Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

Four Year Transgrid EBA Protects and Improves Conditions

Peter Moss - Tuesday, December 05, 2017
TWO PAY RISES SET FOR XMAS & NEW YEAR

ETU members at Transgrid have maintained and improved conditions in the first enterprise agreement negotiated since the company was privatised two years ago.

A four-year EBA will deliver total pay rises of 8 per cent, with two instalments of 2 per cent set to land at Christmas and then New Year.

The agreement includes better redundancy pay, superior remote working arrangements and a pacesetting 10 days domestic violence leave.


Photo: Col Waring

Veteran ETU negotiator Michael McManus said the outcome meets the priorities set by members at depot meetings.

‘We’re reasonably happy with it. The wage increases are not big but for the blokes the primary aim was to secure our conditions and avoid trade-offs,’ said Michael, a site manager in Yass.

‘It’s not perfect but the payments for forced or voluntary redundancy are now significantly higher than the National Employments Standards.

‘We’re very happy with the domestic violence leave – 10 days helps our people and makes Transgrid a national leader,’ said Michael.

Col Waring, a substation advisor and ETU negotiator, said ‘we’ve accepted an offer that does the minimum’.

‘It’s a reasonable outcome in a tough environment for the electricity sector. We’re 100 per cent privatised and our workforce is under pressure,’ said Col, who works at Eastern Creek.

‘We had to protect jobs and full-time employment, particularly in rural areas. We need stability and security. This EBA delivers that along with improved conditions and a reasonable pay rise for the future.’

Transgrid workers are now entitled to up to 62 weeks redundancy pay, far above the 12 weeks contained in the National Employment Standards.

The EBA provides that employees working away from home are uniformly entitled to claim a day ‘sustenance rate’ instead of being paid ‘actuals’ (receipted expenses).

A new flexible arrangement for remote work means employees working away for long periods will enjoy more leave when they get home.

ETU Secretary Dave McKinley, who led negotiations, said the maintenance of conditions met ‘our members’ biggest concern’.

‘Our team protected all key conditions while enhancing others with an eye to the future.

‘Transgrid is likely to take on more contestable work including huge projects such as interconnectors in South Australia and Queensland. This will require extended periods of remote work which will see our members benefit under clauses in this EBA,’ said Dave.

Transgrid operates almost 13,000 kilometres of high voltage transmission network in NSW and the ACT.

The company was sold by the NSW Government in December 2015 to a consortium composed of Australian, Canadian and Middle Eastern investors.

The four-year EBA, expiring in December 2020, covers around 900 employees including up to 400 ETU members.