Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity Job Protections Not Guaranteed: Ausgrid

Paul Lister - Monday, July 25, 2016

Dear Colleagues.

Over the past month Ausgrid have written to the ETU on two occasions advising us that in their opinion the 5-year job guarantee’s secured by The Hon Rev Fred Nile are NOT GUARANTEED.

Ausgrid have been quite forceful in pressing their view that the company can in fact introduce forced redundancy if the Fair Work Commission agree and Ausgrid have not ruled out going down this path to push for the introduction of forced redundancy.

Additionally, Ausgrid have advised that the minimum number of employee’s or “appropriate staffing level” set at 3,570 for Ausgrid in the employment guarantee legislation as a number must also take into consideration the number of contractors working for the company and does not exclusively relate to the number of employees directly employed by Ausgrid.

As you can see YOUR MANAGEMENT know no bounds when it comes to attacking you and your working conditions. Members must be aware that the ETU will fight to secure these guarantees as we believe they were intended to be delivered by the NSW Parliament and Rev Fred Nile.

Last week I met with Rev Fred Nile who is furious with the NSW Government and Ausgrid for attempting to avoid what he believes is their obligation to provide 5-year job guarantee’s to all Ausgrid workers.

Rev Nile has given a commitment to the ETU to do whatever he can to ensure the job protections are secured and delivered beyond doubt as was intended by his job protection amendments. To this end Rev Nile has indicated that he will be seeking the government to include a clause in the sale/lease contract prohibiting the use of forced redundancy. In addition to this Rev Nile has indicated that he will seek to amend the job protection legislation to close any potential loop holes and he has also offered to appear in the Fair Work Commission as a witness supporting the ETU should Ausgrid or Endeavour Energy attempt to introduce forced redundancy through this method.

Friends, your management team are determined to sack as many people as possible, which may also result in the widespread use of contractors in place of direct employees.

Your current agreement does not permit the use of forced redundancy and in our view this is one condition that must be protected at all cost during EBA negotiations as this is the last line of protection for Ausgrid workers. Agreement to alter or remove this clause will result in mass redundancy as management, the NSW government and the new foreign owners seek to dramatically reduce employee numbers.

The ETU will continue to work with Rev Fred Nile on securing your 5-year job protections but in the meantime members should be aware that your management have declared war on you, your job security and your conditions.

 In Unity,
 Steve Butler.

P.S. Read the article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/fred-nile-demands-no-forced-redundancies-clause-in-poles-and-wires-sale-contracts-20160724-gqchkn.html

Ausgrid Update - 15 July

Paul Lister - Monday, July 18, 2016

Ausgrid EBA Update.

It has now been 1 month since the combined unions put forward a detailed proposition to Ausgrid management on the EBA. In accordance with the resolution of the delegates meeting which was held on 6th June, the proposal would fund the equivalent amount of Full Time Employees above Ausgrid’s funded number of 3570, while Ausgrid institutes a plan of management to exit the surplus numbers via VR’s & mix and match.

In the last update to members our view was that we were skeptical of a favourable response because it has become clear to us that Ausgrid simply want to implement a forced redundancy provision in order to provide future owners and management with a vehicle to exit large volumes of people in perpetuity. To date Ausgrid have not even bothered to respond which only confirms our suspicions. No doubt the NSW Treasury have their hands firmly on the puppet strings of Ausgrid management in order to try and extract a higher sale price.

If Ausgrid management ever decide to stand up and manage – we will always be willing to negotiate – but only and always in line with a mandate from members and that means No Forced Redundancies.

AER Consultative Committee Update.

On 22 June the ETU placed the matter of Phase 2 AER job reductions in dispute due to unresolved matters pertaining to the desktop assessment process, the rebalancing process and the composition of the reform affected pools. On the same day and against the wishes of the combined unions, Ausgrid sent out letters to all reform affected staff in the Hunter and Ourimbah areas.

An AER consultative meeting was also held on that day which clarified some but not all of the outstanding issues the unions wanted resolved. At that meeting Ausgrid agreed to keep consulting us on the outstanding issues and on that basis the unions agreed to allow the merit assessment and mix and match process to proceed in order not to add to uncertainty for those wanting to participate on the mix and match process. During the process, both before and since the dispute, the unions have gained a much better outcome for members than would have been the case under Ausgrid’s original proposal. Not least of these gains is a more accurate suite of skills to be assessed against in the desktop merit process and a robust appeals mechanism which allows members access to their scores and recourse if Ausgrid has not correctly followed the process.

Discussions to fine tune the process are ongoing. If there are any questions – please contact us.

In Unity,
0417 208 447 / markb@etunsw.asn.au

0414 877 301 / justinp@etunsw.asn.au