Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Clarifying What is Electrical Wiring Work

Paul Lister - Friday, March 09, 2018

As a follow on from yesterday’s notice regarding unlicensed electrical work the definition of what is “electrical wiring work” is defined in the Home Building Act 1989 and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004.

It is clearly defined as the actual physical work of installing, repairing, altering, removing or adding to an electrical installation or the supervising of that work.

For the purposes of work that is undertaken by Endeavour this means that removing the neutral in a consumer’s board to undertake a polarity test must be carried out by a licenced electrician.

In unity,
Dave McKinley

Unlicensed Electrical Work

Paul Lister - Thursday, March 08, 2018

It is of great concern to the ETU that Endeavour Energy are advising employees that Powerline Workers are exempt from qualification requirements to complete electrical wiring work on customer installations.

The Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006 state that “electrical wiring work” and “electrical installation work” which are not part of the distribution network, need to be carried out by a licensed electrician and safety and compliance checks need to be undertaken in the form of a CCEW (Certificate Compliance Electrical Work).

On top of that the Electricity Supply Amendment (Advanced Meters) Bill 2016 removes the responsibility for electricity meters from distribution businesses. This clearly means that meter installations no longer form part of the distributor’s network connection assets. This was reinforced by The Hon. Rick Colless (Parliamentary Secretary) in Parliament.

The exemption that Endeavour continually quote does not allow powerline workers to undertake electrical wiring and electrical installation work on customer installations. This includes diagnosing faulty meters, removing meter tails and bridging out or bypassing meters all of which require an electrical licence and compliance check on completion. The safety and compliance test requirements also fall under the Regulations and require the person conducting the test to be qualified.

Further to that the Regulations state that a licenced electrician must advise the consumer of any “electrical wiring work” performed on the customer’s installation and a licenced electrician must document the tests and provide the owner of the installation with advice of the tests together with the results of the tests.

I must make it clear this is not about the skills and ability of lineworkers, this notice is to ensure that members are not put in a position where they are breaching legislative requirements simply because Endeavour has directed them to undertake the work. Our biggest concern is that should there be some form of incident resulting from this work, members may be held to be liable a court of law for breaching legislative requirements.

In unity,
Dave McKinley

Strong majority of Ausgrid members vote in favour of offer.

Paul Lister - Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Yesterday afternoon the Ausgrid EBA ballot was counted with almost three quarters of the workforce voting to accept the offer which delivers an immediate $1,600 cash payment and an immediate 2.75% pay increase to all ETU members.

The agreement, which will now be registered, includes pay increases totalling 7.5% over three years, no forced redundancy with caps in place post 2020, a $1,600 cash payment equivalent to an additional 1%-2% depending on each individual’s salary.

The official result of today’s ballot was:

YES  73%
NO    27%

ETU members should be proud of their colleagues on the negotiating committee who secured what remains one of the best industrial agreements in the country that furthers the interests of ETU members in the workplace.

The following items remain as important features of the agreement;

  • No forced redundancies with strict caps in place beyond 30 June 2020 in a post privatisation environment.
  • The agreement retains some of the best pay rates and conditions in the country.
  • 15% superannuation which interstate ETU distribution agreements - both private and public - can only dream of.
  • $1,600 up-front payment on top of 7.5% wage increases over the next three years.

Distribution agreements struck by other states under friendly Labor Governments have only been able to achieve annual increases of 3% with no cash payment. When it comes to 15% superannuation, a 20 year old NSW ETU member at Ausgrid will be more than $300,000 better off in retirement than if they worked for a distributor in any other state.

The overwhelming feedback from members has been that they are happy negotiations are over and they are looking forward to an immediate pay rise.

The ETU has always said that we support the democratic process which gave all members the opportunity to have their say while carefully considering the facts. The ETU has always said that if members rejected the offer we would escalate the campaign to secure additional benefits.

Some members may be disappointed with some elements of the outcome however this agreement will present a solid platform from which to build in 2021 and still delivers superior outcomes from other agreements around the country.

Following privatisation in other states the electricity distribution workforce was decimated with thousands of workers losing their jobs, we have dodged this bullet through strict caps.

Our job now, with the support of ETU members is to ensure that the detail of CCR scheme and its operation is fair and that employees have an opportunity for decent future career progression.

Personally, I would like to thank every single ETU member for your patience and understanding in what has been a long and very difficult negotiation. Our delegates deserve particular mention, in particular your negotiating delegates who worked tirelessly and forcefully to secure an agreement that three quarters of the workforce support.

As always I am available to answer any questions you may have.

In unity,
Mark Buttigieg

Ausgrid EBA Voting Update

Bruce Fan - Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Please find the latest Ausgrid video update from ETU organiser Mark Buttigieg reporting on Ausgrid EBA voting results.

Any questions please call Mark Buttigieg on 0417 208 447.


Payment of Entitlements by Formway

Paul Lister - Monday, March 05, 2018

The ETU has been made aware that Formway Group may have fallen behind on the payment of various entitlements including superannuation payments.

Your current agreement requires Formway to pay $115 per week into MERT redundancy trust. All members are also entitled to 9.5% superannuation – by law this must be paid into your chosen super fund on a monthly basis.

It is concerning that a company the size of Formway has chosen to fall behind in the payment of compulsory entitlements, particularly given these items must be paid by law and in accordance with the current enterprise agreement.

The ETU is advising all members to immediately contact both MERT redundancy trust and your chosen superannuation fund to find out when the last payment was made into your account and if your entitlements are up to date.


Once you have spoken to MERT and your super fund, if there are any underpayments please contact ETU Assistant Secretary Justin Page on 0414 877 301 or justinp@etunsw.com.au

There are also a number of employees at Formway that have not yet joined the ETU – with EBA negotiations due to begin it is imperative that we have maximum membership to ensure that we keep all current entitlements AND win a decent wage increase.

With potential major redundancy and super underpayments and looming EBA negotiations, there has never been a more important time to be an ETU member.


In Unity
Dave McKinley


Paul Lister - Friday, March 02, 2018

Dear ETU Members.

Product Safety Australia, a division of the Commonwealth Governments Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, this week issued a product recall relating to Takata Airbags. This recall is compulsory due to significant safety risks and affects a large number of car makes and models and a small number of motor cycles.


If your employer has any of the affected vehicles in their fleet you should first contact your supervisor to find out if the mandatory recall work has been completed or to report that your vehicle is impacted by the product recall.

The ACCC has advised the following:

It is critical that owners of cars with alpha airbags installed take immediate steps to have the airbags replaced because of the significant risk of injury or death involved in using cars with these airbags. All other consumers whose vehicles are on the full recall list are urged to arrange for the replacement of Takata airbags in their vehicles as soon as possible due to the safety risks involved in the use of these vehicles.

If you have any issues arising in the workplace relating to the operation of affected vehicles please immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

In Unity,
Dave McKinley