Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Medical Assessments Notice No4 - Essential Fails to Address the ETU’s Key Issues.

Paul Lister - Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Work Capacity Assessment Procedure is still in dispute. The ETU strongly advises that in the interim, members should hold off attending any medical assessment. If you are threatened with discipline, inform the person threatening you that you are exercising your legal right to be represented by your Union and contact your local delegate or Organiser immediately.

In the Fair Work hearing on 16th May 2017, Essential Energy and their Lawyers adamantly argued in front of DP Sams that they have not threatened or disciplined any employee for refusing to attend a Work Capacity Assessment appointment.

Last week Essential provided a revised Procedure to the ETU. The revised Procedure fails to restrict the scope of employees to Live Line & Heavy Vehicle employees which under statutory requirements, Work Capacity Assessments must be carried.

Essential also failed to adequately address what happens if an employee is deemed “Unfit for substantive duty –permanently”.

The ETU has advised Essential that the matter remains in dispute and the Union intends to relist the matter before DP Sams.

Members are reminded you are legally entitled to have ETU Representation in any employment matter including investigations, performance matters, disciplinary matters, safety matters etc. The ETU will keep members updated on this matters through our ETU workplace delegate’s network, Facebook and via the ETU website.     

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary

Removal of ETU Safety Ban - Towing Jinker Trailers with Borer Cranes.

Paul Lister - Friday, June 09, 2017

In response to the Safety Ban the ETU issued on Wednesday 7th June 2017, Essential Energy yesterday made Application to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop unprotected industrial action. Essential alleged the ETU Safety Ban on towing jinker trailers was illegal industrial action. The matter was heard today before Deputy President Sams.

Essential Energy agreed to withdraw their application following agreement on the following process to be followed by employees-

“Consistent with Essential Energy’s standard practice, should any crane operator have a concern regarding the weight of any crane borer in terms of its registration compliance, the following steps are to apply:

  1. Notify your immediate supervisor regarding your concerns and provide details of the total load for that particular vehicle;
  2. Arrange to have the vehicle weighed for compliance at a certified weighbridge;
  3. Once completed, provide the weighbridge certificate to your supervisor.

Should the relevant compliance weight limit be exceeded at the weighbridge, you should take immediate action to reduce the total weight to within the registration compliance limitations.  Should this not be possible, notify your immediate supervisor who will arrange appropriate remedial action for the vehicle.  Vehicles are not to be driven unless they meet RMS compliance.

The ETU agrees that this is an appropriate process for ensuring RMS compliance for our heavy fleet operators.  The ETU agrees to immediately withdraw all notices in relation to this matter and work will continue as normal”.

On the basis of this agreed process, the ETU withdraws its Safety Ban and strongly encourages all heavy vehicle drivers to follow the above process to ensure RMS compliance is met.

Members must understand that as the operator of the heavy vehicle, by law both you and your employer have the obligation for ensuring that the vehicle is operated within the weight and load limits imposed by the Heavy Vehicle National Laws Act of NSW and you cannot be directed to work in an unlawful manner.

If you are unaware of the current actual weight of the vehicle and have concerns please ensure you follow the steps outlined in the above process and put it over an accredited weigh bridge.  If you ordinarily tow a jinker/pole trailer with this vehicle, this test should be conducted both with and also without the loaded trailer attached.

Essential Energy has communicated directly to all drivers and Supervisors of the impacted Ozzy Crane Borers, ensuring that they are aware that they are not to tow jinker trailers behind these vehicles until further notice. All impacted Ozzy Crane Borers have also been fitted with a Danger Tag to prevent the unintentional use of these machines to tow a jinker trailer.

If you need any advice as to your obligations under the NSW heavy vehicle laws, please contact your immediate Supervisor, the RMS directly or contact the Union for further assistance.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary

ETU Safety Ban: Don't tow Jinker trailers with any Borer Crane

Peter Moss - Thursday, June 08, 2017

Members are advised there are Safety Bans on towing Jinker trailers with any Borer Crane. It has been found that mass limits on the axle capacity have been exceeded on Borer Cranes when Jinker trailers are being towed.


On Thursday 1st June 2017 a Total Safe was lodged when a Borer Truck fitted with an Ozzy Crane went overweight on the front axles when it was placed on a weigh bridge. Other Ozzy Borer Cranes towing jinker trailers have gone overweight on the rear axle when placed on a weigh bridge. Since Friday last week the ETU has requested that Essential Energy issue a Safety Alert notifying employees but they refuse to do so.

Essential Energy today conceded that the mass limit stipulated by the RMS on the axle groups for the registration category have been exceeded on Ozzy Borers. The ETU is of the view that employees are unable to determine if vehicles are within mass limits when Jinker trailer and poles are being towed with any Borer Crane without putting them over a weigh bridge.

As part of holding a Heavy Vehicle license, it is the operator’s responsibility to make sure these limits are not exceeded. The penalty for overloading a vehicle may exceed $2200 for an individual.  Members are advised not to put themselves or others at risk, or risk being fined by driving any heavy vehicle where you are unable to determine the weight of the load and if it is within mass limits.

The ETU is of the opinion that Essential has failed in their safety obligations to properly notify employees of the potential safety issues by driving overweight heavy vehicles and to implement a safe system of work. As a result the ETU has been left no option but to put this safety ban in place.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary

EBA Negotiation Updates and latest Ausgrid Job reductions

Bruce Fan - Friday, June 02, 2017


Whilst there are still several negotiation meetings to take place and the Agreement is by no means settled, negotiations have now progressed sufficiently enough for a report back to all delegates. 

Ausgrid have agreed to a paid delegates meeting as follows;


Tuesday, 6 June 2017  10:00-14:00: Silverwater Training Centre Auditorium.

All delegates should attend this important meeting.


I have also scheduled a series of paid depot meetings to update members on the negotiations. The schedule is detailed below. All members should make every effort to attend these meetings so as you are briefed on the status of the Agreement negotiations. 



Many of you would be aware that yet again Ausgrid is going through another round of significant job cuts with some 300 reductions proposed across a range of Management, Admin / Clerical, para- professional and some trade based roles. 

In accordance with the consultative provisions of the Agreement Ausgrid have been consulting with us in a number of areas where our members are affected including Field Services, Customer and Asset Management. 

We have delegates representing our members in each of these affected areas and if members have concerns they should contact these delegates in the first instance.


Along with our delegates I have attended a number of these meetings. It is clear to me that, to the extent that an analysis has been done by Ausgrid to justify the proposed reductions in each area - some heroic assumptions have been made at best. 

At worst, the analysis has been based on cursory guesses, inaccurate information and basically attempts to come up with cuts to satisfy quotas or targets. 

In particular, prior to the consultation commencing, Ausgrid have not sought bottom up data on the work type and volumes so as to be in a position to make accurate judgements on remaining labour capacity. 

As a result we have been making the point that this analysis needs to include feedback from our delegates and members as to what happens in the real world so we can test their assumptions. 

This process is happening right now and I encourage all the consultative groups to put in alternative proposals based on the experience and knowledge of the work type and volume that you all have expertise in. 

Invariably this feedback should in my view result in an upward revision of jobs retained. Credible alternative proposals should always attempt to address and factor in to the proposals productivity and efficiency. 

Whilst I understand why there is a lot of cynicism regarding consultation on these matters – I have on occasions seen such proposals result in retention of positions that would have otherwise been lost- so please proactively participate and influence the outcome.

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