General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

General Trade, Mining and Manufacturing

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY REMAINS IN INTENSIVE CARE

- Friday, August 26, 2016

A snap shot of the current status of Manufacturing in NSW would reveal some manufacturing industries are doing reasonably well in our competitive environment, these manufacturers are predominantly supporting the building and construction development both Commercial and Domestic.

Other manufacturers  in Food and Beverage Equipment and Service are facing takeovers, selloffs and mergers usually making workers Redundant.

The overwhelming majority of manufacturing employers are surviving on marginal financial bottom lines bringing in to question their ability to provide future jobs , train new employees and engage apprentices.

Wage increases have been slowing and in many instances members are experiencing no increases while their Senior Management staff experience large Bonuses for cutting costs including cutting staff.

Members should be very much aware of tactics being adopted by Employers during negotiations of their Enterprise Agreements whereby, to get your job performed at a cheaper rate in the future they  are offering members’ wage increases if they accept a new set of pay rates and conditions for new starters.

This results in current members having their rates ‘grandfathered’ and the lower rates will apply to all new starters resulting in two class of workers doing the same work for different rates of pay.

This is selling out our childrens future by trading good wages and conditions for a wage increase.

Members should be wary of this approach to bargaining and contact your Organiser in the event this occurs.

It is now becoming all too common.

Manufacturing continues to barely survive without Government support or Protection and for now remains in Intensive Care.

ETU NSW throws financial support behind sacked CUB workers

- Friday, August 19, 2016

The NSW Branch of the ETU/CEP has donated $10,000 towards the fighting fund to support the 55 sacked CUB workers in Melbourne who are members of the ETU and the AMWU.

On top of this NSW construction industry members chipped in a further $2,000 out of their own pocket while an AMWU/ETU fundraiser last Wednesday night saw another $5,000 raised bringing the total to almost $20,000.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that the actions of CUB were un-Australian which is a far reach from a company that trades so heavily on what it is to be an Australian.

“As an act of solidarity these funds will be provided to help support the effected workers and assist their campaign for full re-instatement” said NSW Secretary Steve Butler.

“This is what being union is all about, standing united and supporting each other in times of need.”

“I have personally visited the picket line in Melbourne and I have meet these workers and understand what they are going through as a result of this bastard act from their employer.”

“I am proud of our membership in NSW for stepping up to the plate to support our brothers and sisters in Victoria during this dispute.” said Steve.

“I encourage all members, their families and friends to consider supporting other brands when next visiting the local bottle shop.” Steve said

CUB Fundraiser - Wednesday 17 August

- Monday, August 15, 2016

ETU NSW Supports Sacked CUB Workers

- Thursday, August 11, 2016

ETU welcomes leadership on steel

- Thursday, June 16, 2016

The ETU representing more than 70,000 people working in high-skill blue-collar trades has welcomed the news that a Labor government will invest in Australian steel.

The announcement of a joint investment in a $150 million steel reserve between federal labor and the South Australian governments demonstrated a realistic and credible plan for Australian steel, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) national industrial officer Matt Murphy said on Thursday.

Mr Murphy said that the announcement would help troubled South Australian steelmaker Arrium weather the current steel glut and return to health.

“Arrium has been teetering on the edge of a financial cliff for months, and if it falls it takes thousands of Australian steel and manufacturing jobs with it,” he said.

“It’s testament to the co-operative efforts of working people, administrators and creditors that we have kept the company alive, but we need credible long-term leadership from government. Until today it has been absent.”

Mr Murphy called on the federal government to match the ALP’s commitment.

“It’s beyond ideology at this point – people’s livelihoods are at stake. Malcolm Turnbull knows a good idea when he sees it, and one has been put in front of him.”

“It’s time for the government of Australia to support its steel industry the same way our major trading partners do.”

“Anything less from Turnbull represents a failure of leadership. It’s time to show that the government’s commitment to industry extends beyond slipping on a hi-vis for photo ops.” 

Update for ETU members at Arrium

- Monday, April 18, 2016

During the past week there have been a number of developments in the Arrium administration process that you should be informed of.

Unions and other creditors have elected to appoint KordaMentha as the company’s administrator. KordaMentha has a strong history of working constructively with unions and securing worker entitlements in situations such as this. We are confident that we will be able to reach the best possible outcome working with them.

The ETU and other unions are representing 6600 workers at 181 sites around Australia. We are determined to engage in a process that focuses on the preservation of jobs, of value, and of Arrium as a going concern – we don’t want the company to be propped up only to fall over again in six months.

We will ensure that there is money to cover all outstanding entitlements – employees of the company have priority over other unsecured creditors in this situation. The banks are locked in and are not allowed to sell their debt.

At this stage there are no redundancies or job cuts planned as part of the administration process.

We are meeting regularly with other creditors and will provide updates throughout the administration process.

We encourage members who have not appointed the ETU as their proxy for the administration process and wish to do so to obtain a proxy form from the local administrator representative and complete it in consultation with your local organiser for forwarding to the national office of the ETU.

Questions may be directed to Justin Page - justinp@etunsw.asn.au / 0414 877 301. 

Apprentice numbers down as Liberals & Nationals gut TAFE

- Friday, March 04, 2016

The ETU is seriously concerned at the latest figures which show the number of people undertaking an apprenticeship - including in the electrical trades - has plummeted.

Shadow Minister for Skill's David Harris pointed out today that the number of apprenticeships being undertaking in September last year was 82,600 down from 146,200 in 2010.

This drop of almost 50% in five years is alarming. At the same time the ETU has witnessed a reduction in the quality of trade outcomes following the implementation of "Smart & Skilled" which has financially gutted the TAFE system and reduced face to face training time.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said that this is a worrying trend which is not reversed will have severe consequences for all trades right across NSW.

"We have had feedback from many employers saying that the quality of apprentice training has dropped significantly." Steve said.

"On the job employers are seeing a drop off in the skills of apprentices particularly around competency and safety."

"The ETU has commissioned research into trade outcomes to help identify the problem and how it may be addressed."

"We have already started talking to MPs about changes and we will have more to say on this front later this month." said Steve.

Serious Safety Concerns at Visy Tumut

- Thursday, February 25, 2016

In October and November last year the Visy paper mill located in Tumut underwent is annual shutdown to facilitate major maintenance and upgrade work. During this period an increased number of contractors attended the site to undertake work around control systems, wiring, switchgear and other electrical work.

The shutdown was marred by multitude of safety problems and other issues. The ETU had concerns relating to fatigue as electricians were required to work 12 hour shifts while commuting long distances, in some cases more than 100 kilometres each direction.

The first day of the shutdown saw a major incident when a large section of roofing collapsed. The ETU was astounded by Visy managements response after they simply said “lucky no one was there”. If only this was true! At least one worker had to dive under a table to escape the falling roof section measuring 40 meters by 15 meters. The ETU understands that there were at least 5 or 6 workers onsite and in the vicinity.

A list of other safety incidents at the Visy site include:

  • Two Electric Shock incidents with one resulting in a 4th year apprentice being hospitalised.
  • Crane Rollover outside the perimeter of the site with Rural Fire Service, Police and Ambulances responding.
  • Two switch rooms infiltrated by water resulting in explosions and the need to rebuild them.
  • A worker suffered burns from caustic or acid solutions during the replacement of control gear.
  • Repeated sounding of Gas Alarms at the site.
  • Delay in allowing ETU officials to immediately enter the site under WH&S right of entry – the company delayed entry by two and a half hours.
  • Excessive hours with some EBAs including a minimum of 12 hours per day for 6/7 days straight.

The ETU also has concerns that union members maybe being targeted by management after the company made changes to individual staff working conditions after safety concerns were raised and complaints were made.

The ETU is continuing to monitor the Visy site closely while providing members with industrial support.

Extreme Heat Forcast for NSW

- Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.

All members must be aware of the dangers of heat stress and familiarise themselves with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy and the WorkCover code of practice for managing the work environment.

In summary ETU members should observe the following as a minimum but individuals should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation: 

             
TEMPRETURE
DETAILS
0-28C

Continuous work with normal breaks.

28-38C

Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.

38C+

Mandatory - stop work - do individual (Personal) risk assessment and determine if work is to continue, that work undertaken to be limited to fault and emergency or finalisation of current work (No New Work).

 

Please use these links to access a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat policy (2003)Workcover NSW’s website with details about working in heat and the Bureau of Meteorology for current weather forecasts (click on the map for your local forecast).

Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.

ETU secures real wage growth for members working at Silanna and Parmalat

- Thursday, December 03, 2015

ETU members working for Silanna – a Sydney based manufacturing company producing computer components – yesterday sealed a new workplace agreement delivering a 9% wage increase over three years and increases to compassionate leave entitlements and no trade off’s.

ETU Organiser Ben Lister said that members had set their sights on a 5% annual increase but said the final outcome was an excellent result given the state of the manufacturing sector in Sydney and across the state.

“Wages growth in the private sector for the past year was 2.2 per cent which goes to show the deal secured by the ETU for our members at Silanna is a great result.” Ben said.

“The manufacturing sector is under pressure and in some places like the steel industry and food manufacturing ETU members have been forced to choose between job cuts or total plant closure, let alone even considering wage increases.”

On another front ETU members working for Parmalat – a major milk producer – will be voting in the next week on a new agreement that will deliver annual increases of 3.25% over a four year agreement delivering total wage increases of 13% for ETU members.

In addition to the healthy pay rise ETU members also secured clauses meaning part-time and casual workers will be offered permanent roles after a six month period, a commitment to engage electrical apprentices and include apprentice rates in the agreement, introduction of a new classification structure and grandfather clause meaning no worker will be disadvantaged and strengthening the existing consultation clause and union delegates charter.

Outside of the agreement Parmalat have also committed to investing in mechanical and electrical workshop upgrades which will improve working conditions for ETU members.

“Negotiations at Parmalat were efficient, mature and constructive with the employer listening to the concerns of workers and offering a fair outcome.” Ben said.

“With CPI currently running at 2.1 percent the outcome at Parmalat delivers real wage growth for ETU members of more than 1.1 per cent every year – this is a really good outcome at a time when redundancies are becoming the norm.” said Ben.

"While we may not have secured every single thing our members wanted when you look at the health of the manufacturing sector and national wage growth ETU members have done bloody well." finished Ben. 

ETU members working at Parmalat will vote over the next week on the proposed agreement with the ETU encouraging members to support the deal.