Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

Downer Rail Workers send Management a Message

Paul Lister - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ETU and AMWU members at Downer Rail Maintenance in Auburn today voted overwhelmingly against a new agreement offered by management amid calls for management to do better.

Workers stood united and voted down managements offer which included a 3% wage increase and improvements to some conditions.

ETU Organiser Ben Lister said that today’s result sends a message to Downer management that it’s time to come to the table with an improved offer or risk alienating a loyal and highly skilled workforce.

“ETU and AMWU members sent management a clear message today when 78% of workers voted no to managements proposed agreement.” said Ben Lister.

“The ETU has been able to secure wage outcomes of 3.5% in the manufacturing sector and in my view a company like Downer can do better than what they were offering and our members deserve it.” Mr Lister said

“I have not heard from management directly but I have sent them a message that they have to improve their offer if they want to secure an agreement.

“I believe that Downer can sharpen the pencil a bit and I would expect any revised offer to be at least 3.5% plus the items we have already been able to extract as commitments from the company.” said Mr Lister.

After a two day negotiation lock-up the ETU and AMWU have already received the following commitments to:

  • Introduce an additional 10 minute break for shifts exceeding 8 hours in length
  • Modernize the Long Service Leave Clause
  • Salary top up for defence force service leave of up to 10 days per year
  • Increase redundancy payments for long term employees, and;
  • In an unprecedented move all employees covered by the agreement will receive a $75 Coles shopping voucher.

The ETU will head back to the negotiating table to secure an improved outcome for members.

Union Alliance Secures Apprentices' Futures

Paul Lister - Thursday, March 24, 2016

A union campaign has forced Qantas to backflip on a decision to sack its most recent group of graduating apprentices, with all twenty now being placed in aircraft maintenance engineering jobs in which they’re qualified.

The ETU and alliance unions the AMWU and AWU ran the campaign after Qantas originally only offered to find jobs for ten Brisbane based apprentices after the union alliance took Qantas to the Fair Work Commission.

The airline found positions for the final few union members on Monday after the Qantas Facebook page was inundated by complaint posts from people across Australia supporting the apprentices.

The union alliance revealed the sackings through the media just before Chief Executive Alan Joyce announced a record half-year profit of nearly $1 billion.

ETU Organiser Brad Currey said the original decision to axe the twenty apprentices who had just completed a four-year apprenticeship was farcical and cruel given that aviation experts predict a dire shortage of aircraft maintenance engineers over the next decade.

'Qantas have been embarrassed into reviewing a decision which was ill-considered, which took loyal employees for granted and undermined its own future capacity to maintain modern aircraft in Australia,' he said.

'We're pleased we've forced them to have a re-think, and we're pleased to have protected our members through placement in ongoing jobs.'

Apprentice numbers down as Liberals & Nationals gut TAFE

Paul Lister - Friday, March 04, 2016

The ETU is seriously concerned at the latest figures which show the number of people undertaking an apprenticeship - including in the electrical trades - has plummeted.

Shadow Minister for Skill's David Harris pointed out today that the number of apprenticeships being undertaking in September last year was 82,600 down from 146,200 in 2010.

This drop of almost 50% in five years is alarming. At the same time the ETU has witnessed a reduction in the quality of trade outcomes following the implementation of "Smart & Skilled" which has financially gutted the TAFE system and reduced face to face training time.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that this is a worrying trend which is not reversed will have severe consequences for all trades right across NSW.

"We have had feedback from many employers saying that the quality of apprentice training has dropped significantly." Steve said.

"On the job employers are seeing a drop off in the skills of apprentices particularly around competency and safety."

"The ETU has commissioned research into trade outcomes to help identify the problem and how it may be addressed."

"We have already started talking to MPs about changes and we will have more to say on this front later this month." said Steve.

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: 


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.

ETU Rail Member Meetings and Super Q&A

Paul Lister - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The ETU is holding a series of mass meetings throughout next week to provide members with workplace updates. We have also arranged for Super Fund EISS to come along and provide an update for ETU members on Superannuation and they will be available to answer your questions even if you are not a member of EISS.

EISS is the leading industry super fund covering workers in the electricity and electrical industry’s in NSW with many ETU members belonging to this fund.

Below are the dates and times for each location. All workers are encouraged to attend to listen to these updates. These mass meetings are being facilitated by Sydney Trains – if you have any questions or difficulty in attending a meeting please contact ETU organiser Ben Lister on 0400 264 007.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler and/or ETU Assistant Secretary Dave McKinley will also attend these meetings.

Monday 7 December
7.30am – Sydenham Network Base
End of Bolton Street, Sydenham

Tuesday 8 December
7.30am Hamilton Major Works
End of Swan Street (Cnr Swan & The Esplanade), Hamilton
12.00 noon Gosford Network Base
316 Mann St, Gosford

Wednesday 9 December
7.30am Clyde Network Base
End of Manchester Road, Clyde
11.30am Lawson Network Base
Loftus Street, Lawson

Thursday 10 December
7.30am Wollongong Network Base
Deane Street, Wollongong
12.00 noon Sutherland Network Base
Jannali Street (near Leonay St), Sutherland

Friday 11 December
7.30am Central Network Base
Chalmers Street (opp. Devonshire St), Sydney
12.00 noon Petersham Training College
Trafalgar Street, Petersham

Click here to download the flyer.

Retired Member Update

Paul Lister - Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Following the most recent campaign meeting of Combined Retired Union Members and Associations, Unions NSW would like to invite retired ETU members to the following events:


Mark Lennon's last Council meeting as Secretary Unions NSW. The meeting will be followed by drinks and snacks. At 6:30pm Peter Fitzsimons will launch the Sydney screening of a historical docu-drama Death or Liberty based on the Eureka Stockade in the Auditorium.

When/Where: 5:30pm Thursday 4th December Trades Hall Auditorium 377 Sussex St Haymarket.


Action Stations - hand out flyers highlighting attacks on the rights of working people:

7:15am Monday 7th December BURWOOD train station.

7:15am Tuesday 8th December STRATHFIELD train station.


Campaign meeting of Combined Retired Union Members and Associations - focus on 2016 an election year.

Where/When: 10am - 12pm Monday 18th January 2016 Sydney Trades Hall, ground floor, training room two, 377 Sussex St Haymarket.


Our living standards, built by past generations of union members, are what make Australia a great place to live. But our living standards are under significant attack. We demand government support for secure jobs & penalty rates; Medicare; quality education for all; public services owned by the people for the people; a secure retirement with decent pensions & superannuation, and, a fair go for all!

Unions NSW and the Combined Retired Union Members Association invite Sydney based active retired union members to join in these activities - a great opportunity to meet other retired union activists.

For more information contact Alison Rahill at Unions NSW tel 02 9881 5923 mob 0414 316 839 Email arahill@unionsnsw.org.au

Campaign ETU

Bruce Fan - Monday, November 16, 2015


I would like to advise all members that we have introduced a new initiative to try and improve communications with members. The ETU now has a new team called “CAMPAIGN ETU”.  Over the next few months you may be contacted by “CAMPAIGN ETU” about various issues that are running, those issues may include:- 

  • ETU membership
  • Enterprise Agreement campaigns
  • General Campaigning information
  • Calls to action like doorknocking or attending rallies

The “CAMPAIGN ETU” team are located in our Sydney office and will be continuing on for a trial period.  Please feel comfortable in talking to “CAMPAIGN ETU” team members and hopefully we will be able to continue to tweak the operation to better meet the needs of members.  If you are unsure who is contacting you or what they are calling for please contact your local ETU official or ETU office to discuss.

Yours in solidarity

Steve Butler


Download the Notice

Make sure your Super is working for you

Paul Lister - Friday, October 30, 2015

The ETU in partnership with Super Fund EISS will be visiting Sydney Train Depots in early December to provide a union update and information about Superannuation. All workers are encouraged to attend these sessions where you will hear from your ETU Organiser Ben Lister and representatives from EISS.
Your Super is one of the largest assets you will own throughout your life and the ETU has organised these sessions so members can hear directly from one of the Super Industry's leading superannuation funds. Even if you are a member of another fund feel free to come along and listen to the information and ask questions.
For full details on dates times and locations please click here to view the flyer.
We look forward to seeing you at one of these depot visits.

Organiser worplace allocation

Paul Lister - Thursday, October 22, 2015

Following the departure of a number of organisers from the ETU a re-allocation of workplaces has occurred to share the workload across current officials. In the past twelve months five officials have left the organisation with two full time and one part time organisers employed.

Below is a list of new workplaces that have been allocated to ETU organisers. This list is in addition to any existing workplaces these organisers were already responsible for.

Adam Wardrope – Newcastle
AMP Control, Nepean Power, Dywidag-Systems International, Falk Australia, Hunter Valley Energy Coal, Centennial Coal, Myuna Colliery, West Wallsend No2, Oceanic Coal Australia, Steggles, Weathertex, Independent Gaming.

Justin Page – Newcastle
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, Port Waratah Coal Service, Delta Electricity, Eraring Energy, Macquarie Generation, Tomago Aluminium, Koppers Coal Tar Production, Rutherford Power, Rutherford Transformer Service, Vision Control Solutions.

Brad Currey – Wollongong
All workplaces in the Illawarra region.

Dave McKinley – Sydney
TrasGrid statewide.

Ben Lister – Sydney
Rail, Apprentices, all workplaces in New England region and Far North Coast.

Mark Buttigieg – Sydney
Business Equipment.

Steve Bankes – Sydney
Construction and Lift Industry.

Matt McCann - Canberra
Canberra Construction and General Trade and all workplaces in the Riverina.

ChAFTA set to pass parliament

Paul Lister - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

To all ETU Members
Today’s announcement that the Federal government has cut a deal with the Labor party to pass the Chafta enabling legislation is gutting.
Since the day it was announced the ETU has been on the front foot campaigning against the anti-worker elements of the China FTA.
The protections that have been secured are woefully inadequate. The narrowness of the labour market testing provisions still leave the door open for the driving down of conditions and the exploitation of migrant workers.
The comparative weakness of the licensing regulation changes means that there are still serious safety concerns around the removal of mandatory skills testing.
We recognise the value of compromise and negotiated outcomes, but this deal is not acceptable. The amendments might be better than nothing, but not by much.
This deal stinks. Even though it appears our political options are exhausted the campaign will continue.
Working Australians have a right to know what this rotten Turnbull government has done.
We will continue our campaign from now until the next Federal election and beyond to ensure we get rid of these anti-worker elements.
Our fight continues to protect our jobs, our safety and our sovereignty.
Proud to be Union
Allen Hicks - National Secretary