Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

EBA Negotiation Updates and latest Ausgrid Job reductions

Bruce Fan - Friday, June 02, 2017

EBA NEGOTATIONS


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. 

 

AUSGRID PROPOSED JOB REDUCTIONS


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

Customer

Wayne Hudson (ETU) 0409 048 273 ;

Aaron Cole (ETU) 0457 513 327.

Bob Dupesovski (ETU) 0419 244 463

Brad Marks (ETU) 0400 795 866.

Finance

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.

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.

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

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


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