Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

You will have or will be receiving your official ballot and return envelope to vote on managements proposed EBA. All members would have received a copy of the agreement which was emailed to you last week by the company. The ballot paper and reply envelope has be mailed to your home address.
 
The ETU encourage all members to read thru the proposed EBA thoroughly and consider how the agreement affects your workplace/workmates, you as an individual and your family. We also refer members to our previous notices outlining how well the company is performing as a result of your hard work and commitment – you can click here to read our previous notice.

Here are some facts to consider:

  1. Due to the inability to set the maximum rostered week at 40 hours under the proposed agreement the company can refer to the award. Under the award a working week can be rostered with as many as 60 hours per week as long as the roster cycle (field technician - 8-10 weeks) maintains a 38 hour average per week. Wages can be adjusted according to rostered hours for any given week.
  2. Away from home allowance will only be payed when working OUTSIDE YOUR COST CENTER.
  3. Under the agreement it is possible that actual weekend earnings could fall as a result of reduced working hours.
  4. During the EBA roadshows the company estimated the total value of the EBA package to be between circa $400,000, please read our earlier notice on just how well the company is performing.
  5. The company estimates the rollout costs of GPS/AWS to exceed $2 MILLION DOLLARS. So the company is prepared to spend four time more on monitoring than investing in their people.

It is essential all members vote and it is up to you how you vote. Please submit your sealed vote directly to your delegate, unit manager or use the reply paid envelope.

It’s up to Members to Decide.

The ETU Will respect the view of members. If you vote to accept this agreement the ETU will be party to the agreement and we will continue to represent you in the workplace by making sure any new agreement is enforced.

If members vote to reject the agreement, we will return to the negotiating table with your negotiating committee/delegates and seek to secure an improved offer.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of your delegates or ETU Organiser Ben Lister on 0400 264 007 / benl@etunsw.asn.au

ETU Organisers attended a Richard Crookes construction site in Leichhardt first thing this morning after being alerted on the weekend that two workers suffered electric shock.

After attending the site, the ETU has learned that the incident occurred on Saturday when an excavation team attempted to move a temporary switchboard which was damaged in the process leading to one of the three phases pulling away from the links with the board and frame becoming live.

ETU Organiser Fred Barbin said qualified electrical workers should first isolate any temporary board before moving and that the incident could have easily resulted in a fatality.

“What we have discovered is that the excavation contractor attempted to move the board when it fell over and became live.” said Fred.

“After the board has fallen one of the workers tried to pick it up not knowing that the frame around the temp was live which has resulted in electric shock.

"A second worker was shocked when he attempted to free the first worker from the temporary power supply, it was not until a third worker using a non-conductor freed both workers by knocking them free.” Fred said.

“These two workers are very lucky to be alive, the outcome from this incident could have been much worse.” said Fred.

Builder Richard Crookes notified SafeWork NSW as soon as the incident occurred and SafeWork NSW attended the site on Saturday but as usual did not take any action. Electrical Contractor G-Force was called in to rectify the situation and make the site safe.

This is a classic example of what will happen if employer associations are successful in their push to water down electrical licensing and trade qualifications. The ETU is fighting for members to ensure our trade and license are of the highest possible standard to ensure other workers and the public remain safe from the dangers of electricity.

Apprentice Electrician Karlyn Hinchy, daughter of long time ETU lift industry member Brad Hinchy, recently received a $500 tool voucher after completing the ETU apprentice survey.

ETU Assistant Secretary Dave McKinley presented Karlyn with her voucher and thanked apprentices for completing the survey which will assist the ETU across the country in better serving and representing electrical apprentices.

Dave said that Apprentices represent an important part of our trade and that the ETU will continue to fight to strengthen and protect our apprenticeship and trade training system.

"Electrical apprentices have a rewarding career to look forward to as they embark on a journey in the most respected trade." said Dave McKinley

"As our trade develops and evolves with new technology, the ETU will continue to stand up and fight for electrical apprentices and other workers in the electrical trades to ensure our license and trade training system remain first class.

"We can not allow governments or employers to dumb down our trade, license or safety standards under the smoke screen of lower regulation and greater efficiency.

"The ETU will not allow these kinds of attacks to occur and our first port of call will be to represent and protect our apprentices." said Dave.

Last night ETU and AMWU members working at Kone in Newcastle voted unanimously to continue industrial action in their fight to secure an enterprise agreement.

Kone, who pay their workers under enterprise agreements across the entire country with the exception of Newcastle, are refusing to extend fair agreement conditions to ETU members in Newcastle. This has resulted in ETU and AMWU members taking prolonged industrial action to secure a fair outcome.

ETU Organiser Justin Page has been supporting the guys throughout the fight with the group growing more resolved to secure an agreement.

"If Kone don't want to come to the party ETU members have made it clear that they will continue their action." said Justin Page.

At the same time as voting for ongoing industrial action this group of dedicated members also sent a message of support to our brothers at the ETU Victorian Branch who are continuing their fight with CUB.

 

Dear Colleague

Below you will find a link to a copy of the ETU NSW submission to the NSW Government’s approach to deregulating the apprenticeship system, the ETU NSW Branch submission was lodged Monday afternoon.

CLICK HERE DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE SUBMISSION.

The ETU NSW Branch has sought the assistance of the McKell Institute in preparing the submission.  The McKell Institute formulated the response based on industry commentary from bosses, the Union, TAFE teachers & regulators.  There is also generous input from the training industry.

Concerns about many issues are included. Here are just a few:-

  • Registered Training Organisations providing dummy training or no training at all.
  • The capacity for workers to enter Apprenticeships as independent contractors or casuals.
  • Continued reduction in face to face theory education.
  • Use of apprentices as cheap labour and supervising each other.
  • Bullying of apprentices by bosses and some tradesmen.
  • Wage rates that are so low apprentices are finding it difficult to survive.
  • Trade outcomes reduced with less rigor on the Trade.
  • Less rigor on the Trade means it’s easier to get an Electrical License and that means our Trade is undermined.

This is our biggest fight ever and I will be ensuring that we develop and initiate a campaigning approach to this matter.

Please read the report thoroughly and hold meetings in your workplace to bring the issues to the attention of your workmates. Please use the elements of the report to talk to apprentices and get them to join the campaign and join the Union.

Please feel free to forward the report on to as many of your acquaintances as you can – workers, bosses and trainers alike.

The ETU NSW Branch are going to campaign strongly on this issue and your assistance and support will be essential.

In unity

Steve Butler
Secretary

 

Solidarity Sips - 21 September

Posted on 20-9-2016

ETU members working at Parliament House in Canberra along with other building maintenance workers are preparing to vote in a protected action ballot in order to take industrial action after negotiations with the Commonwealth Government stalled.

Parliament House building maintenance workers will join thousands of other Commonwealth public servants including Border Force, Immigration, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Tax Office and Defence in taking industrial action in an attempt to secure a fair agreement outcome.

 ETU Organiser Matt McCann said that the offer made by the Department of Parliamentary Services would result in a cut to take home pay of more than 17%.

“The department have put an offer on the table, which if accepted, would result in a reduction in the take home pay for ETU members.” Matt McCann said.

“Our members are joining a growing list of Commonwealth public servants taking industrial action as a result of the Liberal National Government continues their attack on hard working honest Australians.” Matt said.

“If this industrial action goes ahead we will not be able to guarantee that the lights of Parliament House will stay on which could potentially shut down our national legislature.

“Our members perform an important role at Parliament House ensuring that the building continues to operate 24 hours a day in some cases while providing a safe workplace for our nations decision makers and politicians.

“It’s time that the Turnbull Government deliver a fair outcome or risk working in the dark.” Finished Matt.

Read coverage of this issue in the Canberra Times.

Dear Members,

On Monday 26th September we will be attending a Fair Work conciliation conference before Deputy President Bull at 2pm at the Fair Work Commission, William St Sydney. The conference was applied for by FXA and is supported by the ETU in accordance with the mass meeting that was held on Monday 29th August 2016.

The conference will seek assistance from President Bull on resolution of the outstanding matters of;

1. The inclusion of a Status Quo provision as part of the Dispute Settlement Process that maintains the working arrangements that were in place prior to a dispute until the dispute is resolved and 
2. An improved travelling time clause which recognizes the extensive time delays incurred by technicians when travelling across the FXA service area.

By nature this conciliation process is non-binding on both parties but often can have a positive effect on resolving outstanding issues.

We will be putting the case that these things are matters of great consequence for our members and to that end we intend to represent your interests with an optimistic view and open mind on the matters but in a forthright manner which argues the case as to why these measures are absolutely necessary.

If members are willing to attend the conference it is always a valuable experience for our membership and also adds value and transparency to the process to actually have real workers at the hearings - please contact me if you are interested.

Finally, if you are fortunate enough to have benefited from what your colleagues and their activism in the union have done for you over many years of agreement negotiations and representation and you are still not in the ETU, why not do the right thing ? Join in the collective effort to help you and your mates.

Please go to the website and join today. There is never a better time to get with the strength and join your union.

In Unity
Mark Buttigieg
markb@etunsw.asn.au / 0417 208 447

Bizarrely, the Fair Work Building Commission (FWBC) is now playing an astonishing role on construction sites in NSW. The ETU has been made aware from concerned parents regarding apprentices who have been targeted by the FWBC.

Following a number of visits by ETU organisers, apprentices have chosen to join the ETU. These apprentices have raised a number of concerns including:

  1. Intimidation and bullying by employers
  2. Lack (sometimes none) of supervision
  3. Underpayment of wages
  4. Forced to work in unsafe areas
  5. Apprentices being employed by companies but not registered as apprentices
  6. Apprentices being summarily dismissed by employers
  7. Apprentices not being paid to attend TAFE
  8. Apprentices receiving electric shocks while working LIVE!
  9. Failure to notify Safework of serious and dangerous incidents (electric shocks)

In fact, the list goes on. The recent campaign by the ETU has found significant failings in NSW in regards to employer’s attitude and treatment of apprentice electricians. Unbelievably, the FWBC is not interested in pursuing any agenda to protect apprentice electricians. It would also appear that the National Electrical Contractors (NECA) who represent many of the dodgy bosses has called the FWBC to pursue ETU officials while ignoring the actions of their members who are engaged in illegal activity and putting young apprentices lives at risk.

The ETU has learned over the last few weeks that the FWBC has decided to visit sites where ETU construction officials have attended. The FWBC inspectors have then accessed the personal information of these apprentices (and other Electricians) without their knowledge or consent and using their phone numbers contacted them. Apprentices and their parents have informed the ETU that apprentices have been interrogated over the phone and in some cases approached on site.

The FWBC hasn't asked any questions about the wellbeing of the apprentices or advised of their rights to join the ETU. Unsurprisingly the FWBC has set out on a fishing expedition, accessing personal phone numbers to see if they have been forced to join the ETU. The fact is electrical apprentices have rushed to join the ETU to raise concerns, and find out about their rights.

Remarkably, the FWBC inspectors have also sought to encourage workers and apprentices to leave site (while they are still working) to meet in cafes, to have a "friendly chat".

"This is an outrageous abuse of power from the Fair Work Building Commission.” Said ETU organiser Stewart Edward.

“How can it be that, if union officials were to behave in this way that both the worker and the official would be found guilty of taking illegal industrial action and fined for such action." Stewart said.

Many Australians are still unaware of who the FWBC are, and alarmingly, have no idea that the last federal election was actually called by the Turnbull Government to give the FWBC even more power.

"The new powers, if passed by the Senate, will mean the Fair Work Building Commission will be replaced by the discredited Australian Building Construction Commission and all workers in construction including, electricians and apprentices, will not have any right to silence, and in fact, if they refuse to appear before the Australian Building Construction Commission they can be sent to jail for 6 months" Stewart Edward said.

Stewart's advice to electrical apprentices is join the ETU, find out your rights, get organised and remember, you do not have to speak to the Fair Work Building Commission. If you are contacted in any way seek advice from your Union, the ETU, prior to responding to the FWBC.

The FWBC should stop harassing apprentices and focus on the dodgy bosses and NECA who would have more credibility if they stopped defending the outreagous behaviour of their members.

 

The Electrical Trades Union was notified by a member of the public that a tower crane working on a Sydney construction site belonging to builder Brookfield Multiplex came into contact with 415v powerlines last Saturday.

The member of the public also notified SafeWork NSW of the incident which occurred at the Saint Patricks Green aged care construction site located on Chapel Street, Kogarah however SafeWork NSW failed to attend the site.

The eye witness told ETU Organiser Stewart Edward that the crane’s chains came into contact with the power lines which resulted in an explosion including arcing and a loud bang. Workers on the form deck were seen to jump and move away from the area when the incident occurred at approximately 8.15am.

Upon attending the site the ETU found that the powerlines in question did not have the necessary “tiger tail” insulation which would have made seeing the wires near impossible.

ETU Organiser Stewart Edward contacted Brookfield Multiplex management to raise concerns over notification of SafeWork NSW, danger of the powerlines and ongoing work at the site. It was the ETU’s view that work should cease until an inspector from SafeWork NSW attended the site. The ETU reached agreement with Brookfield Multiplex management to report back to workers about the incident on Monday morning.

ETU Organisers Fred Barbin and Anthony Stegic attended the site on Monday morning, spoke with workers and inspected paperwork relating to the breach but to their astonishment SafeWork NSW still had not attended the site.

Under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 notifiable incidents must be properly investigated by SafeWork as the states safety regulator. This is yet another example where the regulator has chosen not to attend and investigate a serious safety breach that could have resulted in injury or death to workers or a member of the public.

“It is totally unacceptable for SafeWork NSW to allow a builder to investigate their own serious incidents or dangerous incidents without the attendance and involvement of SafeWork NSW safety inspector.” Said the ETU’s Stewart Edward.

“WHS Laws allow for action to be taken in situations like this but SafeWork NSW continue to allow the industry to effectively self-regulate which in my view will someday result in a tragic outcome.

“To add further insult Safe Work NSW have reverted to sending out a pro-forma email indicating that they have received notification of a possible safety breach, that they will not be attending the site and that the builder can proceed to “disturb the scene”.” said Stewart.

“Serious questions need to be asked following this latest incident including details of the development application, safe work procedures around powerlines in close proximity to construction sites and why these high voltage powerlines were not insulated at the very least.” Stewart said.