Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Time to flick the switch at Parliament House

- Tuesday, September 20, 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.

Crane Hits Powerlines at Sydney Construction Site

- Tuesday, September 06, 2016

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.

ETU NSW throws financial support behind sacked CUB workers

- Friday, August 19, 2016

The NSW Branch of the ETU/CEP has donated $10,000 towards the fighting fund to support the 55 sacked CUB workers in Melbourne who are members of the ETU and the AMWU.

On top of this NSW construction industry members chipped in a further $2,000 out of their own pocket while an AMWU/ETU fundraiser last Wednesday night saw another $5,000 raised bringing the total to almost $20,000.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that the actions of CUB were un-Australian which is a far reach from a company that trades so heavily on what it is to be an Australian.

“As an act of solidarity these funds will be provided to help support the effected workers and assist their campaign for full re-instatement” said NSW Secretary Steve Butler.

“This is what being union is all about, standing united and supporting each other in times of need.”

“I have personally visited the picket line in Melbourne and I have meet these workers and understand what they are going through as a result of this bastard act from their employer.”

“I am proud of our membership in NSW for stepping up to the plate to support our brothers and sisters in Victoria during this dispute.” said Steve.

“I encourage all members, their families and friends to consider supporting other brands when next visiting the local bottle shop.” Steve said

CUB Fundraiser - Wednesday 17 August

- Monday, August 15, 2016

ETU NSW Supports Sacked CUB Workers

- Thursday, August 11, 2016

The ETU NSW Branch has swung their support behind our Victorian brothers in their fight against Carlton & United Breweries after CUB contracted out the jobs of 54 electricians and fitters and offered the workers to reapply for their old jobs on 65% less pay.

The ETU NSW, AMWU and Unions NSW are hitting the streets tomorrow to raise awareness of this bastard act with members of the public. WE ARE ASKING ALL ETU MEMBERS TO ATTEND ONE OF THE ACTIONS OCCURING TOMORROW IN SYDNEY CBD, PARRAMATTA AND PENRITH.

We will be handing out flyer asking members of the public to boycott CUB products including VB. Details for each event can be found below - please click on the link for each event for full details.

SYDNEY CBD - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 1pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Salim Babar: 0417 286 482)

PARRAMATTA - CLICK HERE (Pitt St Mall, 12noon - 2pm Friday 12 August outside Myer handing out flyers. Contact Iris Knight 0429 464 064)

PENRITH - CLICK HERE (Penrith Plaza - Riley St 12noon - 2pm outside Westfield entry/exit handing out flyers. Contact Mary Yaager 0408 931 899)


ETU Cracks Down on Site Safety

- Monday, August 01, 2016

As part of the ETU’s construction and contracting campaign the union has started to crack down on worksite safety.

As part of this hardline approach ETU Organisers Mick Hopper and Antony Stegic attended a Lend Lease site at Macarthur Square last week where multiple safety breaches were identified. Builder Lend Lease agreed that the identified breaches needed to be rectified and proceeded to shut down a majority of the job until electrical contractor’s Neilson and All Tech fixed the problems.

Even more disturbing was the fact that All Tech had no licensed electricians onsite despite unlicensed overseas labour hire workers continuing to perform work.

On another site at Sutherland Hospital, builder Richard Crookes was forced to halt work after the ETU identified electrical safety breaches. This time the electrical contractor was Grid Electrical who were forces to rectify issues immediately after being instructed to do so by the builder.

On both sites the union raised concerns over amenities as there was not enough room for all workers to use them. After raising concerns both sites have improved amenities by bringing in additional sheds – a win that will benefit all workers on these sites.

If you have any safety concerns or need assistance on-site please contact your site delegate or ETU Organiser.

ETU secures more than $60,000 in pay, entitlements for ripped off workers.

- Friday, July 22, 2016

"We couldn't have done it without the ETU" – Chris Walker

Electrical contracting company VMH based in Shellharbour went broke while working on a Lend Lease site at Darling Harbour Live. They were also contracted across major sites with state and federal government funding in Sydney. 

Five ETU members were paid zero superanuation for up to a year and also had their wages, accruals and redundancy payments ripped off. The ETU pursued the issue with primary contractor Johnson Controls and Lend Lease Building to ensure that all ETU members recovered their superannuation and other entitlements which amounted to over $60,000.

The ETU became aware of the situation when one of our members, Chris Walker, enquired about his redundancy entitlements after being let go by the company in April. Initially, Chris wanted to know how much redundancy he was entitled to after working there for several years. However, Chris was unaware that the boss tricked him into reducing his wages to 'help the company'. The boss told him he would have to resign from the company first to make it legal to reduce his wages. In fact what the boss did was to steal his notice period and redundancy payments for the years he had worked. It was another example of wages theft!

ETU organisers Stewart Edward, Fred Barbin and Mick Hopper pursued the matter vigorously to ensure all monies owed were paid.

"This example of a company going broke or not paying correct entitlements on major construction sites is now common.” Said ETU organiser Stewart Edward.

“It is important that all workers check the name of the company they are working for and that it is written on their wage slip. Furthermore, it is essential that workers check that their superannuation is actually being paid into their accounts not just written on their wage slips.” Stewart said.

“Non payment of superannuation is an early indicator that your boss may be winding up the company you work for so it is important for workers to be vigilant." Stewart said.

The ETU understands that the individual involved in running this company may also have been involve in seething up another company with different directors to continue tendering on the same construction sites and with the same builders. The ETU will be keeping an eye on the situation in order to protect members.

If you have any concerns about your wages and entitlements you should contact the ETU on 9267 4844 .


A Line in the Sand: ETU Launches Construction & Contracting Campaign

- Thursday, June 16, 2016

Last week ETU members from across the Sydney Construction sector attended a mass meeting where a tough new approach to the construction and contracting sectors was unanimously supported by members.

ETU members said that the time had come to take a hardline approach with bosses in the construction sector to ensure ETU members retain hard fought conditions and secured good outcomes moving forward.

In a move that will see a million dollar campaign rolled out across the construction and contracting sectors, the ETU NSW has developed a five point campaign plan to tackle rouge bosses and secure good outcomes for members across the construction and contracting sectors. The five point plan includes:

  1. MAKE EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE - The electrical contracting companies have had it too good for too long, it's time to make them more accountable.
  2. MORE RESOURCES - the ETU NSW has increased the number of organisers, we now have five full time organisers in the construction sector to fight for ETU members.
  3. ZERO TOLERANCE TO SAFETY BREACHES - Bosses who choose to skimp on safety will be our target as we clamp down on safety to protect workers.
  4. A TOUGHER APPROACH ACROSS CONSTRUCTION & CONTRACTING - its a tough industry so the ETU & our members are taking a tough new approach.
  5. STRONGER EBA's THAT PROTECT & IMPROVE CONDITIONS - You spoke and the ETU has listened. The ETU will only sign off on agreements that protect the rights of apprentices, our trade and our license.

This plan marks the beginning of the ETU's campaign and new approach but we can't do this without you. This commitment to the construction and contracting sectors from your union shows that we are serious about fighting for better outcomes.

At a time when the Sydney construction sector is booming it's time for electrical contracting companies to share this prosperity with their workers.

This is a new approach but it will only be successful with your support so get on board and let your organising team know what needs to be done to deliver better outcomes for ETU members.

Your ETU Organisers are:

In unity,

Steve Butler - ETU Secretary

Building Trade Group - Delegates Meeting

- Friday, June 10, 2016

ETU Construction Delegates attended the Building Trade Group of Unions this morning along with our brothers from the CFMEU, AMWU, Plumbers and TWU...

We must fight to stop the Liberals & Nationals attacks on construction workers through their draconian ABCC.

Schindler Lift Members Vote Up New Agreement

- Friday, May 13, 2016

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.