Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Ausgrid Update - 30 November

Paul Lister - Thursday, November 30, 2017

Members will be mailed ballot papers next week for a vote to authorise protected industrial action – it is essential that all ETU members complete the ballot and vote ‘YES’ to every proposed action.

Only a strong majority ‘YES’ vote to every action will enable us to campaign effectively for an acceptable agreement, in the event that matters cannot be resolved in negotiations.

A clear, united “YES’ vote will send a powerful message to Ausgrid management that we are serious about achieving a fair outcome and will back our words with action, if required.

Your ETU negotiators will of course continue to do everything possible to achieve an acceptable result via negotiation. As I write this today, we have reached in-principle agreement on six items. However, two major issues remain outstanding.

Six items agreed in principle, but two key matters unresolved
 
Negotiations have continued this week with in principle agreement on the following major items:

  1. Consultation Clause.
  2. Dispute Settlement Procedure Clause.
  3. Redeployee incentive. On certification of the Agreement, for all redeployees a one off $75,000 incentive payment with a three-week acceptance period after which time the offer is withdrawn.
  4. As at 1 July 2020 a cap of 250 on the number of redeployees that can be made forcibly redundant at the end of the job guarantee period. In other words, Ausgrid can make forcibly redundant up to 250 remaining redeployees as at 1 July 2020.
  5. From 1 July 2020 an ongoing “global” annual cap of 250 to apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies.
  6. An Annual Apprentice intake.

Remaining Major outstanding items

  1. Career Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme. We are in the process of making sure that any discrepancy between the current skills structure pay rates and the proposed CCR pay rates does not result in any structural long term pay disadvantages as people progress through their career. The nature of how that progression through a career is determined, is also being negotiated.
  2. Pay Rise: Ausgrid’s position remains; 2.5% year 1 plus a one off $1,000 sign on bonus, 2.5% in year 2 and 2% in year 3 (contingent on agreeing to the CCR). The ETU’s position remains 3% per annum, this is not unreasonable given the three to four year wage freeze.

The Protected Action Ballot Timetable

The Fair Work Commission has approved the conducting of a ballot of members for the right to take protected industrial action. We expect ballot papers to begin arriving at members addresses from Monday 11 December.

It is critical that on receiving the ballot papers that all members vote and return the ballots as soon as they receive the ballot papers.

Please ensure that you register a yes vote to all the questions so that the ballot result is effective. Members can either post back the ballot or give them back to their local workplace delegate who will post them.
 
While we continue to negotiate with Ausgrid on the outstanding matters outlined above, it is important for members to understand that these matters are part of a total package. If we are unable to resolve the outstanding issues, then we will proceed to a concerted industrial and political campaign to achieve an outcome which is acceptable to members.
 
In Unity,
 
MARK BUTTIGIEG   
0417 208 447 / markb@etunsw.asn.au

Ausgrid EBA Update - 23 November

Paul Lister - Thursday, November 23, 2017

The combined unions continue to edge closer to an agreement with discussions continuing around annual pay increases in the new agreement and the proposed career progression structure, excluding these two items the ETU believes we are moving closer to an agreement providing these items can be resolved.

The application for protected industrial action has been lodged with the Fair Work Commission and we await a response and order permitting this action - this course of action will be pursued if necessary and we will keep members updated. Below is a video update from ETU Organiser Mark Buttigieg.

 

Ausgrid EBA Update - 17 November

Bruce Fan - Friday, November 17, 2017

In two days of extensive meetings this week between union officials, the broader negotiating committee and Ausgrid management, in principle agreement has been reached in three out of the six areas of major contention;

  1. Consultation Clause; Is almost to the point where the draft wording is agreed on.
  2. Dispute Settlement Procedure Clause; Is almost to the point where the draft wording is agreed on.
  3. Contracting Out Clause; Drafting of this clause is yet to be completed but the principles of that clause are agreed on.

While some progress has been made in areas 4. and 5. below, there is still a significant amount of work to do to bring the two positions closer together;

  1. A post 1 July 2020 “global” redundancy cap which would apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies and a credible mechanism to prevent Ausgrid “stockpiling” redeployees prior to 1 July 2020.
  2. Career Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme. There are issues to be resolved pertaining to future career progression pay rates, consultation provisions for any significant reduction in numbers of each band required within each work group and the consultative mechanism for determining how people would be judged to have “met” or “exceeded” expectations.
  3. Pay Rise; Ausgrid’s position remains; 2.5% year 1 with 2% in years 2 and 2% in year 3 (contingent on agreeing on CCR). The ETU’s position remains 3% per annum.

In the meantime, an application was today lodged with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for the right to ballot our members for protected industrial action. Whilst we are hopeful more progress will be made next week in schedule negotiations, members should be under no illusion about our resolve to push ahead with a full scale industrial and political campaign should we not be able to reach agreement on the above issues.

Change the Rules Rally - 16 November

Paul Lister - Monday, November 13, 2017

Join us 11.30am Thursday 16 November - Belmore Park, Sydney (near Central Station).

Ausgrid EBA Update - 10 November

Paul Lister - Friday, November 10, 2017

On Tuesday this week the combined union officials attended another meeting with Ausgrid management to work on progressing the agreement. The results of that meeting and the two prior ones were reported to the negotiating committee the next day. The following points represent areas where we believe significant progress has been made.

  1. A Forced Redundancy provision applying from after 1 July 2020 (the end of the job protection legislation) with a Year 1 “global” cap (would apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies) of 300. Exercising of a redundancy program would be conditional on implementing a thorough Voluntary Redundancy EOI program first. If for example 150 people chose to exit the business voluntarily, Ausgrid would only be able to make forcibly redundant 150 in year 1.
  2. A contracting out clause which retains the current clause provisions but with the addition of an oversight committee to have input into Ausgrid’s preferred contractor panel selection.
  3. A Dispute Settlement Procedure which retains the current status quo provisions. There is still debate over how and when status quo would apply.
  4. A Consultation clause which has a criterion of triggering rigorous consultation when the proposed change can be shown to have a significant effect on employees.
  5. A Career, Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme which objectively recognizes skills and performance. There is still significant work to do in this area. The CCR negotiating subcommittee will reconvene next week to continue work on it in a bid to improve the outcomes for employees.
  6. A Three-year agreement. i.e. nominal expiry 3 years after the Agreement is certified by FWC.

Major outstanding issues include:

  • In the pre-job guarantee period (i.e. pre-1 July 2020) Ausgrid’s proposition is that there would be no limit to how many people Ausgrid can make redeployed. This is unacceptable because it would allow Ausgrid to stock-pile redeployees in anticipation of the 1 July 2020 date then exit these redeployees that would not count to the 300-year 1 cap.
  • Ausgrid’s desire to be able to direct redeployees in to what we say is non-meaningful work.
  • The cap that is to apply in years 2 and 3 after 1 July 2020.
  • Pay Rise – Ausgrid’s position is 2.5%, 2 %, 2% with no back pay. Combined unions position is 3%, 3% 3% with some back pay.

Further negotiating meetings are scheduled for next week when we will have further updates.

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

Ausgrid EBA Update - 2 November

Paul Lister - Friday, November 03, 2017

Please see below a video update from ETU Organiser Mark Buttigieg. Should you have any questions please direct these to your workplace organiser or Mark.

 

 

In accordance with the last update, the combined union officials this week attended a two-day intensive negotiation with Ausgrid management in a bid to reach agreement on some basic concepts in relation to the following five major issues:

  1. A post 1 July 2020 Forced Redundancy provision with an annual cap.
  2. A tighter contracting out clause.
  3. A Dispute Settlement Procedure which retains the current status quo provisions.
  4. A Consultation clause which retains employee and union involvement in change.
  5. A Career, Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme which objectively recognizes skills and performance.

We are pleased to report that the two-day discussions proved worthwhile and productive with significant progress and varying degrees of in principle agreement on all five issues above. While agreement on the above remains at an in principle / conceptual stage, we are reasonably confident that we can translate these principles in to EBA clauses which satisfy both sides. Having said that there is a lot of work to do to achieve this, particularly in the CCR scheme.

In terms of a pay rise, whilst this was not the focus of discussions we made it clear to Ausgrid that their current offer of Year 1; 2.5% with subsequent annual 2% increases contingent on implementation of CCR, was inadequate given the 4-year wage freeze.

In the meantime, as instructed by the last delegates meeting on the 11th October - we are finalising our joint application to the FWC for the right to ballot our members to take protected action. It is important that members understand that we are proceeding with this in case negotiations once again break down. We must retain the ability to bring the matter to a head via protected industrial action if necessary. Whilst we are confident this will not be necessary we have been instructed by our members and their delegates to bring the matter to a head one way or another. It would be premature to say we have this agreement over the line.

We will be reporting back to the broader EBA negotiating committee on Wednesday 8th November with some reasonably firm proposals on the above issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions please feel free to contact your negotiating committee representative or respective organiser.

In Uniy - Mark Buttigieg 
 

Majority of ETU Member Support Revised In-principle Offer

Paul Lister - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Last week we asked ETU Delegates to circulate the Essential Energy revised in-principle offer and seeking feedback from members. The overwhelming response has been ETU members support the concept of an early settlement, “rollover” of the Enterprise Agreement.

Next Steps

Essential Energy will issue employees with a notice of representational rights. This formally starts the bargaining process. The parties and representatives will meet to formalise a draft agreement to go to an electronic vote. This vote cannot take place within 21 days of the notice of representational rights being issued. A draft agreement and explanatory document needs to be circulated 7 days before any vote can be held. 

The aim is to have a vote conducted early December.

Thank you to all the ETU Delegates for your continued efforts and enabling this to happen in such a short timeframe. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary

Mobile: 0414877301 / Email: justinp@etunsw.asn.au