I write to you today as Secretary of the NSW Branch of the Electrical Trades Union.
Dave McKinley has decided to step down from his role as Secretary. At last night’s ETU State Council, I was unanimously endorsed as Branch Secretary of our great union. I am honored and privileged to be chosen to lead our union into the future.
After 28 years as an ETU member and official, I know many of you and I look forward to working had with you to improve the working conditions within our industry.
I entered the trade as an electrical apprentice at Tomago Aluminium in 1987. I served as an ETU delegate during some of the big industrial battles at the birth of enterprise bargaining.
In 2010 I became an ETU Organiser working out of Newcastle. In 2015 I was elected President of Hunter Workers. In 2016 I was elected ETU Assistant Secretary.
I’ve helped lead the union’s work across major sectors including Ausgrid, Essential Energy, generation and manufacturing. In 2017 I led our successful lobbying campaign to protect NSW electrical trades standards and security for apprentices.
Since my apprenticeship I’ve been proudly union. My commitment to the ETU and our members has never wavered.
My leadership team includes Ben Lister as ETU Assistant Secretary. Ben worked 15 years as an Ausgrid lineworker at West Gosford and was a delegate for most of that time. He was one of our key activists in the Your Rights at Work and Stop the Sell Off campaigns.
Since coming on board as an Organiser in 2014, Ben has worked with members in diverse industries including rail, manufacturing, distribution, solar, and construction and contracting. Ben is a skilled negotiator who was appointed a senior organiser in 2017.
Today we must build on the best traditions of the ETU while innovating for the challenges of the modern era. In recent years the ETU has embraced change in response to events such as the privatisation of the electricity sector. But we need to do more.
Under my leadership the ETU will deepen the Branch’s focus on growth. We must grow to build industrial and political power to achieve the best outcomes for all ETU members.
Our organising drive in construction and supply contracting has delivered strong early results. The ongoing success of these campaigns is essential to the future of the ETU, the integrity of our trade and the welfare of electrical workers everywhere.
I want to acknowledge and thank Dave McKinley for his many years of service to ETU members.
I look forward to working with you as we embrace the challenges ahead with optimism, courage, determination and unity.
Secretary ETU NSW
PS Please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Prohibition on Working On/Near Asbestos Contaminated Equipment
Members of the ETU have raised major concerns regarding the failure of Sydney Trains to remove asbestos from signalling equipment. Over a number of years these concerns have been raised with the company but no action has taken place. As Sydney Trains, and its predecessors, have refused to remove the asbestos they are placing members at risk.
Both the CSEE Track Circuit “SI Units” (with a Manufacture date of 1987 or older) and “J- Type” Impedance Bonds (Asbestos Fibre Hemp Seals with no identifying features) have been proved to contain friable asbestos.
Members are advised not to carry out any work or task on this equipment that involves disturbing, removing the cover of or exposing themselves to the components inside which may contain asbestos.
Do not certify as complete any task, TMP, SOI or the like that requires you to access or disturb these units unless a waiver has been granted by Signal Engineering that exempts you from exposing yourself or removing the cover on this equipment.
If any of these components are damaged by any means whereby the integrity of the equipment housing is compromised then treat the entire area as asbestos contaminated and advise both your manager and the Incident Hotline. Do not enter the area under any circumstances until it has been decontaminated by a specialist hygienist and deemed safe.
This working arrangement should continue until such time that Sydney Trains has safely removed the asbestos material contained in this equipment.
Should you have any questions please contact Anthony O’Sullivan on 0429 429 234.
Veteran ETU delegate Dave Colusso says every rail infrastructure worker should stop and check their pay slips.
The Gosford signal electrician has identified three Sydney Trains pay fails that may have affected hundreds of electrical workers.
ETU members who have been underpaid may be eligible for significant backpay.
Pay fail 1
20% annual leave loading for shift workers
The enterprise agreement says that shift workers are entitled to 20 percent annual leave loading, yet Dave found he was paid just 17.5 percent for four years. He received almost $1,000 backpay.
Dave says: ‘Check your payslip for your last annual leave taken. You will see a second, smaller payment listed. This is your leave loading. Calculate that rate as a percentage of your base hourly rate. It should be 20 percent if you work shifts.’
Pay fail 2
Standalone 4-hour callout payments
The EBA mandates that on-call employees receive a minimum 4-hour standalone payment for each and every callout. Call Out payments should be treated as a stand alone lump sum style payment. Sydney Trains should not be using rostered hours or any other payment to make up any part of this minimum payment.
Dave says: “Any worker paid less than the 4 hr minimum at the appropriate penalty for call outs is owed backpay by Sydney Trains.’
Pay fail 3
Standdown penalty rates mandated
Sydney Trains must provide at least an 8-hour break between shifts, whether rostered or overtime, for all employees. If an employee is directed back to work during these eight hours, they must be paid double time until they get their 8 hr break.
Dave says: ‘I believe Sydney Trains has breached the standdown penalty rates provision on multiple occasions. An employee who has been repeatedly underpaid in this way may be owed thousands of dollars backpay.’
Have you been underpaid? Contact your Payroll Hotline. If it is not resolved in a reasonable time frame then Contact your ETU delegate or organiser, or email Dave Colusso email@example.com