Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Sydney Construction Mass Meeting

Posted on 16-11-2016

The ETU is holding a mass meeting for all Sydney Construction members on Thursday 24 November. Issues to be discussed include developments in the Sydney Construction sector and issues faced by electricians, but most of all we want to hear from you.
 
This meeting is an opportunity for members to have their say about what is happening in the industry and to also hear from ETU Deputy Secretary Dave McKinley. Invitations have also been extended to ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks and ETU National Assistant Secretary Dave Mier plus officials from other states.
 
We want to hear from you about your experience onsite including Labour Hire, Apprentices and the various EBA's that have been voted on and supported by a majority of members at each company.
 
Many members are taking 4 hours RDO on the day in order to attend, we urge all members to come along, listen and have your say. Full details are below:
 
What: ETU Sydney Construction Mass Meeting
When: Thursday 24 November 2016
Where: Sydney Congress Hall, 140 Elizabeth Street Sydney - Note new location.
 
In unity,
The ETU Construction Team.

Canberra Construction Update

Posted on 10-11-2016

Electrical Contracting in Canberra construction is a mix of major companies and smaller locals companies competing for work.

The ETU has commenced negotiations with the ACT Branch of Heyday 5 and we will not be expecting any shenanigans like those suffered by our Sydney brothers.

The ETU will also be commencing negotiations with a local company, Martin Donnelly, and we have concluded negotiations, with a good result, with Shepherd Electrical earlier this year. Our friends at Fredon are years late, a dollar short and slow to the table.

While we have continued relatively good relationship with most companies one has snuck under the radar. We attempted a number of times to contact Stowe by post, phone, visits and email. But no response.

What Stowe was up to was convincing employees they needed a “race to the bottom” resulting in some of the lowest rates of pay for Electricians in this area. When the ETU discovered a crappy non-union EBA was lodged in the Fair Work Commission we opposed the agreement. Unfortunatly, the employees had trusted the boss, swallowed the bait and voted yes.

The Stowe Canberra EBA, supported by a majority, provides the following:

  • Transferred apprentices to NECA group training and cuts 30% out of their rates of pay
  • Specifically excluded apprentices from the EBA – to continue low pay rates
  • The existing Licensed Electricians are currently on a rate of $40.72 which will be increased after 2 years by 2.1%
  • The next increase after that will be at 3 years and 2.1%
  • This has created a 1% per year EBA – a tragic outcome for highly skilled workers.

From there it’s all downhill:

  • Newly employed Electricians will start at $29.46 per hour
  • This rate will increase to a maximum of $36.83 per hour after going through a number of steps
  • The increases are at management discretion so you could remain at $29.46

In most other respects the EBA is the same as, or slightly less than, the competition. This is a race to the bottom from what used to be a good employer. This agreement is a dog, and there is no other way of describing it.

ETU Officials in Newcastle are telling me this agreement is now being used as the “blueprint” and being portrayed as the model. ETU members across the state should not fall for this and the only way to secure a better outcome is to join the union, get active, stick together and stand your ground. When it comes to large companies like Stowe, this approach and attempt to dud workers with a substandard agreement is unacceptable.

Stowe cannot be allowed to get away with this anywhere else and while they may have got their Canberra agreement registered, the ETU will be watching these grubs very closely ready to take action at any opportunity.

All ETU members should immediately alert their organiser if their boss attempts to pull a swiftly and follow in the miserable footsteps of Stowe Canberra.

ETU members working at OTIS are set to benefit from a new agreement that delivers improvements to members over the next three years.

The combined union negotiating committee covering ETU and AMWU members commenced negotiations almost six months ago and were able to present a draft agreement to a mass meeting held at Unions NSW yesterday.

The new agreement will operate for three years and delivers significant improvements for ETU members including:

  • 4% wage increase each year for the life of the agreement
  • Back pay to the 1st of May
  • Increase to MERT each year for the life of agreement
  • Increase to LAHA each year for life of the agreement
  • Increase to First Aid allowance each year for the life of the agreement
  • Increase to Fares & Travel each year for the life of the agreement
  • Increase to the remote allowance

ETU Organiser Steve Bankes said that the ETU members have done well out of negotiations with the result delivering real pay increases to members well above inflation.

“This is a good agreement that delivers improvements across the board without any need for trade offs” Steve said.

“ETU members will receive wage increases totaling 12% over three years which goes to show that it pays to be an ETU member and that the union continues to deliver for our members.

“Yesterday’s meeting voted almost unanimously in favor of the agreement which will now be registered with Fair Work with benefits to flow through to member’s immediately.” said Steve.

“When you compare this outcome with non-union workplaces where workers are most likely loosing conditions it shows just how valuable ETU membership is.” finished Steve.

ETU members across the construction sector are raising money and awareness around site safety after five construction workers were killed on Sydney construction sites over the past three weeks.

ETU Recruitment Officer, Mick Hopper said that ETU members were paying their respects to those workers that have lost their lives on construction sites by wearing black arm bands and observing a minute silence at meetings held across sites this week.

“Over the past three weeks we have seen five guys lose their lives on Sydney construction sites.” Said Mick Hopper.

“That is five men to many and five men that did not go home to their families which is unacceptable.

“ETU members are paying their respects and raising awareness about site safety at the same time to make sure no one else is tragically killed.” Mick Hopper said.

“I want to make sure every single ETU member goes home safe each day and our union will not tolerate dodgy bosses who take short cuts when it comes to OHS.”

“If any member has any concerns about safety they should immediately notify the ETU who will attend site and respond to concerns.” said Mick.

Unions NSW will be holding a lunchtime Workers Compensation rally outside NSW Parliament on 4 November 2016 at 12:30pm

The rally coincides with public hearings for the first review of the 2012 workers compensation changes.

Unions NSW has made an extensive submission to the Law and Justice Committee painting a horrifying picture of the scale of the devastation wreaked by the changes to workers compensation: from suicides to soup kitchens and everything in between.

At the rally on 4 November 2016 we will be hearing from injured workers and highlighting the harsh impact of the 2012 changes on the injured workers of NSW and their families.

There will also be regional events:

Wollongong - 31 October 2016
Orange - 2 November 2016
Newcastle - 3 November; and
A date for an event in Lismore is being finalised.

By keeping the pressure on the Government about workers comp we have won significant changes including more than doubling the medical cap and reducing the threshold for lifetime cover among other changes. This rally is an important part of our plan to keep winning improvements to the scheme.

Sydney Event Details:
Outside NSW Parliament, Macquarie St Sydney
12:30pm on Friday 4 November 2016

ETU member and Nilsen Engineering Services electrician Dan Ta has won the ETU footy tipping competition after leading the competition for the first twelve rounds before being knocked out of first place necessitating a comeback late in the season.

Dan said the comp was neck and neck with one other member as they headed into the finals where Dan adopted a strategy to pick the opposite teams to his rival, a strategy which paid off handing Dan Ta victory in the final two rounds.

Dan has won a week’s accommodation in the ETU’s Holiday Cabins located at Nambucca Heads on the NSW north coast. Dan said he is planning to get away sometime next year with his wife and kids where the will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the White Albatross Holiday Park where the ETU cabins are located.

When asked what his tip is for ETU members participating in next years’ footy tipping contest Dan said that the Parramatta Eel’s are set to be the Premiers and any member that supports the Eel’s throughout the season will be rewarded.

Details on next year’s footy tipping comp will be provided a couple of weeks before the NRL comp starts.