Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

TransGrid EA Depot Visits

Paul Lister - Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ETU Assistant Secretary, Paul Sinclair and Unions NSW Deputy Assistant Secretary, Adam Kerslake will be visiting Transgrid depots and locations between 9 December - 13 December to meet with TransGrid staff over the company’s proposed non-union agreement.

At these meetings members will be provided with an update on negotiations and you will hear why the proposed non-union agreement is bad for employees.

NEWCASTLE
8.00am Monday 9 December

TAMWORTH
2.00pm Tuesday 10 December

WAGGA WAGGA
8.30am Thursday 12 December

WALGROVE
3.00pm Thursday 12 December

SYDNEY (Trades Hall)
12.30pm Thursday 12 December

YASS (Bargaining Reps)
2.30pm Thursday 12 December

ORANGE
12.00 Midday Friday 13 December

All staff (union & non union) are encouraged to attend these information sessions.

It is important that members understand that the proposed non-union agreement requires many trade off’s in your conditions.

Under the company’s proposal you will lose multiple conditions for up to 0.4% pay increase. TransGrid also expect you to absorb future superannuation increases (1.25% over life of the agreement) as part of this deal - hardly good by any standard.

Voting will commence next Monday 16 December and ALL EMPLOYEES SHOULD VOTE NO TO THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT.

By voting NO you will force management back to the negotiating table.

If you have any questions please ask your workplace delegate of call Paul Sinclair on 0414 877 169.

TransGrid non-union EBA: Whats at Risk? VOTE NO for a fair deal

Paul Lister - Friday, December 06, 2013

TransGrid have now indicated that they have withdrawn from negotiations and that TransGrid will conduct a ballot on a non-union agreement commencing on Monday 16 December.

Members should be aware that the proposed agreement that you will be voting on represents significant trade off’s for a 0.4% wage increase.

Trade off’s include:

  • WAGE INCREASE - All employees are guaranteed the state wage policy of a 2.5% increase with ZERO trade off’s. What is really on offer under TransGrids non-union EBA is an increase of 0.35% / 0.4% / 0.4% but you will have to trade off many conditions to get less than half a percent pay increase.
  • SUPERANNUATION - Transgrid expect their employees to absorb future superannuation increases. Superannuation is set to increase by 1.25% over the life of the agreement but Transgrid want you to absorb this as part of their wage offer.
  • REMOVE THE 9 DAY FORTNIGHT – TransGrid want to remove the existing 9 day fortnight for Sydney office staff. This will be replaced with an inferior “flex time” arrangement. Flex time is different to an RDO because your manager must first agree to allow you to take the flex time – it is totally at the discretion of your manager and you get no say. The company has also threatened to remove the guaranteed 9 day fortnight for all other workers.
  • JOB SECURITYThe proposed non-union agreement does not protect employees from future forced redundancies, redeployment, salary maintenance and contracting out. Ausgrid, Endeavour and Essential have all undertaken redundancy & contracting out programs and it is only a matter of time until TransGrid does the same.
  • CUT TO SICK LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS – the proposed changes to sick leave by the company will reduce the number of sick days you can take before providing evidence and removing access to sick leave while on leave
  • CUT ANNUAL LEAVE ENTITLEMENTS – changes include restricting employee’s accumulations and forcing staff to cash in leave at the direction of the company without consultation.
  • NO CONSULTATIONTransgird want to impose corporate changes on employees without substantive consultation. This prevents employees from having a say on decisions that impact on their future but allows TransGrid to force corporate decisions on you regardless of the impact.
  • CHANGING HIGHER DUTIES – TransGrid will remove your right to claim Higher Duties for work performed at a higher level unless the time you perform the duties exceeds one day – this is a cut to your current conditions.
  • ALLOWANCES – the wage increase will not apply to Fares & Travel, Susso, Stand-by etc.

You will receive propaganda from the company as early as this afternoon and throughout next week asking you to support a substandard agreement that will leave the entire workforce worse off. The truth is that management believe its employees are weak and will simply roll over and accept a dud deal. It is important that you vote NO to the company’s proposed agreement and force management to return to the bargaining table.

The unions are committed to reaching a fair agreement that protects your long term interests, not an agreement that will leave you worse off for less than half of a percent wage increase.

Questions about the TransGrid EBA can be directed to ETU Assistant Secretary, Paul Sinclair.

TransGrid management walk away from negotiations, announce non-union EBA

Paul Lister - Friday, December 06, 2013

Members will be aware that negotiations on a new EA commenced in July this year. Over the past four months the negotiating committee comprising employee and union representatives have presented our log of claims.

Some of the union original log of claims included:

  • 9 day fortnight
  • No forced relocation and improved relocation allowance clause
  • Contracting out clause
  • Redundancy, redeployment and salary maintenance
  • Consultation clause
  • Dispute clause
  • On call allowance
  • Skills and training
  • 5% wage increase
  • Allowances

Some of management’s log of claims included:

  • Forced cashing out of leave
  • Scope of the agreement - more individual contracts
  • Overtime - Cut penalty rates on weekends & public holidays
  • Cut sick leave entitlements
  • Restrict the higher duties allowance
  • Absorb super increases
  • Cut allowances
  • And many more cuts!

While negotiations have been slow and tedious there were a number of log items that have either been agreed in principle or withdrawn. Despite this there are also a number of significant items that we have not been able to reach agreement on or the company has refused to negotiate over.

During the last meeting management were asked to reconsider their wages offer of 2.85% in light of reporting that day in the Sydney Morning Herald that the TransGrid management executive team had received pay increases ranging between 14% and 27% or almost ten times what the company was offering to ordinary workers.

The management team indicated that the company would not be increasing their wages offer. The union negotiating team indicated that we would need to talk to members and seek direction on the company’s offer.

The key sticking points at the conclusion of last weeks meeting were:

  • Loss of 9 day fortnight
  • Contracting out Clause
  • Redundancy, relocation, redeployment and salary maintenance
  • Consultation and dispute clauses
  • Cuts to sick leave including changing the number of days without evidence and access while on leave.
  • Higher duties/grade allowance
  • Cuts to annual leave including forcing employees to cash out leave
  • Allowances
  • Wage claim

On Friday 6 December TransGrid wrote to unions advising that the company had decided to withdraw from negotiations and instead proceed to a ballot with a non-union EBA. Any questions may be directed to ETU Assistant Secretary, Paul Sinclair.

ActewAGL Safety Alert

Paul Lister - Friday, September 06, 2013

Following the fatality of an Essential Energy worker on Monday 2 September, ActewAGL has issued the following Safety Alert:

ActewAGL Safety Alert Re-stringing, Re-tensioning Conductors

Members should read the above safety notice however the union reminds all members that we have issued a uniform Safety Ban for ALL ETU NSW (& ACT) members across all electricity distributors.

ALL ETU NSW (& ACT) members are advised that there are safety bans on the following work;
 
The restringing, re-tensioning or removal of overhead conductors where there are energised circuits either above or below the circuit being worked on.
 
Any restringing, re-tensioning or removal of conductors should only be completed where the circuits are de-energised and under an Access Permit where required.

 
If you have any questions in relation to this notice as outlined above please talk to your workplace delegate or your ETU organiser.

Ausgrid & Endeavour Energy Safety Alerts

Paul Lister - Thursday, September 05, 2013

Following the fatality of an Essential Energy worker on Monday 2 September, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy have issued the following Safety Alerts:

Ausgrid Safety Alert 13-14_007 OH Conductors

Endeavour Energy Safety Alert 33/13 Temporary Suspension, Bare OH Conductors

Members should read the above safety notices however the union reminds all members that we have issued a uniform Safety Ban for ALL ETU NSW (& ACT) members across all electricity distributors.

ALL ETU NSW (& ACT) members are advised that there are safety bans on the following work;
 
The restringing, re-tensioning or removal of overhead conductors where there are energised circuits either above or below the circuit being worked on.
 
Any restringing, re-tensioning or removal of conductors should only be completed where the circuits are de-energised and under an Access Permit where required.

 
If you have any questions in relation to this notice as outlined above please talk to your workplace delegate or your ETU organiser.

ETU Safety Ban

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

As a result of the fatal electrical incident at Essential Energy on the 2nd September 2013, ALL ETU NSW (& ACT) members are advised that there are safety bans on the following work;
 
The restringing, re-tensioning or removal of overhead conductors where there are energised circuits either above or below the circuit being worked on.
 
Any restringing, re-tensioning or removal of conductors should only be completed where the circuits are de-energised and under an Access Permit where required.

 
If you have any questions in relation to this notice as outlined above please talk to your workplace delegate or your ETU organiser.

Essential Energy Fatality - Update

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Following is an update following yesterday’s fatality at Essential Energy. Members are advised that the worker was a 47 year old father of three from the Bulahdelah depot. A husband and colleague that set off to work in the morning and never came home.
 
It would appear that an out of service conductor became energized whilst the employee was assisting with it's removal. An energized HV circuit was located above the out of service conductor being worked on.
 
As advised in our previous safety alert there will be several investigations into this incident before we know exactly what went wrong. Essential Energy and WorkCover are both currently investigating this incident however it is also possible that this incident will be investigated by the Police or Coroner.
 
Your union has written to Vince Graham seeking answers to a list of questions that we have relating to this incident and we would expect that this matter get his full attention as a matter of urgency.
 
The ETU will also be redoubling our efforts to have Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) rolled out across our workplaces to ensure that if something does go horribly wrong then you have the best possible chance at surviving to see your family again.
 
If you have any questions in relation to this notice please talk to your workplace delegate or your ETU organiser. It is important that we all look out for each other because if we don’t look out for each other no one will.
 
The ETU has issued a Safety Ban to all members and we request that you observe these restrictions for your own safety.

Essential Energy Fatality

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

You may have read in the news or heard through industry channels that yesterday an Essential Energy employee was fatally injured after coming into contact with live conductors. The incident occurred at 10.30am near Foster with ambulance crews unable to revive the employee.
 
Upon hearing of the incident ETU Secretary Steve Butler and Organiser Brad McDougall travelled to Foster where both WorkCover and Essential Energy have commenced investigations. Our thoughts are with the workers family and colleagues at this time and we will keep members informed of any matters arising from this tragic incident.
 
Click here to read the Essential Energy Safety Alert which provides additional context to this incident, members should read this notice and follow any advice/directions.

Redmond Gary EWP Incident

Paul Lister - Monday, July 22, 2013

All members are encouraged to read the Incident Report issues by Redmond Gary.

Endeavour Energy Safety Notice

Paul Lister - Monday, July 22, 2013

All members are encouraged to read the safety notice issued by Endeavour Energy.