Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Member Information Nights

Paul Lister - Thursday, May 22, 2014

The ETU in partnership with EISSNEW Law and RT Health are hosting a number of member information nights across the state commencing in June.

The first four information evenings will be held in NEWCASTLE, the CENTRAL COAST, SYDNEY and WOLLONGONG with a further eighteen meetings scheduled across the state.

ALL members from all industry sectors are invited to come along and hear from your leadership team about the challenges we face including industrial matters, campaigns and the latest developments in Superannuation.

Full details for the meetings in Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong including times, dates and venues can be found HERE.

A full list of regional locations and dates can be found HERE. Once times and venues have been finalised for these locations we will notify members.

Food and drink will be served. If you wish to attend please RSVP to Joanne Crowder on 02 9267 4844 or joannec@etunsw.asn.au

Workers Comp Cuts Hurting Injured Workers

Paul Lister - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New workers compensation laws are making life tough for injured workers, according to a new study from Macquarie University, funded by unions. Yet Andrew Constance, the NSW Finance Minister argues overall his scheme is helping people get back to work and delivering savings.

ABC 7.30 covered this story last week highlighting just how these changes are hurting ordinary people - view the ABC 7.30 report here.

On 1 January, 2014 injured workers who used to have their medical expenses covered by the workers compensation system were relegated to the scrap heap after changes by the O'Farrell Government took effect.

Injured workers who were waiting for medical procedures of were continuing to incur medical treatment costs were told by private insurers they were no longer covered leaving these people, many retiree's and pensioners, without any options and facing financial and personal hardship.

Unions NSW commissioned a report through Macquarie University to look at the impact of the O'Farrell Government's changes and the negative impact they are having on vulnerable injured workers. The full report can be read here.

 

Working in Heat

Paul Lister - Thursday, January 16, 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: 

                       
TEMPRETURE
DETAILS
0-28C

Continuous work with normal breaks.

28-38C

Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.

38C+

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.

Harvard to deliver strong leadership for ETU

Paul Lister - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ETU Secretary Steve Butler last week left for Boston, Massachusetts where he will attend the Harvard Trade Union Program as a part of the Unions NSW delegation. The course, sponsored by Unions NSW, is aimed at developing union leaders to deal with the ever changing environment that’s unions and their members face.

The course, Preparing Leadership for the Challenges of the Future, being run between January 6 and February 14 is open to about 40 union leaders from around the globe and helps to develop managerial and organisational skills for union leaders when dealing with the complex nature of union governance and administration.

Some of the areas of study covered include: Strategic Planning for Unions, Leadership and Organisational Change, Union Governance and Administration, Lessons from Labour History, Dispute Resolution and Arbitration, Public Sector Labour Relations, Labour Law, New Tactics for Union Organising, the Global Economy and Unions and New Technology.

While Steve is away Assistant Secretaries Neville Betts and Paul Sinclair will oversee the day to day running of the NSW Branch.

National Licensing Aborted

Paul Lister - Friday, December 20, 2013

COAG have announced that they have officially aborted the National Licensing model covering electrical and other trade based licenses. 

Following the outcome of extensive State-based consultation, the majority of States decided not to pursue the proposed National Occupational Licensing Scheme reform. Most jurisdictions identified a number of concerns with the proposed NOLS model and potential costs. States instead decided to investigate approaches that would increase labour mobility and deliver net benefits for businesses and governments.
 
To this end, States agreed to work together via the Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) to develop alternative options for minimising licensing impediments to improving labour mobility and to manage the orderly disestablishment of the National Occupation Licensing Authority from early 2014.

Click here to read the full COAG statement.

Click here to read the letter from NSW Fair trading to the ETU NSW.

97.7% Eastern Tree's members support agreement

Paul Lister - Friday, December 13, 2013

The 2013 Eastern Tree Services EBA has now been endorsed by members with an overwhelming majority of ‘Yes’ votes. After the votes were counted 97.7% of those that voted supported the agreement

The Agreement will now got to Fair Work Australia for approval and certification, this process will take approximatly a month. This finalises a process that began in early 2013.

The final agreed outcome is a 3 year deal that delivers,3% in the first year (already paid), 4% at July 1 2014 and 4% at July 1 2015, Income Protection/Top Up insurance, Clarity on Travel Arrangements and an ongoing commitment to Depot based employment.

The fact that the vote was almost unanimous around NSW indicates that it’s a good outcome.

A big thankyou the members and delegates that were involved in the negotiation and provided constructive ideas and comment, particularly those members that were part of the negotiating team.

Also thank you to ETU Organisers for their hard work and persistance including Geoff Prime, Mick Doust and Adam Wardrope.

Wormald Newcastle secure first ever union agreement

Paul Lister - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

ETU members working for Wormald in Newcastle are celebrating after securing their first ever union agreement that will deliver superior outcomes to their wages and conditions over the next three years.

Among the conditions secured include an improved classification structure with better progression opportunities and a review process providing ETU members with a strong secure future with the knowledge that future opportunities are available.

In addition to this members will receive an annual wage increase of 4% per year for the next three years, 24hr Top Up Insurance with the policy attached to the agreement, CPI increases to all allowances per year for the life of the agreement and a union delegate and training clause.

This agreement represents the first union agreement for Wormald in Newcastle and will form a strong base for the future. Congratulations to all ETU members on a great outcome.

ADT Security members win after first union agreement

Paul Lister - Friday, November 22, 2013

In February this year security technicians employed by ADT Securities (a Tyco company) contacted the ETU to seek advice regarding the advantages of a union endorsed EBA verses a non union EBA.

After meeting with all the techs to discuss the differences between the two options 100% of the security techs at ADT Securities joined the ETU.

Some months ago the union commenced negotiations on behalf of the workforce with management in what would be the first union agreement ever at ADT Securities.

Although the negotiations were been lengthy, members stuck firm and the outcome has been exceptional.

The new ETU union agreement contains exceptional wage increases and increases to the on call allowance along while also delivering better defined experience levels for the security industry.

In previous years under the non-union agreement workers at ADT Securities had received nothing more than CPI increases to wages.

A big congratulations to all ETU members at ADT Securities who now understand the power of unity.

Canberra Construction Update

Paul Lister - Friday, November 22, 2013

Rates of Pay for the Construction Industry.

The contactors that built the ASIO building, 4 National Circuit, Manhattan Apartments and the other big Government and private jobs have been snookered.

The “second level” players came into the market to fill the gap left in apartment building works.

I am being kind by calling these guys “second level”. They are the residential/small commercial contractors who put in prices on jobs the big companies didn’t have the staff to work on. The “second level” companies got the work with unbelievably low prices.

The ETU has been visiting sites and discovered how:

  • Low wages (award).
  • 40 hour week every week (no RDO) illegal under National Employment Standards.
  • Apprentice ratios.
  • Safety and Job admin compliance.
  • Training additional to trade training.
  • Working out of their garage.
  • Keeping the ETU and workers apart.

The ETU doesn’t begrudge any “rising star” companies competing. Far from it - the licence allows any electrician to become a contractor. But the result of some behaviours is:

  • Potential Safety Breaches
  • Injury “cover ups”
  • $300+ per week not being paid to workers
  • Less super for workers
  • Builders expecting up to 15% discount on previous tenders
  • The “race to the bottom” for wages and conditions
  • Redundancies and closure of the big players.

We can thank these "second level" companies for eroding pay and conditions won by ETU members.

There is no reason why a Contractor can’t quote a reasonable price and pay their workers properly.

The ETU and the guys need to talk to the boss and get a proper rate of pay and conditions. Join the ETU and lets fight for fair pay and conditions.

Any Canberra construction sparkies needing assistance can contact ETU Organiser, Mick Koppie.

NSW legislation strengthens construction industry

Paul Lister - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Building and Construction Security of Payment Amendment Bill 2013 was introduced to the NSW parliament last week. This is the first piece of reform stemming from the 2012 Independent Inquiry into Construction Industry Insolvency chaired by Bruce Collins QC.

The Collins Inquiry made a number of recommendations mainly relating to payment practices in the contractual chain between principal/owner, head contractor and subcontractor, including:

  • Introduction of Trust Accounts for money paid by a principle to a Head Contractor for Sub Contractors.
  • Prohibition of Head Contractors would be prohibited from accessing any of that Trust until all subcontractor payments have been made
  • Maximum time of 28 days for payments to be made from a Head contractor to a Subcontractor
  • The creation of a Building and Construction Commission with responsibility for control and regulation of all aspects of the Industry (including licencing) similar to the Queensland model.
  • Penalties for making false statutory declarations.
  • A disputes board to be set up for major Government contracts to handle, among other things, payments to subcontractors

These and other findings from the inquiry would deliver a lot more security for subcontractors and potentially help limit the number of contractors who end up insolvent.

Unfortunately the O’Farrell Government has been slow to move on the recommendations from the Collins Inquiry, which was released back in January, and this piece of Legislation would have only introduced a guarantee of a maximum thirty day period for the payment of progress claims. The Labor Party have been successful in amending the legislation in the NSW Upper House and it now includes the provisions for the Trust accounts to be established for retention money.