For the past two days the ETU has held our biennial conference in Wollongong with more than 100 ETU conference delegates – it was at our conference we found out that the Baird government intended to introduce legislation to allow the privatisation of TransGrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy to the NSW Parliament. As a result I have returned to the office a day early to provide this update for members.
Yesterday the Government introduced legislation to the Legislative Assembly to permit the leasing on Transgrid, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy. At no time prior to this has the government or the companies involved sought to consult with workers who will be affected by this transaction or their unions.
Further the government have chosen to introduce this legislation even before the Upper House inquiry into the transaction has been handed down – this in my view demonstrates this government’s disregard for due process and consultation with workers and the people of NSW.
Last week unions tabled our job protections package with the parliamentary inquiry. These protections were based on precedence including the 2009 retail employment protections and 2012 generator protections – a copy of this was circulated to ETU members last week.
We have today written to the management of TransGrid, Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid seeking urgent consultation around job protections resulting from this major change to the businesses. We have also written to the NSW Treasurer seeking an urgent meeting to discuss this same matter.
During all previous privatisation transactions including electricity retail, generators and Sydney Ferries the employment protections package has been developed prior to legislation being voted on and the ETU expects the same respect and consultative process in relation to the poles and wires.
ETU members can access and read the legislation that the government has introduced to the parliament at the following links:
ETU members can also view the ETU and Unions NSW submissions to the Upper House inquiry in relation to employment protections at the following links:
The ETU is continuing discussions with a range of politicians in order to achieve the best possible outcome for members. We have already secured meetings with some cross bench MP’s and we will continue to push for genuine consultation from the government.
The fact remains that no part of NSW will be spared when it comes to potential job losses resulting from privatisation. TransGrid remains a largely regional network while parts of Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid also extend into regional NSW.
For this reason I encourage all ETU members, their families and friends to call and email your local MP and urge them to support strong employment protections particularly Liberal and National Party members whose electorates will be impacted through the 100% sale of TransGrid and 50.4% sale of Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid.
We will continue to keep you up to date on any developments, any questions may be directed to your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.
In Unity - Steve Butler, Secretary