Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Endeavour Energy EBA Update - 4 March

Paul Lister - Monday, March 07, 2016

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;

  1. Job Security,
  2. Maintain Conditions of Employment, and
  3. Reasonable wage outcome.

If you require any further clarification to the above please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0431 838 852.

In Unity,
Brad Currey

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.

 

FWC Statement on Endeavour Energy Blended Delivery

Paul Lister - Friday, February 26, 2016

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.

Click here to read SDP Hambergers full statement.

 

Endeavour Energy Update - 19 February

Paul Lister - Friday, February 19, 2016

Dear Colleague

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,
Steve Butler
Secretary

IPART Publish Employement Guarantee's Reporting Manual

Paul Lister - Monday, February 08, 2016

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.

Endeavour Energy Update - 28 January 2016

Paul Lister - Thursday, January 28, 2016

Dear members

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.

In Unity
Brad Currey.

Extreme Heat Forcast for NSW

Paul Lister - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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: 

             
TEMPRETURE
DETAILS
0-28C

Continuous work with normal breaks.

28-38C

Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.

38C+

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.

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.

Endeavour Energy Update 16 December

Paul Lister - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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
Steve Butler
Secretary.

Endeavour Energy update 8 December

Paul Lister - Tuesday, December 08, 2015

EBA

On the 17th and 19th November, a limited number of your elected negotiating team (and other Unions), participated in an agreed process which was mediated by His Honour SDP Hamberger at the Fair Work Commission.

The ETU believes some progress was made, with the assistance of His Honour, in attempting to break through the barriers we have been enduring over the past 12 months.  We are in discussions with Endeavour to continue these discussion without further delay while there is some positive momentum.

In these discussions there is some confidential information being discussed.  His Honour has requested from all parties not to disclose this information of which we had to give a commitment to the same.

Please be advised that these discussions are on a “Without Prejudice” basis and any decisions are “In Principle” only and are not binding until the members have been informed and endorsed.

AER Phase 1 Field Staff Reduction Merits Assessment Appeals

Following on from the previous “Notice to Members” dated 16th Nov 2015, on this issue. Now that all the appeals have been heard, Endeavour Energy has decided to re-assess all of Hoxton Park depot again. This time using a new clearer and more transparent scoring criteria for the Company Values section (Section E).

The question was put to all the affect staff at Hoxton Park, did they want the re-assessment carried out before or after Christmas…the vast majority endorsed it be done after Christmas (Endeavour has indicated this would happen probably around early February).  In the meantime, all staff who were previously identified as surplus are now back at work in their normal role carrying out their normal duties.

Why just Hoxton Park you might ask…GOOD QUESTION.  The ETU is pushing hard to have everyone re-assessed using the same new criteria (as mentioned above)as what has been decided on with the Hoxton Park re-assessments.  These discussions are still ongoing.

Salary Maintenance Dispute

The ETU (and USU) attended a dispute conference at The Fair Work Commission yesterday regarding a dispute over Endeavours new interpretation of Salary Maintenance. 

Endeavour had now decided that Salary Maintenance was just on an employee’s “Base Hourly Rate” and not your “Ordinary Weeks Pay” (as defined in the current EBA).  This meant that employees income could be reduced by up to around $6,000.00 to $7,500.00 per annum when placed in Redeployment/Mobility, let alone the affect it would have on an employee’s payout figure if they elected to take a redundancy while they were placed in Redeployment.

The Unions position is that if an employee finds themselves being placed in Redeployment/Mobility and while they are in Redeployment/Mobility,  that their Salary is maintained at the “Ordinary Weeks Pay” rate of the substantive position they were in prior to being placed in Redeployment/Mobility (as what has been the case in the past). If this is not acceptable to Endeavour the Unions have no problem in escalating this issue to an arbitration.

As this is Endeavour’s application to Fair Work, Endeavour has committed to written response to Fair Work, and the Unions, of their decision…either maintain the Status Quo or escalate the issue to arbitration.  In the meantime the Status Quo remains.

In Unity,
Brad Currey
CEPU/ETU Organiser