matters and will update members as progress is made. If members are being interviewed for reform affected roles that would have an impact on opportunities in other potentially reform affected areas that are in dispute then please notify your delegate or myself ASAP. If members in any other areas have concerns arising from this process which I have not addressed above please contact your delegate or myself.

In Unity,
0417 208 447 /

EBA Negotiation Updates and latest Ausgrid Job reductions

Bruce Fan - Friday, June 02, 2017


Whilst there are still several negotiation meetings to take place and the Agreement is by no means settled, negotiations have now progressed sufficiently enough for a report back to all delegates. 

Ausgrid have agreed to a paid delegates meeting as follows;


Tuesday, 6 June 2017  10:00-14:00: Silverwater Training Centre Auditorium.

All delegates should attend this important meeting.


I have also scheduled a series of paid depot meetings to update members on the negotiations. The schedule is detailed below. All members should make every effort to attend these meetings so as you are briefed on the status of the Agreement negotiations. 



Many of you would be aware that yet again Ausgrid is going through another round of significant job cuts with some 300 reductions proposed across a range of Management, Admin / Clerical, para- professional and some trade based roles. 

In accordance with the consultative provisions of the Agreement Ausgrid have been consulting with us in a number of areas where our members are affected including Field Services, Customer and Asset Management. 

We have delegates representing our members in each of these affected areas and if members have concerns they should contact these delegates in the first instance.


Along with our delegates I have attended a number of these meetings. It is clear to me that, to the extent that an analysis has been done by Ausgrid to justify the proposed reductions in each area - some heroic assumptions have been made at best. 

At worst, the analysis has been based on cursory guesses, inaccurate information and basically attempts to come up with cuts to satisfy quotas or targets. 

In particular, prior to the consultation commencing, Ausgrid have not sought bottom up data on the work type and volumes so as to be in a position to make accurate judgements on remaining labour capacity. 

As a result we have been making the point that this analysis needs to include feedback from our delegates and members as to what happens in the real world so we can test their assumptions. 

This process is happening right now and I encourage all the consultative groups to put in alternative proposals based on the experience and knowledge of the work type and volume that you all have expertise in. 

Invariably this feedback should in my view result in an upward revision of jobs retained. Credible alternative proposals should always attempt to address and factor in to the proposals productivity and efficiency. 

Whilst I understand why there is a lot of cynicism regarding consultation on these matters – I have on occasions seen such proposals result in retention of positions that would have otherwise been lost- so please proactively participate and influence the outcome.

Download the notice

Ausgrid Transformation Consultative Committee TCC (Mix and Match committee)

Bruce Fan - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The union has managed to successfully convince Ausgrid of the value in having our delegates directly participate in identifying opportunities for mix and matching permanent roles whereby staff who want to take a VR can do so and allow other staff to gain these permanent roles. Previously this management selected process has not been thorough enough to exhaust opportunities which members were telling us were available but managers were either actively resisting, ignoring or not supporting. What we need and now have is a process which formally allows our delegates to highlight such opportunities.


The way the process will work is that the committee has 7 permanent delegates as members of the committee. I have attached the list of permanent committee members. If members are aware of circumstances whereby mix and match opportunities exist they should brief their relevant delegate who will then either take the proposal to one of the nominated committee delegates or join the committee themselves on an as needs basis to present the case directly. I have attached a form, which specifies the details of the case, which members / delegates need to complete for submission to the committee. Fill out as much detail as possible. Management will then inform us as to whether the case can be facilitated and if not why not. To be clear Ausgrid retain final discretion over the decision but the process allows us to thoroughly exhaust all opportunities.


Notwithstanding extenuating circumstances, it is important for all members to understand that the ETU is not in the business of securing straight VR’s for people just because they have a desire to leave. This simply leaves our industry with fewer jobs for our members. Our absolute priority is to secure jobs for our members who otherwise do not have permanent employment. To that end we will always support a mix and match back-fill which results in our members achieving a permanent position and that is the function of the committee.

     Download the full article with contact number

     Request for additional review

More Job Cut - Notice To Member 05/05/2017

Bruce Fan - Friday, May 05, 2017

More Ausgrid Job cuts; 

Members would be aware that Ausgrid have proposed a further reduction in their already decimated workforce by another 300. Most of these 300 are to come from management and administrative ranks and represent almost 10% of the current workforce. 

Ausgrid have engaged the unions on the consultative process and ETU delegates have been nominated in most areas where the ETU has coverage. I have included a summary of the areas that are affected by the proposed reductions on the following page and the delegates nominated to date. If members are aware that they are in an affected area and do not have representation, please contact your delegate or myself to ensure adequate representation.

Last week I wrote to Ausgrid in response to a time-table they had requested on consultation over these reductions. In that correspondence I made it clear that the combined unions were not satisfied that the previous mix and match process was carried out with enough input and scrutiny from our members and delegates. That scrutiny we believe was and is absolutely necessary for us to be able to maximise opportunities for those who want to stay - to be mixed and matched in to roles for which people have expressed an interest in taking a V/R. 

I proposed that we form a mix and match committee to deal with various opportunities which our members and their delegates would be aware of. Ausgrid have now agreed to this process which we will be implementing over the coming weeks. I would encourage all members to feed any such opportunities back through their delegates so that this committee will be able to consider them. Details of the committee members will be forthcoming shortly.

Ausgrid EBA Progress; The next EBA meeting is not scheduled to occur until 31st May but in the meantime subcommittees consisting of negotiating committee representatives are meeting to finalise proposals on classifications, overtime and shift work. At that 31st May meeting we also expect Ausgrid to come back to us on firm proposals around Redundancy and Redeployment with further discussions towards finalising dispute settlement procedure and consultation.

May Day; On another note the union movement will be celebrating May Day this Sunday 7th May with a march and family fun day commencing 12:00 at Hyde Park Nth and ending at Prince Alfred Park. At the end of the march there will be food, rides and entertainment for the kids. I encourage all members to attend this great event and stand with us to celebrate and recognize the achievements of the union movement and the contribution that all unionists have made to Australian society over the past 150 years. I have attached a flier to the notice – please encourage your friends and family to attend.

Area Affected

Nominated Delegates




Field Services

Luke White (ETU) 0408 467 504;

Pat Keefe (ETU) 0429 019 620;

Peter Kramel (ETU) 0422 570 060;

Josh Williams (ETU) 0408 252 581;

Peter Cantlon (ETU) 0414 192 117;

Jason White (ETU) 0438 287 221;

Paul O'Neil (ETU) 0418 283 997.

Michael Whitton (ETU) 0415 549 487; 

Sean Russell (ETU) 0427 937 832.

Peter McNeil (ETU) ; 0405 332 351


Wayne Hudson (ETU) 0409 048 273 ;

Aaron Cole (ETU) 0457 513 327.

Bob Dupesovski (ETU) 0419 244 463

Brad Marks (ETU) 0400 795 866.


Megan Hambley (ETU); 0428 241 426

Lloyd Williams (ETU) 0414192192

Asset Management Operations

Peter Doolan (ETU) 0417227 449,

Dean Robertson (ETU) 0400 309 607

People & Safety

Darran Miller (ETU) 0458 203 390

Legal & Company Secretary


Corporate Affairs


Download the PDF file

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

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.


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.


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.


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

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