Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

ETU Provides Journey Cover Insurance for Members

Angela Lordan - Monday, April 15, 2013

The ETU now provides Journey Cover Insurance for all financial members in NSW and the ACT.

This means that you are covered by ETU insurance if you are injured or have an accident travelling to or from work.

The union introduced Journey Cover Insurance in February after savage cuts to workers compensation left members exposed.

Last year the O’Farrell Government abolished journey cover for most NSW workers.

That is why the ETU has stepped up. We must ensure our members are protected from potentially catastrophic health and financial damage. We are now one of just a few unions to offer journey cover to all financial members as an automatic right at no extra cost.

Any member injured while travelling to or from work after 11 February 2013 is now covered and the benefits are generous.

  • Eligible injured members will receive 100 percent of wages up to $2,000 per week for the period they are unable to work due to injury.
  • Cover is available starting 14 days after the accident or injury.

To make a claim contact the ETU. The union will give you a claim number. for further details about this new benefit visit our Industrial Support Pages.

Ausgrids Latest EBA Offer

Katie Kidd - Friday, April 12, 2013

Ausgrid have this morning delivered an updated offer on the agreement (see attached) which contains the following basic propositions:

1. A wage increase of 2.7% to apply from 19 December 2012 and a further wage
increase of 2.7% on 18 December 2013.

2. New clauses to be incorporated as previously agreed in the bargaining process:

Consultation Clause

Dispute Resolution Procedure

Domestic Violence clause

Choice of Superannuation Fund clause

Removal of SP 54 Overtime Restriction (CI 16.8)


3. The current Superannuation clause to be amended to read:

"Should any increase to the Commonwealth Government Superannuation Guarantee
(SCG) occur during the nominal term of this agreement, these increases will be absorbed.
This essentially means members forgoing the slated 0.25% SGC rises in July 2013 and 
July 2014.

4. ESRA to be frozen only for the purposes of the agreement rises (i.e. the 2.7% rises identified above) over the term – but to remain as an all-purpose allowance.

5. An altered Outsourcing and Contracting Out clause – which basically represents a hybrid between the current Endeavour clause being proposed and Ausgrid’s current clause Removal of the Local Workplace Flexibility Agreement cl.25. – currently this is a linkage clause which recognises the existence of LWFA’s outside the agreement.

7. Inclusion of a trigger clause for renegotiations to commence six months before the expiry 
of this Agreement

8. Formal drafting changes.

Whilst at first glance the offer certainly represents progress from previous offers, the ETU and 
other unions are currently still examining the document in detail. On first reading however, there 
are a few obvious issues we will need to work through. These include;

 - A lack of any reference to the current voluntary redundancy and re-deployment 
provisions being formally recognised in the agreement.

 - Removal of the Local Workplace Flexibility Agreement cl.25 and the implications for preexisting LWFA arrangements.

Further issues may or may not arise from detailed examination and negotiating committee and member feedback. Once we have gone through the document in detail and worked through any major issues like the ones identified above – we will be updating members further.

In the meantime if members have any questions or comments on the proposal they can contact their negotiating committee representatives or email or phone either of us directly.

Letter to unions re Ausgrid EA12 offer

Stop The Sell Off

Paul Lister - Thursday, April 11, 2013

The ETU along with other power industry unions have recommenced the Stop the Sell Off campaign against plans to privatise the electricity distribution and transmission networks and Snowy Hydro.

Please read the Notice to Members for further information.

   NTM Anti Privatisation Campaign

Essential Energy EBA Update

Paul Lister - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yesterday the 9th of April saw the first meeting for the negotiation of Essential Energy Union EBA 2013.

Essential Energy’s Hr chief strategist, Peter K Smith, was responsible for overseeing the arrangements for the meeting.

The whole event was a shambles, with management forcing the majority of delegates to fly via Sydney to Port Macquarie for the “event”. One delegate was unable to leave his home town due to their being an unrealistic connection time, one other delegate flew to Sydney to find the only available connecting flight was about 4pm (1 hour after the end of the meeting)., others connecting flights got them to the meeting almost an hour after the scheduled commencement & one other delegate was, on his returning home, left marooned in Sydney with no available connecting flight till the following day!

This delegate attempted to contact Mr Smith, who showed a great example to the rest of the workforce of how to respond to an emergency by not answering the call. The delegate was unable to get accommodation, with the union providing lodgings at an officials home , food & transport to & from the airport. Thank heavens the management people aren’t being relied on to provide services to the electricity consumers!

Upon arrival at the management designated venue, “Fort Courage” Buller Street Port Macquarie, we were ushered to the meeting room. Things weren’t exactly well prepared with us having to wait while tables were arranged, temporary walls moved, chairs & tables found & a meeting room cobbled together.

When the meeting started, nearly an hour late (almost 11am) The management team of Peter Bericura, PK Smith, Linda Southern, Scott Berryman & Sue Turner then proceeded to discuss an agenda. To do this they utilised an overhead projector. Only problem being that the overhead projector was a reflection of the management team, put mildly dysfunctional, with large sections blacked out by apparently “dust”.

The first issue dealt with was that we needed to finish by 3 pm so that people could get to the airport to get arranged flights. What a shamozzle!  we had 17 people who had to travel!

It’s amazing that the management resident  brains trust has flown to Broken Hill today for a meeting tomorrow, seems that they have one rule for the workers & one rule for themselves, but you have to give them some credit, they are consistent.

ETU leads union opposition to forcing senior members onto contracts.

The meeting was now off to a flying start ! The combined unions expressed our belief that management had buggered up the notice of representational rights & voiced our collective position that the attempts being made to isolate 256 workers from the protection of the EBA is a disgrace & will be fought out in Fair Work Australia. The unions will not sit idly by & see these members in senior positions be put to the sword.

Management Log of claims.

The ETU then asked the management to identify their log of claims. The management wanted their claims to be called “Employer initiatives” & then asked the unions to leave the room so that they could work out which bits of their claim they would tell us. After a break they informed us that the issues that they want to discuss

  • Management want to vary the leading hand clause to stop any future appointment as permanent leading hand.
  • Management propose to freeze superannuation contributions at the current 15% etc for the life of the agreement.
  • Management propose a freeze on Electricity safety rules allowance at the current rates.
  • Management want to arrange all accommodation centrally for members working away from home with no option for making own arrangements & receiving an allowance.
  • Management want cashing out of annual to be extended with a reduction of leave needed to be kept.
  • Management want to remove salary maintenance & redeployment from the agreement.
  • Management want to vary the Dispute settlement procedures. (no details as yet)

Clearly they had more things that they want to rip off the members but they would not provide the details of other matters to the unions & will drop them on us at a later date.

The unions presented their logs of claims. (see below for ETU log of claims)

The ETU started to explain our log of claims but were cut short due to people having to leave the meeting to catch planes.

The ETU will continue to argue for members rights & job security.

The ETU delegates on the negotiating team are; John Speer, Michael Hannigan, Graham Brislane, Simon Davies, Tom Batars, Steve Magann, Chris Squire, Lee Irwin, Steve Hare, Hamish Wheatley, Glenn Kingston.

ETU Log of Claims

  • Scope of agreement to include all covered by current EBA
  • On call allowance increase
  • Mandatory 10 hour stand down when on call same as all other times
  • Pay Parity
  • 5% pa increase
  • Contractor clause tighten
  • Staff discount / salary sacrifice
  • No reduction of conditions
  • 48/52
  • Annualisation – control
  • Sick leave Accumulation scheme re introduction
  • Smart vehicles not for discipline
  • 1 hours leave in lieu for each day away from home
  • Inclusion of redundancy clause in agreement consistent with Endeavour etc
  • DSP fix up
  • On Call – what qualifications needed
  • C/C to be properly representative / no of delegates, regularity etc 
  • Reduction of days for permanent L/H’s
  • Extension of Salary maintenance to 3 years
  • If working EE day then toil @ penalty accumulation
  • ESRA for all EW’s & auxiliary trade members , eg meter readers etc
  • Strengthen working away from home re 3 star single accommodation
  • Time in lieu to be available in same pay period , no accumulation beyond 1 day toil
  • Incorporation of the crew coordinator allowance into the hourly rate

The ETU reserves the right to provide additional matters.

Asbestos and Negotiation Update

Katie Kidd - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ausgrid and the ETU are continuing to negotiate a “Heads of Agreement Asbestos Working Arrangements” document.

This document will  cover issues such as training, refresher training, a program for the removal of already identified friable asbestos, improved quality and accessibility of asbestos register, further auditing to identify asbestos containing materials and removal, ongoing use of “lung-bus’ and enhancement of health register and access to EAP.

The Delegates unanimously endorsed the following resolution –

“This delegates meeting endorses the formation of a subcommittee to continue to negotiate the tabled document through with Ausgrid management to a point where the ETU is satisfied  that the asbestos exposure risk mitigation training, PPE and programmed removal measures in place are adequate enough to dramatically reduce the risk to our members”.

Four Delegates were elected to form part of the subcommittee.

The ETU will continue to work with Ausgrid to progress emergency or customer critical jobs on a case by case basis. The ETU only agrees to this work going ahead where strict controls are put in place to ensure member safety.

The following ETU Delegates Resolution is still in place –

No opening or work on or near asbestos Meter Boards. Members should only respond to 
Emergency work (restoration of power) if they have been trained in asbestos awareness, 
trained in asbestos procedures and wear full asbestos PPE.

The following ETU Recommendation is still in place –

No Entry to any worksite where asbestos is suspected unless the member has been trained 
in asbestos awareness and procedures and full asbestos PPE.

To clarify training –

You need to have been trained within the last 12 month (within 2012) on Asbestos Awareness and Procedures. The refresher training Ausgrid rolled out in December 2012 was not agreed or accredited and does not count.

Networks NSW Secret Job Cuts

Katie Kidd - Monday, January 28, 2013

Leaked government documents show plans for massive job cuts in the state owned distribution companies. Please see attached documents below for further details.

Working In Heat

Katie Kidd - Saturday, January 05, 2013

ETU members should be aware of the dangers of working in heat. Please read this and follow the advice provided by the Union and Workcover NSW.
WorkCover NSW Hot and Cold Environments.
WorkCover NSW Working in Heat

Please read this ETU Notice to Members which includes advice from the union and the ETU's working in heat policy.