Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

ETU NSW Supports Sacked CUB Workers

Paul Lister - Thursday, August 11, 2016

The ETU NSW Branch has swung their support behind our Victorian brothers in their fight against Carlton & United Breweries after CUB contracted out the jobs of 54 electricians and fitters and offered the workers to reapply for their old jobs on 65% less pay.

The ETU NSW, AMWU and Unions NSW are hitting the streets tomorrow to raise awareness of this bastard act with members of the public. WE ARE ASKING ALL ETU MEMBERS TO ATTEND ONE OF THE ACTIONS OCCURING TOMORROW IN SYDNEY CBD, PARRAMATTA AND PENRITH.

We will be handing out flyer asking members of the public to boycott CUB products including VB. Details for each event can be found below - please click on the link for each event for full details.

SYDNEY CBD - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 1pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Salim Babar: 0417 286 482)

PARRAMATTA - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 2pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Iris Knight 0429 464 064)

PENRITH - CLICK HERE (Penrith Plaza - Riley St 12noon - 2pm outside Westfield entry/exit handing out flyers. Contact Mary Yaager 0408 931 899)

 

What does the AER Appeal out come mean?

Paul Lister - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Last Friday the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) handed down their decision in relation to the AER determination, which was appealed by the network companies.

What this means we do not exactly know but in our press release issued last Friday we called on the network businesses to suspend all job losses at least until the AER can review their determination and “remake” it. This process alone is likely to take many months – most likely more than 6 months.

Below are some brief dot points below about the ACT ruling…

  • The AER determination is made up of two elements – Capital Expenditure (Capex) and Operating Expenditure (Opex).
  • The Network companies ONLY APPEALED THE OPEX element of the determination that the AER made last April.
  • The way the AER made their Opex determination was through a “bench marking” model where they compare the “efficiency” of network companies to a bench mark (usually a lower cost network company).
  • The Competition Tribunal essential pointed out two major issues:
    • That there were deficiencies in the AER bench marking data used.
    • That as a result of the bench marking deficiencies that the subsequent AER determination also contained deficiencies.
  • The Ruling from the Competition Tribunal is that the AER must now consider the deficiency issues around their bench marking model and remake their determination for Ausgrid, Essential Energy, Endeavour Energy and ActewAGL using a broader range of modelling and benchmarking using Australian businesses and a “bottom up” review.

What does this mean for ETU members?

As a result, the Competition Tribunal ruled the AER determination delivered in April last year must be “set aside” – it is unclear what this setting aside means in the interim.

If the network businesses are awarded higher revenues for their opex component in the re-making of the AER determination then theoretically this increase in revenue should directly result in less jobs being lost. Why? because the whole basis for the current round of job losses proposed by the network companies was that they are “unfunded positions as a result of the AER determination”. If revenues increase, we would expect job losses to decrease.

Given that we will not know how big an increase the network companies will be awarded, if any at all, we cannot quantify the outcome for ETU members at this stage. We will however continue to monitor the AER review process and represent members when and where it is beneficial.

Click here to read a copy of the Australian Competition Tribunal summary.

 

Energex ABB Ring Main Unit Safety Alert

Paul Lister - Thursday, January 07, 2016

Attention of members is drawn to a Safety Alert issued by Energex in relation to ABB Ring Main Unit (RMU).

Click here to view a copy of the safety notice.

The ETU advises that the RMU needs to be used with caution.

IMPORTANT: Assistance for Members

Paul Lister - Friday, October 23, 2015

Many ETU members are currently facing an uncertain future as a result of significant change in their workplace. The ETU will continue to represent members and fight to protect jobs right across NSW and the ACT by taking all possible action.

We also recognise that this is a difficult time for members and their family. It is important that we all keep an eye out for each other – look out for your work mates and reach out if you think someone may be facing difficulties.

If you or someone you know is struggling please make use of all available resources. We have provided details below for a number of professional organisations that may be able to assist. If you would prefer to call the union please do so and we can put you on contact with trained professionals to assist you and your family.

Professional Support Services

LIFELINE: 13 11 14 / www.lifeline.org.au

BEYOND BLUE: 1300 224 636 / www.beyondblue.org.au

SANE AUSTRALIA: 1800 187 263 / www.sane.org

HEADSPACE YOUTH SERVICES: 1800 650 890 / www.headspace.org.au

 

ETU engages expert to appear at AER appeal

Paul Lister - Thursday, August 06, 2015

The ETU has commissioned expert economist Thomas Devlin to appear before the Australian Competition Tribunal today to put the union’s case against the recent AER determination. The ETU believes the AER’s determination cuts too hard and too deep and will result in an unsafe electricity network.

Thomas Devlin conducted an extensive technical review of the AER’s benchmark data, this research formed the basis of the ETU’s written submission ahead of the AER’s determination. In his research, Thomas found serious flaws in the AER’s modelling and assumptions including:

  • The use of customer density instead of line length.
  • Failure to breakdown opex into subcomponents, meaning the AER cannot credibly identify any drivers of inefficiency, and there is no transparency on what items are included/excluded for example metering, debt and insurance should all be excluded.
  • Over emphasis on labour costs, based on the findings from questionable Deloitte research.
  • Simplistic approach to asset life in their comparison of networks.
  • Inconsistencies in data definitions across national Network Service Providers.
  • General failures in relying on benchmarking rather than a “bottom up” approach considering process and structure.

The ETU is determined to fight the AER determination in order to deliver a safe, reliable and affordable electricity network across NSW and the ACT. The ETU is also determined to minimise andypotential job losses affecting members working across NSW and the ACT.

Your union has engaged a technical expert to appear before the Australian Competition Tribunal – the court responsible for reviewing the AER determination – in order to provide the strongest possible representation for ETU members.

The outcome of the AER appeal is not expected to be known until later in the year and we will keep members up to date on any developments.

In Unity,
Steve Butler

ETU Canberra Rally to Stop the China Free Trade Agreement

Paul Lister - Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Abbott Government negotiated the terms of the China Free Trade Agreement in secret because it comes at the cost of local jobs, worker safety, workplace rights and community safety.

Next Monday we're rallying in Canberra to stop the China Free Trade Agreement and demand the Government renegotiate the deal in the interests of the community.

Use your lunch break to join the rally – more information in the attached flyer. RSVP here.

WHEN
August 10, 2015 at 12pm - 1pm

WHERE
Garema Place, Canberra
25 Garema Pl
Canberra, ACT 2600
Australia

The public is overwhelmingly against this deal and making our message heard is crucial to protecting local jobs. Invite your friends and colleagues. See you there.

Rally against ChAFTA

Paul Lister - Friday, July 17, 2015

The ETU is supporting national rally's in all capital cities against Tony Abbott's China Free Trade Agreement that will see aussie workers worse off.

The China FTA allows Chinese companies investing more than A$150 million to import temporary workers without testing if local workers are available, and allows Chinese companies to sue our government for damages if changes to our laws have a negative impact on them.

A Parliamentary Committee is taking evidence about the China FTA over the next month. The ETU want to make your voice heard, by bringing our flags, banners and members together to send a message to the Australian Parliament that we do not support Abbott's China Free Trade Agreement.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: Rally outside the Sydney Committee hearing, Friday 31 July, 12 noon, meet outside NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney and bring a friend.

Stop the China Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

Paul Lister - Thursday, July 16, 2015

You may have heard that just a few weeks ago Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed off on the China Free Trade Agreement that will allow Chinese based companies to import their own labour.

Abbott's free trade agreement also removes the requirement for mandatory skills assessment for ten occupations including: Electrician (General), Electrician (Special Class), Automotive Electrician. ALL OTHER occupations will be reviewed within two years with the aim of reducing or eliminating the need for skills assessments.

The ETU is fighting to STOP THE CHINA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT by raising this as a public issue before two parliamentary committee's consider the issues. In order to come into effect these parliamentary committees must sign off on it.

TAKE ACTION TODAY - visit the Australian Unions website and email your MP

Look out for yourself and your work mates

Paul Lister - Friday, June 19, 2015

Are you concerned about a workmate or are you struggling yourself with changes at work? There are many services available that can provide assistance.

Lifeline: www.lifeline.org.au
Sane Australia: www.sane.org
Black Dog Institute: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
Beyond Blue: www.beyondblue.org.au

Final AER determination 2014-19

Paul Lister - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dear colleagues

The AER has today released their final determination outlining the amount of revenue the transmission and distribution networks can recover from their regulated asset base over the period 2014-2019.

Members will recall that management from some network companies decided to tie the AER determination to your future wages and the number of employees at Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy, ActewAGL and TransGrid.

Neither of these matters – wages and employee numbers – is determined by the AER. This is a decision by your management to connect the two.

The AER determination sets out the amount that can be recovered by the network businesses from their “regulated asset base” among other matters. The AER determination does not limit the amount of income these businesses can generate from other sources including area’s such as contestable work.

The ETU commissioned experts to compile our own submissions to the AER outlining our concerns around the draft determination – a copy of our submissions can be found on the ETU website.

The AER has this morning released their final determination delivering cuts to revenue as follows:

  • Ausgrid – 33% less than that sought by the company
  • Endeavour Energy – 28% less than that sought by the company
  • Essential Energy – 31% less than that sought by the company
  • TransGrid – 25% less than that sought by the company
  • ActewAGL – 32% less than that sought by the company

The AER claim this determination will result in lower power prices however there is NO GUARANTEE OF LOWER PRICES given that the NSW Government deregulated retail electricity pricing in July 2014 meaning that and reduction will rely on the good will of electricity retailers.

THE ETU WILL STAND UP FOR OUR MEMBERS AND FIGHT AGAINST ANY JOB LOSSES AS A RESULT OF GOVERNMENT OR MANAGEMENT DECISIONS. WE WILL ALSO CONTINUE NEGOTIAITIONS FOR IMPROVED JOB PROTECTIONS IN YOUR AGREEMENTS IN LIGHT OF THE THREAT OF JOB LOSSES.

The ETU believes there are alternatives to mass sackings and we believe that the approach taken by management is an excuse to, among other things, get rid of thousands of workers ahead of the NSW Government’s planned privatisation.

Following today’s AER determination management is already circulating notices about potential job losses. This should serve as a stark reminder of the importance of securing improved job protections, including no forced redundancies, in all future agreements.

Under existing agreements your employer cannot force anyone to take a redundancy and although Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy agreements have expired they continue to apply until a new agreement is struck.

To say we are disappointed with this outcome is a massive understatement. We are committed to identifying alternatives to job cuts including re-entry to contestable work, elimination of the executive bonus scheme, possible opportunities around the National Broadband Network, voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes and retraining/redeployment for any displaced employee.

We also hold particular concerns for current and future apprentices and their ability to secure full time ongoing employment. The ETU will fight to deliver a positive outcome on this front where ever possible.

The ETU will work with all stakeholders to minimise impacts on our members as we move forward. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

Steve Butler
Secretary