The Australian Tax Office has made an income tax ruling in relation to Endeavour Energy's 2016 Early Retirement Scheme. The ETU understands that the ruling provides for a favourable treatment for those participating in the Endeavour Energy Early Retirement Scheme, but as always individuals should seek their own independent financial advice.
Electricity, Water and Utilities
Electricity, Water and Utilities
On Wednesday 2nd March, the Endeavour Energy Combined Unions held a meeting with all Delegates where we discussed the Company’s latest EBA offer as outlined in Endeavour’s Employee Update No.15 (1/3/16).
Endeavour’s Current position: Base Proposal
Endeavour Energy’s base proposal remains:
Three year agreement term
Two year wage freeze, followed by a 2.5% increase.
Combined Delegates response:
No agreement to this – wage outcome open for discussion dependant on the outcome of the rest of the Proposed EBA.
Endeavour’s Current Position: Key Proposals
The below changes are the proposals Endeavour Energy believes are essential to meet the long-term interests of customers, the business and employees.
An end to indefinite redeployment – Don’t be fooled this means FORCED REDUNDANCY.
Freeze Maturing Allowance
Electrical License Allowance eligibility changes*
Modernised consultation clause
Modernised disputes clause
* Endeavour Energy is still waiting for the Federal Court to hear their appeal on the Electrician’s Licence Allowance. They understand the hearing has been set for May.
Combined delegates response:
Redeployment: No agreement to accept Endeavour’s proposal - Scope for further explore some changes to the current provisions in respect to being redeployed, suitable alternative Employment within Endeavour, provided with trailing etc.,but clearly NO SCOPE to discuss any “FORCED REDUNDANCY” component of this, being mindful that Endeavour has reached its minimum staffing requirements of 2,100 employees due to the April 2015 AER Final Determination.
Maturing Allowance: No agreement to accept Endeavour’s proposal - Scope to further explore some changes to the current provisions.
Electrical License Allowance: Not open for discussion as this will most likely be decided in the Federal Court.
Consultation Clause: No agreement to accept Endeavour’s proposal – As Endeavour’s proposal eliminates the Employees right to Procedural Fairness. There is NO SCOPE for further discussion on this point.
Disputes Clause: No agreement to accept Endeavour’s proposal – As Endeavour’s proposal eliminates the Employees right to Procedural Fairness. There is NO SCOPE for further discussion on this point.
Endeavour’s Previous proposals
The following proposals from our previous offer have been put aside in management’s current proposal:
Reduce long service leave
Cease defined benefits super top up
Removal of “all purpose” allowances
Reduce call out minimum hours paid
Reduce pre-arranged overtime minimum hours paid
Transfer of depot payment change
Overtime travel allowance change
Management say if we don’t reach agreement on the current key proposals, management may revisit the previous proposals listed above.
Combined delegates response:
The Delegates and Unions don’t accept the principle of Negotiations by Ultimatum.
The Combined Union Delegates endorsed the Negotiating Team to continue negotiations with Endeavour in an attempt to achieve an outcome which is in line with the 3 core principles;
Maintain Conditions of Employment, and
Reasonable wage outcome.
If you require any further clarification to the above please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0431 838 852.
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.
The ETU today appeared in the Fair Work Commission over the Endeavour Energy blended delivery dispute. Senior Deputy President Hamberger issued a statement following todays hearing which can be viewed below.
Both parties have agreed:
- to develop an agreed process for benchmarking what potential external providers could deliver compared to internal delivery (prior to any formal market testing);
- to develop an agreed process to allow Endeavour Energy employees to demonstrate that they can deliver the work in a competitive manner; and
- to develop a transparent and agreed methodology for comparing what potential external providers could deliver with what could be done by Endeavour Energy employees.
The combined unions met with management yesterday to continue discussions over the Endeavour Energy enterprise agreement, something that has been ongoing since mid-2014.
The company refuses to reveal the number of redundancies they say they need and they can’t advise the exact number of employees now working for Endeavour Energy.
Management say the company is now losing $700,000 per month, down from $2.7 million per month, because of so called “unfunded positions” – a term made up by management and nowhere to be found in the AER determination.
The ETU understands that there are enough workers willing to accept VR (but have been refused access to VR) to reduce the alleged “unfunded” liability to zero but management refuse to consider this proposition.
The combined unions have put forward repeated proposals in relation to an agreement that includes job protection’s and also considers managements position but management refuse to consider these proposals because they say they need to factor in the NEXT AER determination (ie post 2019).
At yesterday’s meeting Endeavour Energy management provided the ETU with a proposal that we expect they will incorporate into a DRAFT document and circulate to employees at sometime.
Endeavour Energy’s most recent proposal includes the following.
Three year agreement
Two year wage freeze and a 2.5% increase in year three – a proposal that would cut your take home pay and see every Endeavour Energy employee go backwards.
End to “indefinite redeployment” – this is management speak for widespread and uncapped forced redundancy. Under this “offer” you will no longer enjoy secure employment.
Freezing the maturing allowance – this represents a significant attack on employees which would see hundreds of workers financially worse off.
Changing the Electrical Licensing Allowance –management speak for axing this allowance for approximately a quarter of the workforce which would have a significant impact leaving families worse off financially.
New consultation and dispute clauses – as we have seen elsewhere Endeavour Energy is pushing to remove the “status quo” provision which if implemented will take away your ability to force the company to consult in a meaningful way.
All other matters still active – management speak for “we haven’t finished with you yet, there are more attacks to come.”
The ETU will continue to fight for an agreement that can be taken to members – an agreement that is fair, considers the position of workers and treats people with respect. We have lodged the matter in the Fair Work Commission for report back with a hearing set down for 1 March.
Yours in solidarity,
The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal today published their final reporting manual for Network Operators – Ausgrid, TransGrid and Endeavour Energy in relation to the operation of the employment protection guarantees as provided for in legislation following privatisation.
IPART sought feedback from stakeholders earlier this year and following a detailed submission the ETU secured some changes to the final reporting manual to ensure member’s rights are fully protected and adhered to.
In addition to the ETU, network providers also made submissions. Links to each of these submissions and the final version of the reporting manual can be found below.
This manual outlines how the employment guarantees are to work and the reporting requirements that each network operator’s is required to abide by.
The combined unions will be writing to Endeavour Energy seeking clarification on the company’s position as a result of the Interest Based Bargaining discussions that have taken place both before Senior Deputy President Hamberger and more recently between the parties themselves.
Unions that are party to the Endeavour Energy agreement have made every effort to consider the organisational requirements in the renegotiation of the 2012 agreement and there have been numerous meetings where there have been various options suggested to form the basis of a new agreement.
To date Endeavour Energy have rejected these broad propositions as unacceptable. The combined unions are seeking from Endeavour Energy to confirm their positions in writing as per today’s discussions.
The combined unions now intend to notify a report back to SDP Hamberger and for the negotiations to continue with or without the assistance of SDP Hamberger.
However, in my view, the negotiations today unfortunately took a step backwards.
Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.
All members must be aware of the dangers of heat stress and familiarise themselves with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy and the WorkCover code of practice for managing the work environment.
In summary ETU members should observe the following as a minimum but individuals should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation:
Continuous work with normal breaks.
Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.
Mandatory - stop work - do individual (Personal) risk assessment and determine if work is to continue, that work undertaken to be limited to fault and emergency or finalisation of current work (No New Work).
Please use these links to access a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat policy (2003), Workcover NSW’s website with details about working in heat and the Bureau of Meteorology for current weather forecasts (click on the map for your local forecast).
Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.
Attention of members is drawn to a Safety Alert issued by Energex in relation to ABB Ring Main Unit (RMU).
The ETU advises that the RMU needs to be used with caution.
The combined unions again met with Endeavour Energy management yesterday as part of our ongoing discussions following on from the Fair Work Commission Interest Based Bargaining sessions.
Our goal remains to reach an agreement in principle that delivers a fair outcome for ETU members. ETU members will get to vote on any proposed agreement giving you the opportunity to accept or reject any proposal.
Some positive ground has been made through the FWC Interest Based Bargaining process and this continued yesterday. Endeavour Energy now have a number of proposals to consider over the Christmas/New Year period.
All parties continue to be bound by the confidentiality conditions imposed by the Fair Work Commission however these discussions are “Without Prejudice” - All ETU members will be provided with detailed information once discussions conclude.
ALL ETU MEMBERS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE ON ANY PROPOSED AGREEMENT. MEMBERS WILL HAVE THE ULTIMATE SAY ON THE ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF ANY AGREEMENT SHOULD DISCUSSIONS PRODUCE AN AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE.
Either Brad Currey or I will continue to provide you with updates. While it is frustrating for both the negotiation team and members during this period of confidentiality I am hopefully that we will have more to report in the New Year.
Endeavour Energy management and the combined unions have agreed to continue discussion mid-January 2016. I would like to wish all members a safe and happy holiday period.
Yours in Unity
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