ETU Media Releases

FujiXerox NTM 01/02/2016

Posted on 01-2-2016

FUJI XEROX AUSTRALIA ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT NEWSLETTER 27 January 2016

Members and supporters,
As many of you are aware, on Monday 21December 2015, FXA provided what they described as their ‘absolute best offer.’ This occurred without any agreement that the bargaining process was finalised; it was very much a case of “this is it, take it or leave it.”
The union bargaining team considered the offer very carefully and, as a result, we are unable to recommend acceptance as we are firmly of the view think it is a substandard offer.
In our view, the offer:
• Fails to favourably approach our claim;
• Fails to address the Victorian and NSW travel time issues
• Fails to address other matters relating to drop point, work organisation and payment for work done outside hours of duty.
• Fails to allay any concerns over GPS tracking.
• Discriminates badly against new employees.
• Fails to provide a status quo provision as part of the Dispute Settlement Procedure.
• Fails to address consultative committee union representation.
FXA have stated that they intend to put the proposal out for ballot commencing 02 Feb 2016. The union’s bargaining team takes the view that the offer can be considerably improved with some organising activities and a large vote in opposition to the current proposal.
This will also require cooperation between union members and those who choose not to be.
I reiterate at this point that non-union members are welcome to participate in our activities if they do so with a genuine intention of joining.
The union recommends to you all that we undertake a campaign to achieve a vote to reject the proposal, and pursue an agreement that more adequately addresses the legitimate concerns of you all. This campaign will probably include mass meetings, teleconferences, organised communications between employees, communications to FXA customers and some hi-visibility activities outside FXA facilities.
This is a difficult period for everyone in which to organise; which is why FXA have chosen it to put the sub-standard proposal out for a vote. It is, as they say, what it is.
All who have received this notice are welcome to participate.
The obvious questions will be: “Are we able to do any better?” and “will we lose anything?”
The answer is: Stand up; if you don’t fight, you lose.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) says Central Coast residents were forced to wait days for power to be reconnected following last week’s storm because of massive staff cuts at electricity network operator Ausgrid.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that extended delays in the restoration of power supply following storms and major network breakdowns was becoming a regular occurrence because electricity network company’s across the state, including local provider Ausgrid, have cut more than 1,000 front line staff in the past year.

“What we have seen in the past year is the slashing of more than 1,000 front line electricity jobs across NSW with almost fifty of those coming from Ausgrid’s Central Coast depots.” said Steve Butler.

“The community should not be forced to wait days after a storm has passed to have their electricity supply restored.”

“Some parts of the Central Coast around Bateau Bay, Berkley Vale, Somersby and Kulnura were without power for up to four days and we believe that is a direct result of the fifty local jobs that have been cut on the Central Coast.” Mr Butler said.

“Imagine there were an extra twelve work crews out there reconnecting people following last Thursday’s storm – my bet is that every single resident would have been reconnected at least 24 if not 48 hours earlier than what they were.”

“My fear is that this type of delayed response will only get worse in the future because these power companies are planning even more cuts with Ausgrid wanting to sack a further 1,100 workers from the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Sydney.”

“Our members pride themselves on going out to help the community after major blackouts, often in dangerous conditions, but to have management make a decision to slash jobs makes the task of reconnecting the public more difficult.” said Mr Butler.

“On top of this the Baird Government implemented new regulations in 2014 limiting the amount of compensation payable to customers following extended blackouts while adding a list of conditions that must first be met.”

“Ausgrid customers are now restricted to claiming a measly $80 for blackouts of more than 18 hours however this is not payable if the blackout was caused by a third party or natural disaster, including storm events, meaning that local residents will be left empty handed for the latest blackouts.” said Mr Butler.

“A lot of people are unaware of the massive changes taking place in the electricity sector, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but none of these changes are good for customers.” Steve Butler finished.

As NSW gears up for a period of hot weather the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has raised concerns over the NSW Electricity Network’s ability to cope in what will be forty degree days as we approach the middle of summer.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that cuts to staffing levels and a reduction in network investment by the NSW Government have left the network vulnerable to periods of high demand like those presented this week with extremely hot weather forecast.

“What we have brewing is the perfect storm where the Baird Government has drastically cut investment in the NSW electricity network over the past 18 months while at the same time they have sacked more than one thousand frontline electricity workers across the state.” said Steve Butler.

“When the mercury rises to levels around forty degrees and above what we see is thousands of businesses and households crank up their air conditioner which puts and enormous amount of pressure of the electricity network as the demand for power peaks.”

“In the past the electricity network has coped well during these extreme weather periods but we now hold serious concerns about the Network’s ability to cope due to cuts to investment and massive staff reductions.” said Mr Butler.

“In the past year alone Ausgrid have slashed 879 electricity workers while Endeavour Energy has cut 155 staff and regional network operator Essential Energy has axed more than 350 regional jobs”

“Coupled with frontline staff cuts is a reduction of almost $500 million in network investment in the past year meaning the network we had twelve months ago is expected to cope with the demands of today.”

“The feedback from electricity workers is that the network is not in good shape and recent cuts to staff numbers and investment is having a material effect.” Mr Butler said.

“So today we are simply warning members of the public not to be surprised if the air conditioner stops working or your refrigerator is blacked out because we believe the decision of the Baird Government to cut staff numbers and slash network investment will come home to bite the general public at some time.”

“On top of these cuts, last year the NSW Government quietly reduced the amount of compensation customers can claim in the event of prolonged blackouts to a measly $80 per year but only when certain circumstances are met.”

“When your air conditioner, refrigerator and lights go out this summer remember to thank Mike Baird and his government for the deep cuts they have made to the NSW electricity sector but don’t bother emailing because your computer and internet connection will probably not be working.” Mr Butler finished.

Executives at publicly-owned electricity network operator Essential Energy received almost $4 million, including generous bonuses of up to $72,000, at the same time they were claiming challenging financial conditions left them with no choice but to axe 700 regional jobs and reduce services for consumers.

The company’s annual report, quietly released this month, also revealed that after tax profits for the last financial year were $266.3 million, while the company paid a total of $248.8 million to the NSW Government.

Essential Energy chief operating officer Gary Humphries took home the most generous package, with his wage and bonuses totalling $544,731, in addition to superannuation and other benefits.

Ten executives at the company received a total of almost $4 million, with base wages of $3,522,747, while seven pocketed a share of $303,910 in bonuses. The ranks of senior management also swelled by more than ten per cent, going from 138 the year before to 153.

The revelations came as Essential Energy management on Friday told employees they would be forced to use accrued annual and long service leave, whether or not they wished to, to help the company save money.

The Electrical Trades Union slammed the culture of executive greed, saying it was extraordinary that at the same time apprentice programs were being axed, regional depots closed, 700 jobs cut, and employees were being forced to use up leave entitlements, management were pocketing such huge salaries.

“Essential Energy is meant to be a publicly owned company delivering an essential service to vast parts of NSW,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.

“Instead, it is being run as a profit-making machine, with the NSW Government gouging $270.8 million from the electricity bills of homeowners and small businesses, while senior management take home huge salaries and massive bonuses.

“The community was told Essential Energy had no choice but to slash jobs and services because of the financial challenges it faced, yet now we see that those cuts were only necessary because the Baird Government and the individual executives have been lining their pockets.

“What is even more disturbing is that this executive management team and their actions have been supported whole-heartedly by the NSW Government, including local MP’s from the Liberal and National parties.

“These are the actions of a company and executive team that are totally out of touch with the communities they are meant to serve, and quite frankly completely out of touch with the expectations of voters about how publicly-owned utilities should behave.”

Click here to read a full copy of the Essential Energy 2014-15 Annual Report.

Executives at publicly-owned electricity network operator Endeavour Energy received almost $4.6 million, including bonuses of up to $165,474, at the same time they claimed challenging financial conditions left them with no choice but to axe 120 jobs across Sydney, the Illawarra, and Southern Highlands.

The company’s annual report, quietly released this month, also revealed that after tax profits for the last financial year were $243.6 million, while the company paid a total of $270.8 million to the NSW Government.

In addition to superannuation and other benefits, Endeavour Energy chief executive officer Vince Graham’s wage and bonuses totalled $953,444, while chief operating officer Rod Howard was paid $558,147.

In total, executives at the company received almost $4.5 million, with base wages of $3,857,176 along with $443,222 in bonuses.

The Electrical Trades Union slammed the culture of executive greed, saying it was extraordinary that at the same time apprentice programs were being axed and 120 jobs cut, management were pocketing huge salaries and annual bonuses that were much larger than most employees’ total salaries.

“Endeavour Energy is meant to be a publicly owned company delivering an essential service to millions of people in Wollongong, the Southern Highlands, Blue Mountains and much of Sydney,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.

“Instead, it is being run as a profit-making machine, with the NSW Government gouging $270.8 million from the electricity bills of homeowners and small businesses, while senior management take home huge salaries and massive bonuses.

“The community was told Endeavour Energy had no choice but to slash jobs and services because of the financial challenges it faced, yet now we see that those cuts were only necessary because the Baird Government and the individual executives have been lining their pockets.

“What is even more disturbing is that this executive management team and their actions have been supported whole-heartedly by the NSW Government, including local Liberal and National Party MPs.

“These are the actions of a company and executive team that are totally out of touch with the communities they are meant to serve, and quite frankly completely out of touch with the expectations of voters about how publicly-owned utilities should behave.”

Click here to read a copy of the Endeavour Energy 2014-15 Annual Report.

Executives at publicly-owned electricity network operator Ausgrid received almost $3.5 million, including bonuses of up to $71,500, at the same time they claimed challenging financial conditions left them with no choice but to axe 553 jobs and reduce services for Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast and Hunter customers.

The company’s annual report, quietly released this month, also revealed that after tax profits for the last financial year were $420.1 million, while the company paid a total of $589.7 million to the NSW Government.

In addition to superannuation and other benefits, Ausgrid chief operating officer Trevor Armstrong’s wage and bonuses totalled $547,717, while fellow executive John Hardwick was paid $502,256. In total, executives at the company received almost $3.5 million, with base wages of $3,036,834 along with $443,222 in bonuses.

The Electrical Trades Union slammed the culture of executive greed, saying it was extraordinary that at the same time apprentice programs were being axed and more than 550 jobs cut, management were pocketing huge salaries and annual bonuses that were larger than many employees’ total salaries.

“Ausgrid is meant to be a publicly owned company delivering an essential service to millions of people in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, the Central Coast, and much of Sydney,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.

“Instead, it is being run as a profit-making machine, with the NSW Government gouging $589.7 million from the electricity bills of homeowners and small businesses, while senior management take home huge salaries and massive bonuses.

“The community was told Ausgrid had no choice but to slash jobs and services because of the financial challenges it faced, yet now we see that those cuts were only necessary because the Baird Government and the individual executives have been lining their pockets.

“What is even more disturbing is that this executive management team and their actions have been supported whole-heartedly by the NSW Government, including local Liberal and National Party MPs.

“These are the actions of a company and executive team that are totally out of touch with the communities they are meant to serve, and quite frankly completely out of touch with the expectations of voters about how publicly-owned utilities should behave.”

Click here to read the full 2014-15 Ausgrid Annual Report.

The NSW Government has been accused of selling out the interests of electricity consumers and taxpayers following the announcement that electricity transmission company TransGrid has been sold to an 80 per cent foreign-owned consortium.

The Electrical Trade Union and United Services Union, which represent workers at TransGrid, have raised serious concerns about the impact on consumers, the loss of long-term tax and dividends, and the corporate history of some of the companies in the winning consortium.

Among the purchasers is Spark Infrastructure, which already owns vast parts of the Victorian and South Australian power networks, where it has been responsible for rising prices, cuts to maintenance, and aggressive tax avoidance.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said research by the Tax Justice Network revealed that Spark had not paid a cent in company tax during the past decade, despite owning highly profitable monopoly assets.

“We don’t need to speculate about what the TransGrid privatisation will mean for tax revenues, because we’ve already seen what Spark have done in Victoria,” Mr Butler said.

“Prices have steadily risen for consumers, investment in infrastructure has crumbled, regional jobs have been slashed, and revenues that previously came to governments have completely dried up as the profits are aggressively shifted offshore.

“This consortium, which is made up of big banks, foreign governments and well-known tax avoiders, have just been handed the keys to the monopoly electricity transmission network that supplies power to the people of NSW.”

Mr Butler said the sale would have a negative impact on the NSW budget over the medium to long term.

“Since 2005, TransGrid have paid $2.4 billion to the NSW Government, money which has been used to fund infrastructure and essential services such as hospitals and schools,” he said.

“This sale puts an end to that sustainable, ongoing revenue stream, for a one off payment that is a fraction of the $10.26 billion price tag the Premier and Treasurer are crowing about today.”

Mr Butler went on to say the net proceeds of the sale would be around $7.3 billion after liabilities and sale costs were taken out leaving a measley net benefit of $1 billion for the people of NSW.

“In their most recent annual report, TransGrid’s regulated asset base alone was valued at $6.19 billion, meaning the state will be a measly $1 billion better off due to this privatisation — or the equivalent of four years of dividend payments,” he said.

“Given TransGrid paid $306.5 million in dividends and tax equivalency payments to the people of NSW last financial year alone, this is an incredibly poor outcome that future generations will pay for in the decades to come.”

Essential Energy employees who were told to no longer come to work earlier this month have received a two month reprieve, with the Fair Work Commission confirming that interim orders requiring the company to overturn that decision will continue until late December.

The FWC yesterday set down a hearing date of December 18 to finalise the case, with Commissioner Leigh Johns indicating that the final decision on whether Essential Energy can direct employees not to attend work will be delivered before Christmas.

Unions launched the legal challenge earlier this month after Essential Energy told more than 230 workers across regional NSW that they should no longer attend work from the following Monday.

The Electrical Trades Union said that the FWC’s interim orders, which prevented Essential Energy from directing employees not to attend work and required the company to provide “meaningful work” for those affected workers, would now continue for at least two months.

“Earlier this month, Essential Energy told more than 230 workers across the state that they were no longer to attend work, with just 72 hours’ notice,” Electrical Trades Union secretary Steve Butler said.

“We immediately challenged that decision, arguing that it not only contravened the existing workplace agreement, but it also breached Essential Energy’s own redeployment policy.

“The FWC shared the concerns of unions, issuing interim orders that prevent Essential Energy from sending workers home.

“The matter will be arbitrated in the week before Christmas, providing a binding decision that will decide whether Essential Energy can direct these employees not to attend work.”

Mr Butler said that there remained ongoing concerns about Essential Energy segregating and ostracising employees, including by banning some staff from attending workplace meetings and telling them they are no longer to sit near colleagues.

“The ETU has serious concerns about the welfare of Essential Energy’s workforce as a result of the significant and sustained attack being carried out by management, with the support of the NSW Government,” he said.

“These actions seem to be part of a concerted effort to try to demoralise, bully and intimidate these workers into simply quitting their jobs.

“In more than 30 years as an advocate for workers I have never seen this kind of ruthless behaviour from an employer let alone a publicly owned and government operated company.

“Earlier this year it was revealed that publicly-owned power companies — including Essential Energy — had spent more than $5 million of taxpayer’s money on expensive lawyers to attack their own workers. From what we have seen in recent months, that figure is now likely approaching $10 million.”

The Fair Work Commission has also set aside a full week dedicated to bringing Essential Energy and unions together through a process of interest based bargaining in an attempt to resolve a range of workplace issues currently in dispute.

“The ETU is approaching this process with an open mind and we are hopeful that this intervention will provide the circuit breaker that the workers so desperately need.” said Mr Butler.

Regional employees put in limbo earlier this week after Essential Energy management told them to no longer come to work have had a major legal win, with the Fair Work Commission ordering the company to reverse the decision and find meaningful work for the staff.

The Electrical Trade Union and United Services Union, which represent employees at the electricity network company, launched an urgent dispute before the industrial umpire, arguing the company had breached their legal obligations.

FWC senior deputy president Jonathan Hamberger this afternoon issued an interim decision (see over page), ordering an immediate return to the status quo prior to the workers being told earlier this week that they were not to come to work from Monday.

The commission ordered that the employees, which the company described as “redeployees in unfunded positions”, be contacted no later than 3.15pm today and told that the direction to no longer come to work had been revoked.

It also ordered Essential Energy to provide “meaningful work placement” for the workers, as defined in the company’s own Management of Surplus Employees Policy.

The unions said the decision had vindicated their advice to workers that the company’s notice was a breach of the existing workplace agreement and should be ignored.

“This afternoon, the industrial umpire has ordered Essential Energy to immediately reverse its directive to these workers and advise them that they can continue to come to work and will be provided with meaningful work,” ETU secretary Steve Butler said.

“Our position — that Essential Energy had breached the workplace agreement and their own redeployment policy — has been vindicated.

“It is outrageous that a major employer, completely owned by the people of NSW, would treat its workforce in such a shameful manner.”

“Today’s decision by the industrial umpire is not only a win for essential energy workers but a win for all regional communities right across NSW.”

“We would now like to see local communities rally behind these workers and help fight to protect these valuable regional jobs.”

USU energy manager Scott McNamara said that the fight wasn’t over, but that the electricity sector unions would continue to stand up against Essential Energy’s attacks on regional workers.

“While these interim orders are a great first step, and provide legal certainty to our members when they turn up to work next Monday, the battle is far from over,” he said.

“We are still awaiting a decision of the Fair Work Commission — expected in the coming weeks — about whether Essential Energy will be able to introduce a policy allowing them to sack workers using forced redundancies.”

Media comment: Steve Butler 0414 877 679

Further information: Paul Lister 0408 231 858

Unions have advised workers who were told by Essential Energy management not to come in from Monday to turn up for work as usual, with a legal challenge against the move being heard by the Fair Work Commission tomorrow morning.

On Tuesday, the publicly-owned electricity network operator informed workers from more than 50 regional communities that their jobs were “unfunded” and that they should no longer attend work after this week — placing their futures in limbo.

The Electrical Trade Union and United Services Union, which represent employees at the company, said Essential Energy’s move appeared to breach both the existing workplace agreement as well as the company’s own redeployment policy.

ETU secretary Steve Butler described Essential Energy’s actions as: “nothing more than psychological warfare waged against a dedicated and loyal workforce”.

“We believe Essential Energy has breached their current workplace agreement, as well as their redeployment policy, and as a result we have advised affected employees that they should continue to attend work as normal,” he said.

“We have also lodged a dispute in the Fair Work Commission, which will be heard tomorrow morning.

“Essential Energy’s workplace agreement says while a matter is in dispute, the status quo should continue — that is that employees should continue to attend work as they would have before this week.”

USU energy manager Scott McNamara said the move by management to give staff just three days notice that they are no longer required to attend work was a callous and brutal way to treat loyal employees.

“This is an extraordinary move — putting hundreds of workers in limbo with no idea what their future holds — and one that we will fight,” Mr McNamara said.

“We have requested urgent meetings with management regarding their failure to properly consult before this announcement, as well as the fact that they appear to have contravened their own redeployment policy.

“This is now a matter for the Fair Work Commission, and we have made it clear to our members that they should continue to attend work until this matter is resolved.”