Yesterday the ETU and USU were forced into the Fair Work Commission over the ban on training contractors, including Indian company Tata Consultancy Services. Deputy President Sams made it exceedingly clear that he believed our actions constituted industrial action and therefore we must lift the ban.
Under the circumstances the Unions had no choice but to lift these work bans or risk facing binding orders and potentially fines.
This is another clear example of how current workplace laws are broken. The Fair Work Act prevents workers and their unions from protecting skilled local jobs. The Act does not allow people to follow their conscience.
The lifting of the bans is not the end of this issue. We continue to fight for these jobs to stay in Australia - just as we fight to protect as many jobs as possible throughout Ausgrid.
The Unions continue to lobby Ausgrid’s owners - Australian Super, IFM Investors and the NSW Government - to ensure that there is no off-shoring or contracting out of local Ausgrid jobs.
Ausgrid’s decision to off-shore these jobs has driven home the need to fight for stronger job security clauses in the EBA. We are arguing strongly for a cap on the number of redundancies post-2020, when the current employment guarantees expire, as well as a contracting out clause that ensures our members are not undermined by cheap alternatives.
These two issues are fast becoming the sticking point in your EBA negotiations. I have no doubt that Ausgrid will not agree to protect jobs and maintain conditions without a concerted push from the membership.
Stay tuned as the next few weeks will tell us exactly what management’s plans are. This will determine the scale of the campaign we run moving forward.