Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Launch of the Macquarie University Workers Compensation Research

Just a reminder that the Macquarie University research into workers compensation will be released at Parliament House this Thursday at 1.15pm in the Jubilee Room.
 
Unions NSW will also be launching their return to work inquiry.
 
All are invited and a light lunch is provided so please contact Rose Docwra via email to rdocwra@unionsnsw.org.au
 
If union members have had a difficulty with returning to work and would like to talk about their experience please contact me on 98815908.

The ETU mass meeting in Sydney on Monday 6th of  June should not be missed.  After a difficult year of the employers  claiming there is no work, ETU members are now seeing through the lies of the major contractors in Sydney.  As the cranes go up around Sydney it is clear the building boom is well and truly here.

This is your opportunity to hear about what’s new at the ETU in NSW and to come and ask questions of State Secretary, Steve Butler and assistant secretary Dave Mckinley and raise your concerns over major issues including Labour Hire , Apprentices  and the various EBA’s which have been rolled out to companies in Sydney.

Joining the NSW leadership from the National Office  will be National Secretary Allan Hicks and Assistant National Secretary David Mier.  Victorian Secretary Troy Gray and  Queensland secretary  Peter Simpson(Simmo) will also be there.

For the first time in many years the ETU leadership of the largest states and the National office will be in in Sydney to hear from  the most important people….you the members of the ETU.  Many workers are taking 4 hours RDO on the day to attend. 

We urge all ETU members to come and make their voice heard.

WHERE:     NSW Teachers Fed Auditorium, Reservoir St, Surry Hills
WHEN:       Monday 6th June 2016
TIME:         11am 

ETU & AMWU members at Kone Elevators & Doors, Warners Bay are today taking Protected Industrial Action in pursuit of an Enterprise Agreement. Members commenced action from 11:30am.

Kone employees in Newcastle have never been covered by an Enterprise Agreement, employees are currently on Individual Contracts.

The ETU & AMWU started recruiting members 2015 and by September the unions achieved orders in a Majority Support Determination which Kone opposed but lost. A majority support determination is where workers are asked if they want to be covered by an enterprise agreement, which in this case was overwhelmingly supported.

Negotiations started in November but Kone used stalling tactics during which time membership grew to over 90%.

After negotiations became stale the ETU and AMWU ran a Protected Action Ballot in which 90% voted and 100% of those voted yes for industrial action. Kone again opposed this move and again lost.

Todays action saw the Newcastle workforce start at the depot, return to the depot for lunch, 4 hour stoppage at end of shift and no call out coverage from Friday to Monday.

Kone - who employ people across the country all under enterprise agreements, with the exception of Newcastle - must now negotiate with the ETU, AMWU and its workforce.

Newcastle based ETU & AMWU members at lift company Kone voted last Thursday to strike for four hours on Friday 27 May. In their continued fight to secure an Enterprise Agreement union members will walk of the job for four hours while commencing other action including returning to depots for lunch and refusing to attend call outs on weekends.

Negotiations for an enterprise agreement have been ongoing for more than 12 months with workers deciding last week that the only way to resolve this matter was to commence protected industrial action.

Workers at Kone Newcastle are currently covered by inferior individual contracts with the company refusing the union’s request to negotiate for a collective Enterprise Agreement. In September 2015 the ETU & AMWU were successful in the Fair Work Commission in securing Orders forcing Kone to negotiate a collective agreement – a move resisted and opposed by the company.

Employees and the company have been in negotiations since November 2015 but progress has been to slow forcing workers to consider their next move in their pursuit of a resolution. ETU & AMWU members voted unanimously in favour of Protected Action giving workers the right to take legal industrial action.

Even after this overwhelming result, Kone still refuses to negotiate in good faith.

ETU Organiser Justin Page said that the behaviour of the company has been disgraceful.

“Kone’s actions throughout this negotiation have been questionable at best. They continue to treat their employees with no respect and utter contempt.” Justin said.

“The Company have engaged in stalling tactics, tried to divide employees & tried to influence votes all to no avail. ETU members have stood strong and they should be proud of this.” said Justin.

“Its not as though members are asking for something unreasonable all they want is to be covered by an Enterprise Agreement, the same as all other Kone employees across Australia.

“Members have had enough and I’m confident we will secure a good outcome, but only if members continue to stick together.” Justin said.

ETU and AMWU members at Schindler Lifts have voted up a new agreement following productive negotiations with the company despite some late hick-ups.

Schindler’s agreement is the first to be renewed in the Lift Industry and will deliver a 12% pay increase over a three-year deal. This good outcome was the result of a strong bargaining committee covering all sections of the business including service, construction, fitters, regional workers and shift workers.

One of the bigger issues during negotiations was the ‘spread of hours’ but we were able to work through this by agreeing on new wording that both protects current conditions but also give the company flexibility to win new work.

ETU Organiser Steve Bankes said throughout negotiations it looks as though the construction and service guys might split but everyone held strong and secured a good outcome.

“Negotiations were productive and our blokes were outstanding.” said Steve.

“Our members had a clear goal when we started and we were able to achieve it through the experience of the negotiating committee and rank and file members backing them in from start to finish.” Steve said.

“It doesn’t mean there wasn’t robust debate, there was, but with the support of Fergal Eiffe from the AMWU the agreement was endorsed by more than two thirds.” Steve Bankes said.

The outcome secured for ETU and AMWU members includes 12% pay increase over three years, 4% on most allowances, increasing MERT to $75, increasing the Sydney and Regional On-Call allowance and increasing Living Away from Home Allowance from $75 a night to $100.

Dodgy boss rips off workers

Posted on 13-5-2016

A dodgy boss from Wollongong company VMH Electrical has ripped off his workers after it was discovered the company was up to a year behind in Superannuation payments.

The ETU has stepped in to fight VMH Electrical to ensure members get what they are legally owed. After initial investigations the ETU believes that workers are owed tens of thousands of dollars from unpaid superannuation and other entitlements.

ETU Organiser Stewart Edward said that the only people to receive super payments were the boss and his family members.

“It would appear that most of the superannuation that has been paid is that of the boss and his family members.” Stewart said.

“On top of super it looks like workers have been robbed of leave accruals, wages, leave loading and RDO’s as well.

“Bosses that do not pay workers their entitlements are stealing and the ETU will not stand for this kind of criminal behavior.” said Stewart.

ETU member Kaan, said that if it was the other way around workers would be answerable to the police and probably end up in jail.

“I'm so angry, the boss at VMH has done nothing but lie about our wages and entitlements. It’s clear he had no intention of paying us, if I had stolen money from the boss I would go to jail.” said Kaan.

“On top of this the boss tried to blame us and the union for the trouble, but without the ETU it would have been impossible to get the advice and guidance we need.

“The ETU is our only chance of getting what is rightfully ours.” Kaan said.

The ETU is now representing members to make sure they get what is owed to them. Stewart Edward said that this is yet another example why we need strong unions in the construction sector.

“It’s a disgrace that the Liberals and Nations have dissolved Parliament in an attempt to bring in anti-union laws that would restrict unions being able to fight for workers in situations like this.” said Stewart.

VMH electrical does work for some of Sydney’s big builders and electrical contractors but despite this the union believes the company may be in the process of winding up operations.

Attn ETU Retired members - please see below a timetable of campaign events being organised and supported by the Unions NSW retired members committee. For more information contact Alison Rahill at Unions NSW tel 02 9881 5923 mob 0414 316 839 Email arahill@unionsnsw.org.au.

THURSDAY 12 MAY
LUNCHTIME 11:30am – 1:30pm International Nurses Day. Leafleting Medicare and Budget cuts Concord Hospital, Hospital Rd Concord. Meet at the big pedestrian crossing. (Bus to Concord Hospital from Strathfield train station 458 or 459).

SATURDAY 14 MAY
MORNING 9:00am – 12:00pm street stall and leafleting in front of the Five Dock Post Office 106 Great North Rd, Five Dock. Pat mobile 0418 616 858.

MORNING 9:00am – 11:00am street stall and leafleting sporting grounds Edwards Park Brewer St Concord.  Jill mobile 0414 231 959.

MONDAY 16 MAY
MORNING 7:30am – 9am Concord West train station and street stall.

TUESDAY 17 MAY
LUNCHTIME 1:00PM – 4PM meet at the Country train station North exit, we will travel together to Neutral Bay Jillian Skinners Office for an Aged Care protest. Return to AFTERNOON 3pm – 4:30pm Gonski action. Assemble Burwood Park corner Burwood Rd and Park St Burwood (opposite the entrance to Westfield, next to the War Memorial).

WEDNESDAY 18 MAY
AFTERNOON 3:30PM – 5:00PM Gonski action. Leafleting and street stall for Gonski in Strathfield Square opposite the Strathfield train station.

THURSDAY 19 MAY
MORNING 7:30AM – 9:00AM leafleting Homebush train station.

FRIDAY 20 MAY
MORNING 7:30AM – 9:00AM leafleting North Strathfield train station.

SATURDAY 21 MAY
AFTERNOON 1:30PM – 4:30PM Doorknocking union members meet at the Tigers Five Dock Corner Barnstaple Road and Ingham Ave, Five Dock.

SUNDAY 22 MAY
ALL DAY 10:00am – 2:00pm information stall at the Rhodes Bridge Opening, west of Rhodes train station in the Park near the new bridge.

MONDAY 23 MAY
MORNING 7:00am – 9:00am leafleting Strathfield train station.

TUESDAY 24 MAY
AFTERNOON 2:30pm – 4:30pm street stall and leafleting Croydon train station and in front of the Post Office 1 The Strand, Croydon. Jill mobile 0414 231 959.

THURSDAY 26 MAY
LUNCHTIME 11:30am – 1:30pm International Nurses Day. Leafleting Medicare and Budget cuts Concord Hospital, Hospital Rd Concord. Meet at the big pedestrian crossing. (Bus to Concord Hospital from Strathfield train station 458 or 459).

PLEASE NOTE: EXTRA CAMPAIGN MEETING MONDAY 30 MAY 10AM – 12 PM TRADES HALL

ETU members at Chubb Fire and Security in Sydney and Wollongong have secured a new EBA following tense negotiations which included industrial action from both workers and the company.

After months of negotiations and refusal by Chubb to move from their original offer to cut conditions and provide a measly increase of 1.7%, ETU members voted overwhelmingly to take protected industrial action.

This decisive move by ETU members prompted the company to come forward with an improved offer but they fell short of providing back pay.

After rejecting managements new offer the ETU, on behalf of our members, notified the company that members would ban the use of hand held devices but what happened next surprised everyone!

When ETU members turned up to work to hand in their devices management told employees that they were to leave company vehicle keys in the office and that they were not to operate company vehicles, effectively commencing industrial action against their own employees.

After members in Sydney made a call to Wollongong it was confirmed that the company had taken the same action in that location.

“As luck would have it I was with our members when they turned up for work and when the boss told them not to operate company vehicles we decided to set up camp in the carpark and work out our next move.” said ETU Organiser Steve Bankes.

“We got the negotiating committee together and we demanded management meet with us over the standoff.

“Management agreed to a meeting and after an hour of negotiations were walked out of the office with a further improved offer including an 8% increase over three years, back pay, some improvements to generic clauses and an increase to the Living Away from Home Allowance to $150 per night.” Stave Bankes said.

After addressing members, both Sydney and Wollongong depots voted on the offer which was unanimously endorsed.

“If it wasn’t for these guys being prepared to stand up and have a dig we would have ended up with CPI increases and reduced conditions.

“It’s only because ETU members stood their ground that we have secured a good outcome.” Steve said.

The ETU has criticized Stowe Management after the company attempted to stop the union consulting with members following a serious safety incident in tower 3 at Barangaroo last Thursday when an apprentice suffered injuries after falling almost 5 meters.

WorkSafe NSW issues the Builder Lend Lease and electrical contractor Stowe Australia with prohibition notices following the incident.

ETU Organiser Stewart Edward said that there are serious safety concerns at the Barangaroo site and that Lend Lease failed to consult with workers immediately following the incident.

“We continue to see a high number of work place accidents and injury on this site.” said Stewart Edward.

“It is concerning that the builder, Lend Lease failed to consult with workers immediately following the incident and only ceased work on tower three risers after concerns were raised by the ETU.” Mr Edward said.

The main electrical contractor Stowe Australia also came in for criticism from the union after they took 24 hours to hold a meeting with workers and tried to stop the union consulting with members.

“Stowe Australia need to take a good look at themselves.” said Mr Edward.

“Following a serious incident like the one that occurred last Thursday the employer should take immediate action and talk to workers about what occurred not dilly dally around for 24 hours and then try to stop the union from talking to members.”

“On top of this I have been told that Stowe Australia were more interested in getting the injured apprentice back to work in order to avoid Lost Time Injury for insurance purposes.” Mr Edward said.

Below - ETU members at the mass meeting held on Friday.

 

A first-year electrical apprentice has been rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital following a fall of approximately five metres at the Barangaroo construction site in Darling Harbour.

The incident occurred shortly after 8am today when the apprentice fell through a temporary floor cover over one of the service risers.

The apprentice, employed by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) Group Training company and working for Stowe Australia, was being supervised by another apprentice at the time of the fall. This second apprentice raised the alarm.

Officials from the Electrical Trades Union attended the site immediately following the incident and have already identified a number of other safety breaches, including workers being exposed to live electrical cables.

The builder, Lend Lease, has moved to stop all riser work in tower three until a review of the electrical contractor Stowe Australia has been undertaken.

ETU organiser Stewart Edward said that the apprentice suffered leg and back injuries.

“From what we know so far, the apprentice appears to have suffered leg and back injuries after calling approximately five metres,” Mr Edward said.

“He was treated on the scene by ambulance paramedics and has been transported to Royal North Shore Hospital.

“Thankfully, his injuries do not appear to be critical.

“Today’s incident is the latest in a string of safety breaches on the Barangaroo site, including some that have resulted in workers losing their lives.

“Both Stowe Australia and NECA Group Training have a legal responsibility to provide a safe work environment.

“If it is found that they have breached their responsibilities it could lead to prosecution of both organisations, which is something we will be looking at very closely.”

The union informed SafeWork NSW, with inspectors attending the scene to carry out their own investigation.

“This incident could easily have ended with a tragic outcome,” Mr Edward said.

“The ETU will be pursuing this matter to ensure that this kind of incident does not occur again.”