Electricity, Water and Utilities
Electricity, Water and Utilities
The ETU is aware of the tragic death of Hossam Ibrahim after an incident on the Ausgrid network on Saturday night.
Our thoughts are with Hossam’s family, friends and community. We also acknowledge the ETU members who attended the scene.
Today ETU officials met with Ausgrid to try and further our understanding of the incident at Punchbowl. We raised concerns in relation to current processes at the company.
Ausgrid has undertaken to get back to the union on a number of questions and issues. We will keep members informed as more information becomes available.
The ETU will always advocate for safety to be paramount across the electricity industry for the protection of the public and employees.
ETU NSW Secretary
WHERE TO FROM HERE
The company’s current proposal fails to address a number of concerns being raised by our members, delegates and officials, including:
• Lack of detail around rehabilitation programs for people who find themselves caught up in a failed test result for drugs and/or alcohol. This issue needs to be addressed regardless of whether the proposed changes proceed
• Lack of a draft policy to review
• Lack of detail around privacy when conducting a test at work
• Lack of detail around self-testing equipment and process
• Lack of focus in genuinely dealing with suicide prevention & mental health issues that potentially interact with drugs and alcohol
• Lack of information surrounding the cost of the proposed changes and how that will affect AER funding arrangements
• Lack of education and training around drugs & alcohol.
The safety and well-being of our members is and will always be paramount for the ETU.
I write to you today as Secretary of the NSW Branch of the Electrical Trades Union.
Dave McKinley has decided to step down from his role as Secretary. At last night’s ETU State Council, I was unanimously endorsed as Branch Secretary of our great union. I am honored and privileged to be chosen to lead our union into the future.
After 28 years as an ETU member and official, I know many of you and I look forward to working had with you to improve the working conditions within our industry.
I entered the trade as an electrical apprentice at Tomago Aluminium in 1987. I served as an ETU delegate during some of the big industrial battles at the birth of enterprise bargaining.
In 2010 I became an ETU Organiser working out of Newcastle. In 2015 I was elected President of Hunter Workers. In 2016 I was elected ETU Assistant Secretary.
I’ve helped lead the union’s work across major sectors including Ausgrid, Essential Energy, generation and manufacturing. In 2017 I led our successful lobbying campaign to protect NSW electrical trades standards and security for apprentices.
Since my apprenticeship I’ve been proudly union. My commitment to the ETU and our members has never wavered.
My leadership team includes Ben Lister as ETU Assistant Secretary. Ben worked 15 years as an Ausgrid lineworker at West Gosford and was a delegate for most of that time. He was one of our key activists in the Your Rights at Work and Stop the Sell Off campaigns.
Under my leadership the ETU will deepen the Branch’s focus on growth. We must grow to build industrial and political power to achieve the best outcomes for all ETU members.
Our organising drive in construction and supply contracting has delivered strong early results. The ongoing success of these campaigns is essential to the future of the ETU, the integrity of our trade and the welfare of electrical workers everywhere.
I want to acknowledge and thank Dave McKinley for his many years of service to ETU members.
I look forward to working with you as we embrace the challenges ahead with optimism, courage, determination and unity.
Secretary ETU NSW
PS Please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
08 November 2018
AUSGRID RELEASE OF “NON-NEGOTIABLES” PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF CONSULTATION
It has come to my attention that Ausgrid yesterday released a set of 8 so called “non-negotiable” safety points which they had been talking to the union about and which we were not yet satisfied with.
The 8 points which are not finalised were rolled out in Oatley Depot yesterday and distributed via the Wire as a safety scoop throughout Ausgrid. The safety scoop was dated October 2018 and included a version of the non-negotiables which the union had not yet approved. The fact that Ausgrid would release a document dated last month knowing full well that this version was not agreed speaks volumes for their intentions.
Whilst at the very end of the document it does state; “Next steps
We are currently consulting on the non-negotiables. Following the consultation, your manager will take you through them and what they mean for you”.
The ETU is concerned that the non-negotiables were still rolled out at Oatley Depot with managers there already “taking employees through them” clearly pre-empting the outcome of consultation.
To be clear the ETU does not accept the Non-Negotiables in their current form and members should take no notice of the currently circulated version of non-negotiables until further notice.
The ETU always takes safety very seriously, but these points have been prematurely released in a form that would be used as a tool to target and punish our members. This is totally unacceptable. We will ensure that the document is not implemented until we are satisfied that it fairly and genuinely addresses safety issues across the whole of Ausgrid.
Mark Buttigieg - ETU organiser
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
12 October 2018
CONDITIONAL LIFTING OF ETU SAFETY BAN ON REMOVAL OF BATS
Members will recall that there is currently a ban on the removal of all bats from overhead mains due to inadequate procedures Ausgrid had in place at the time which did not cater for member safety as the No.1. priority.
ETU O/H delegates and I have met with Ausgrid several times over the past few months in a bid to come up with a safe and workable solution on the process for removal of bats from overhead power lines. Our two main issue have always been that members had not been vaccinated and had not been properly trained in a safe procedure.
Together with Ausgrid, our delegates have come up with a safe procedure which requires 3 people, and which has now been rolled out in tool box talks to all affected work groups.
As a result, the work ban on removal of all dead and alive bats is now lifted and members may now remove the bats so long as the three-person method is employed. If you have not received instruction on this method, then do not perform the removal until you have.
If members do not utilise the 3-person method for bat removal, they are placing themselves at risk and not only breaking a union ban but also Ausgrid policy. In such circumstances the union will not be able to defend any disciplinary action arising out of the use of alternative methods.
Ausgrid are also now offering to vaccinate anyone who wishes to be vaccinated and it is our view that people who are vaccinated should be used as a priority by Ausgrid for any bat removals as this is the best way of eliminating the risk.
Mark Buttigieg - ETU organiser
With assistance from ETU organisers, Jamie built a winning case for backpay.
The outcome was payments averaging $10,000 for affected lineworkers, electricians and cable jointers.
Jamie, a lineworker at Oatley depot, said the episode demonstrates the value of union membership.
‘Credit to Ausgrid for doing the right thing in the end, but it was ETU support that got us there’
Last week ETU overhead delegates from across Ausgrid met with management in a bid to come up with a safer system of work to deal with the workplace hazard of Post A (private) poles. The result of that meeting was a modified tool box talk which addresses our outstanding concerns and covers the new procedure as well as the introduction of an iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template created to enable a proper hazard assessment of Post A Poles. The ETU through our delegates is now satisfied that these two processes if followed correctly, will control the hazard. As a result of these improvements agreed to by Ausgrid; The Safety Ban on working on Post A Poles is now lifted subject to the following;
- Work can only occur on Post A pole after you have received the latest tool box talk and the associated instructions and understood them.
- The iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template must be used by all staff to assess the condition of private A poles prior to commencing work.
The meeting last week also discussed longer term solutions to problems identified which need to be developed including;
- Improved Training requirements, scheduling and methods for delivery of training (classroom or in field)
- Pre-inspection of poles during the planning phase
- An on-going review and monitoring of Field Services A Pole inspection template (work instruction) on iAuditor
The ETU and Ausgrid have also committed to discuss private A pole specifications with members of the appropriate regulatory committees that are responsible for making representation on Ausgrid's behalf for asset issues affecting NSW Service and Installation Rules and application Australian Standards. These discussions will include making representations for the standards to insist on private poles being made of a material which is not subject to the corrosion that a steel pole is.
0417 208 447
- Notice to Ausgrid members regarding fatality
- Proposed changes to Essential Energy Drug & Alcohol testing policy
- AUSGRID POLICY ON NOTIFICATION OF PERSONAL LEAVE
- New leadership team at ETU NSW
- AUSGRID RELEASE OF “NON-NEGOTIABLES” PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF CONSULTATION
- ETU Safety Ban on Removal of Bats Conditionally Lifted
- Notice to members: Essential Energy Drug & Alcohol Policy Consultation
- DELEGATE’S CAMPAIGN NETS $3 MILLION BACKPAY
- ETU SAFETY BAN ON ALL WORK RELATING TO Post “A” PRIVATE POLES
- Launch of ETU Active for ETU Honorary Members
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