Rail, Aviation and Transport

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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.

August 10, 2015 at 12pm - 1pm

Garema Place, Canberra
25 Garema Pl
Canberra, ACT 2600

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

Posted on 17-7-2015

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.

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

To download a copy of the election notice please click here.

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

WorkCover NSW as the body responsible for workplace safety in NSW have release online videos relating to electrical safety in the workplace. Electricity is a constant hazard in many workplaces and workers who work on or near electricity are at risk of shocks, burns, other serious injuries or even death.

ETU members across NSW should take the time to review WorkCover's electrical safety information which can be viewed on the WorkCover NSW website.

Further to the ETU Notice issued on 11 February below is an update on the fatal incident that occurred in Western Australia on 3 February involving High Voltage Oil Insulated Fuse Switch Units.

Please read and understand the resolution carried by the NSW ETU State Council relating to this matter and subsequent bans relating to work on this equipment.

Click here for the latest WA EnergySafety media release and link to WA EnergySafety's preliminary findings and Work Orders.

All NSW ETU members should read the above information and be aware of the dangers this equipment may present. It is also important for all NSW ETU members to read and understand the resolution adopted by your state council as outlined below restricting work on oil insulated fuse switch units across NSW and the ACT.

Resolution on the Galleria Shopping centre incident on 3 February 2015 (Morley, WA) that resulted in two fatalities and seriously injured two others.

1. The ETU calls upon all employers and electrical safety regulators to conduct immediate safety audits in all workplaces where high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units are in operation; and

2. The NSW Branch of the ETU implements a live work ban on Long and Crawford / GEC / ALSTOM high voltage oil insulated fuse switch units (eg GF3, T4GF3 etc).

3. The NSW Branch of the ETU implement bans on any operating work (such as checking and/or changing of high voltage fuses in fuse switches of this type of equipment) without the high voltage feeder being de-energised into the fuse switch.

Further information is available below:

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates for members.

Rail Update

Posted on 19-12-2014

It’s been a year since I have taken the great responsibility of looking after the rail industry. A great deal has happened in the past year, a new Enterprise Agreement, continual reforms, restructures and many local issues.

One of the great successes of the year was the apprentice swap program initiated by former rail organiser Geoff Prime. It took some time for the Australian Tax Office to approve the scheme, but it finally did and had great results. The scheme was for members that wanted to retire could and their positions filled with apprentices coming out of their time. This has resulted in jobs being kept open and members retiring with additional benefits.

The maintenance infrastructure reform program is now coming to an end with all new depots opened. Through member participation, we have seen rostering and team numbers increased to what Sydney Trains were hoping for. The Union believes staffing numbers are too low, the ETU reminds members to maintain a high vigilance on work, health and safety. Never compromise this to finish the job.

Most of you in the Infrastructure renewals would have attended the brief in November. Reform is around the corner with the company’s dream of three main depots. The ETU will be ensuring members get allocated a home depot as close to their residence as possible and maintaining current numbers. What we really want to see is more work being done in house and less being allocated to TPD.

The Liberal Government’s plan of outsourcing unfortunately hit Infrastructure Facility Maintenance.  The decision made by management is short sighted and ill-informed.  The ETU held the company to account and stalled this process as long as possible, not even a trip to the Fair Work Commission could halt the decision. The ETU encouraged the CEO to attend a meeting with members and hear their concerns and the decision to outsource is still proceeding

Fleet Maintenance has continually tried to introduce reforms, each time members have stayed united and staved off these attacks. Management have continually negated the important step of CONSULTATION, instead trying to ram through their desired changes. Unions took the company to FWC over the implementation of the FMD management restructure and the recruitment process, unfortunately the Unions were unsuccessful in the Commission.

The Train Technicians are currently undergoing a PD review, this is all because of the hard work and persistence of delegates. The McClukey report was handed down some 6 years ago and not all its recommendations have been implemented, diesel techs are next on the agenda.

FMD also continue to engage, labour hire, contractors and outsource work. Unions have had some success converting a few labour hire workers into fulltime employees. Many disputes are on foot for the excessive use of labour hire and contractors.

In the last few days I attended a workshop, you guessed it about reforms to be undertaken in the ICON. A consultant has been brought in to tell Sydney Trains what is needed. Members have shown at this workshop how little the consultants know about what work our members  perform as well as how statistics can show anything and to ask experts, not assume you know anything.

Finally, I would like to remind members to switch over to direct debit payments. If you are on direct debit or pay your Union fees in advance, you are eligible to up to $7000 funeral cover, yet another benefit of being a financial Union member.

I would to thank all our members and delegates for a trying year for the ETU with EBA negotiations and continual reforms. I wish you all a very festive season.

Working in Heat

Posted on 21-11-2014

Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.

All members should be aware of the dangers of heat stress and be familiar with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy or 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).


Click on the links provided for a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat (2003) policyWorkcover 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.