Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians
Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians
ETU members working for Star Group have won a 17.5 per cent pay boost in their new standard-setting agreement.
The four-year EBA covers up to 40 workers at the company’s service division in Sydney City, Condell Park and the North Shore.
It delivers substantial real wage increases with five pay hikes between 2017 and 2020 totalling 17.5 per cent.
The EBA improves:
• On-call Allowance from $250 to $350 per week
• Travel Allowance by $2 to $22 per day
• Living Away from Home Allowance from $120 to $155.
‘We’re pretty happy with it,’ said ETU delegate Tom Murphy. ‘We made reasonable demands and stuck together until we achieved those.’
Tom, a leading hand electrician, said the outcome benefits both workers and the company.
‘Star Group wanted a four-year agreement to provide stability and certainty. We needed significantly increased wages and allowances to reflect the value of our work. This agreement delivers on both.’
Management accepted the inclusion of a Domestic Violence Clause.
ETU organiser Steve Bankes said members at Star Group’s service division have set the standard for the electrical contracting sector.
‘Our members at Star won for three reasons: they have high levels of union membership, they are united and they are prepared to fight.
‘That is the formula for successful campaigns by workers everywhere,’ said Steve.
A National Day of Action has been organised to stand up and fight back against the Turnbull Government attacks on workers including:
- Cuts to Penalty Rates
- Rampant Wage Theft from Employers
- ABCC & Building Code Attacks, and
- Exploitation of Overseas Workers
Rally's have been organised in Sydney and Canberra taking place tomorrow Tuesday 20 June, details below.
INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO JOHN AYRES ELECTRICAL
The ETU has recovered $66,000 in superannuation owed to around 30 ETU members.
Contractor JOHN AYRES ELECTRICAL failed to pay compulsory super and MERC redundancy contributions between January and May for some electricians.
The missing money has been recovered but an ETU crackdown on missing super continues.
ETU member Brad Potter, working for John Ayres Electrical on an inner-city site, said he was ‘pissed off’.
‘This a major cock-up with our money but the company seems to think it is not a big deal,’ said Brad. ‘We earned that super. It’s not for the boss to delay payment for any reason.’
3 TOP TIPS FOR GUARDING YOUR SUPER
- CHECK the employer name and ABN on your pay slip. This is the company you are legally employed by
- CHECK your super account ONLINE by the 14th day of every month. This is the only way to be sure your super is paid up-to-date
- IF YOU have not received super contributions for three months – or if you have any other concern – contact your ETU delegate or organiser for support
The ACT commemorated International Day of Mourning at a site set up some years ago by the ACT Labor Government. It’s in a beautiful spot close to Lake Burly Griffin and adjacent the Carillion.
There were speeches from local Political leaders, Unions ACT, CFMEU Secretary Dean Hall and a Mother who had lost her son in an industrial accident, the circumstances of this loss was staggering.
Speakers commented on the legal and public outrage delivered to other offenders, for example “coward punch” initiators and the “slap on the wrist” for employers who fail to meet their safe workplace obligations.
Its fair to say that bosses have become emboldened in recent years, willing to cut corners for the sake of saving time, in the pursuit of even greater profits and these bosses are unlikely to change their tune until we change the Government and get rid of the ABCC and building code - both of which threaten the safety of workers.
Despite the sombre tone there was a significant gathering and the local Tradies Club who put on a sausage sizzle and drinks – thank you guys.
The ETU offer six general scholarships every single year with each scholarship valued at $2,000. These scholarships are available to ETU members, their children and their grandchildren. To qualify, you must be enrolled in studies in an approved course at a registered training organisation at diploma level or higher.
To apply for one of six annual general scholarships download the application form. Conditions apply (see application form). Applications are being accepted for 2017 and close at 4.30pm Friday 30 June, 2017. Successful applicants to be notified by 31 July, 2017.
A worker aged in his 30’s was tragically killed yesterday while working on the construction of the Barangaroo ferry hub. It has been reported that a steel beam fell and crushed the worker at around 4.30pm on the afternoon of Wednesday 1 March.
NSW Police and Safework NSW are investigating but ETU organiser Stewart Edward said that yesterday’s tragic accident was the latest in a long list of OHS problems that have plagued the site ever since construction started.
“My thoughts and the thoughts of all ETU members go out to this workers family.” said Stewart.
“Every single worker deserves to go home safe at night to his or her family and sadly yesterday’s incident is the latest in a long list of OHS problems that have occurred on this site over a period of years.
“I can only hope that this is the last accident and fatality to occur on this site but based on past safety performance I am not confident that it will be.” Stewart said.
“The reintroduction of the ABCC and the building code, which are designed to limit the ability of unions to access sites and represent members, will only make matters worse in the future, but right now we need all members to look out for each other and to identify potential safety breaches before an accident can occur.”
“The best chance workers have at maintaining high safety standards is to join their union and notify us when there is a problem.” finished Stewart.
Work is about to commence on the casino project within the precinct which is expected to provide a further three to four years work of construction work. The ETU has concerns around the level of Labour Hire being used in all trades across the site and the union will be making this a focus well into the future.
Young electricians in Sydney are now reporting that some electrical contracting bosses are ‘setting up’ workers to dud them out of entitlements such as annual leave, RDO’s, leave loading and notice period. This can often amount to tens of thousands of dollars which the bosses refuse to pay the workers
The ETU has now been involved in several cases that have come to light where workers are told that the employer has evidence of misconduct including issues such as theft or working outside of work for someone else. Often this is just an allegation without any proof but the employer points to dodgy contracts drawn up to pressure the young workers.
Also In some cases young workers have been told that because they did not return PPE such as, a shirt or hard hat, then the company will not pay them their entitlements. These bosses then threaten the workers with legal action and even the police. Some of these workers are given an ultimatum ‘either you resign or we will sack you’ and that they will tell others in the industry that these workers are no good at their job. Faced with this intimidation from bosses some workers have walked away without their entitlements.
In one particular case, a young electrician in Sydney who worked for a contractor who was subcontracted to Heyday 5, sought assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman. However, instead of the Fair Work Ombudsman advising the electrician that he could join a relevant union, he was told that he could seek legal assistance. The young worker then engaged a lawyer who charged him approximately $400 per hour to represent him. Faced with potential legal action from his former employer, and owed almost $20,000, the young electrician was forced to represent himself at great cost.
Incredibly, the employer cancelled four mediation appointments with the Fair Work Ombudsman leaving the young worker stressed and at a loss to how to recover his entitlements and stop the increasing legal costs. Then the young electrician heard about the ETU after a visit to site by organisers Antony Stegic and Fred Barbin. The worker was told that the ETU could represent him and that we would pursue his case
The ETU agreed to a final mediation with the Fair Work Ombudsman to resolve things. However, far from settling the amount owed, the employer argued that the worker should provide evidence of what he had done. Unbelievably, despite the employer agreeing that the amount of money owed for the entitlements was correct, pressure was applied to the young Electrician to settle for nearly half of what he was entitled to. The dodgy boss provided no evidence at all despite owing the money for four months. The ETU officials were shocked at the process to say the least, which allowed an employer to withhold entitlements worth nearly $20,000 for four months without any evidence to Fair Work, the young electrician or the ETU.
Since the failure of the mediation at Fair Work, ETU officials have visited numerous sites in an effort to address the issue. The good news is that the new ETU member’s problem has now been resolved. Not only has the ETU recovered the full amount but the dodgy boss has even agreed to pay the legal costs incurred by the young electrician.
The young electrician in this example had nothing but praise for the ETU.
“If it wasn’t for the presence of the ETU officials during the mediation I would have felt pressured to accept half of what I was entitled to.” said the young electrician who cannot be named as part of the negotiated settlement.
ETU recruitment officer Antony Stegic was happy that he and colleague Fred Barbin were able to secure entitlements that rightfully belonged to the ETU member.
“Young electricians and apprentice should join the ETU to find out their rights.” Antony said.
“If you are put in a similar situation DO NOT RESIGN call an ETU official immediately.
“Many young people in the industry are taken advantage of by dodgy bosses who would rather buy themselves expensive cars with your hard earned money.” said Antony.
“The ETU is not here to mediate away electrician’s entitlements, we are here to make sure dodgy bosses pay what they owe”. Antony finished.
This morning ETU members at Fredon voted down Fredon's nonunion EBA. A clear majority of nearly 90 workers overwhelmingly rejected the company's offer to give up their hard fought conditions in return for little more than back pay. The bosses had tried to sneak the agreement out without consulting the ETU, delegates or talking to the workers using 'the carrot' of the back pay and 'the stick' of it not being offered again!
Fredon bosses, including recently appointed NECA national President, Alan Brown rolled out the nonunion EBA to its workers on Friday 9th of December, despite an agreement between Fredon and their employees and their appointed bargaining agent, the ETU. After negotiations stalled earlier this year, Fredon bosses issued an email to its workforce saying that the ETU was seeking further legal advice. The ETU agreed with Fredon management to resume negotiations once they had that advice. Instead of sticking to that agreement, Fredon bosses sought to undermine the union by claiming the ETU had failed to get back to them. These are the underhanded tactics NECA members have been using for years.
As Fredon bosses are well aware, the only time the ETU could start to get firm advice was after the Federal Election and then the subsequent vote in the Federal senate. This legislation regarding the ABCC and the 'building code only became law from midnight 2nd December 2016. Only then could the ETU start to determine a position which was best for it's members without being forced to give up key employment security clauses protecting labour hire and apprentices rates. The ETU is currently working through the ramifications of the extreme legislation which was lobbied for by NECA ( see Alan Brown) and passed in the senate by the liberal/nationals, and independents including Pauline Hanson(one nation), Nick Xenophon, Derren Hynch and others.
Th ETU will continue to update members at Fredon on the requests made to Fredon management to sit down to negotiate a union EBA
On behalf of its members at Fredon and across the contracting sector the ETU would like to wish all members, activists and delegates a Merry Christmas and a happy 2017.
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