Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

ETU Safety Ban on Removal of Bats Conditionally Lifted

Peter Moss - Friday, October 12, 2018

NOTICE TO MEMBERS


​​​​​12 October 2018

CONDITIONAL LIFTING OF ETU SAFETY BAN ON REMOVAL OF BATS

Members will recall that there is currently a ban on the removal of all bats from overhead mains due to inadequate procedures Ausgrid had in place at the time which did not cater for member safety as the No.1. priority.

ETU O/H delegates and I have met with Ausgrid several times over the past few months in a bid to come up with a safe and workable solution on the process for removal of bats from overhead power lines. Our two main issue have always been that members had not been vaccinated and had not been properly trained in a safe procedure.

Together with Ausgrid, our delegates have come up with a safe procedure which requires 3 people, and which has now been rolled out in tool box talks to all affected work groups.

As a result, the work ban on removal of all dead and alive bats is now lifted and members may now remove the bats so long as the three-person method is employed. If you have not received instruction on this method, then do not perform the removal until you have.

If members do not utilise the 3-person method for bat removal, they are placing themselves at risk and not only breaking a union ban but also Ausgrid policy. In such circumstances the union will not be able to defend any disciplinary action arising out of the use of alternative methods.

Ausgrid are also now offering to vaccinate anyone who wishes to be vaccinated and it is our view that people who are vaccinated should be used as a priority by Ausgrid for any bat removals as this is the best way of eliminating the risk.

In unity,

Mark Buttigieg - ETU organiser
041720447

Notice to members: Essential Energy Drug & Alcohol Policy Consultation

Peter Moss - Thursday, September 27, 2018
Members
Essential Energy yesterday announced the company is commencing consultation to update the Drug & Alcohol Policy. CEO John Cleland had the courtesy to inform the ETU last week that they intended to issue a broadcast yesterday announcing the commencement of employee consultation. To date the ETU has as much information as you have received.
Today I requested John convene a face-to-face meeting of all unions to discuss and hopefully agree on a consultation process going forward. As you would be aware, Drug & Alcohol Policies have a long history in the NSW distribution industry including disputation and many court proceedings.
In the ETU’s view, the lack of genuine proper consultation played a significant part in that disputation. I have outlined to John that Essential does not have the best track record on effective consultation and it needs to improve.
At the outset I note the ETU supports proper WH&S Procedures in the workplace, but it needs to be more than words in polices. There is genuine scope for improvement in WH&S but it needs to be backed up by proper training delivered by experts and with ongoing support.
To just say others are doing it, so we should won’t cut it. Essential have not demonstrated that the current system is not adequate. Drug and Alcohol use has many underlying factors that need to be considered. The ETU will ensure that any consultation needs to consider initiatives that go beyond testing.
High-risk industries do have different testing regimes but they also have adapted and implemented initiatives beyond testing. Initiatives that genuinely support and train employees on Drug and Alcohol, Mental Health, impairment and fatigue backed up by proper training and ongoing support from experts in each field.
Essential can certainly improve in all of these areas and we will ensure they are addressed as part of this consultation process.

Justin Page
Assistant Secretary
ETU NSW

DELEGATE’S CAMPAIGN NETS $3 MILLION BACKPAY

Peter Moss - Thursday, September 20, 2018
Ausgrid has backpaid an estimated $3 million to around 300 tradespeople after union action led by ETU delegate Jamie Baker.

The backpay rectifies underpayments to ETU members forced onto rolling short-term contracts between 2014 and 2016. The contracts and a skills assessment missed by Ausgrid saw workers paid less than EBA rates.

With assistance from ETU organisers, Jamie built a winning case for backpay.

The outcome was payments averaging $10,000 for affected lineworkers, electricians and cable jointers.

Jamie, a lineworker at Oatley depot, said the episode demonstrates the value of union membership.


‘Credit to Ausgrid for doing the right thing in the end, but it was ETU support that got us there’

ETU SAFETY BAN ON ALL WORK RELATING TO Post “A” PRIVATE POLES

Bruce Fan - Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Last week ETU overhead delegates from across Ausgrid met with management in a bid to come up with a safer system of work to deal with the workplace hazard of Post A (private) poles. The result of that meeting was a modified tool box talk which addresses our outstanding concerns and covers the new procedure as well as the introduction of an iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template created to enable a proper hazard assessment of Post A Poles. The ETU through our delegates is now satisfied that these two processes if followed correctly, will control the hazard. As a result of these improvements agreed to by Ausgrid; The Safety Ban on working on Post A Poles is now lifted subject to the following;

  1. Work can only occur on Post A pole after you have received the latest tool box talk and the associated instructions and understood them.
  2. The iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template must be used by all staff to assess the condition of private A poles prior to commencing work.

The meeting last week also discussed longer term solutions to problems identified which need to be developed including;

  • Improved Training requirements, scheduling and methods for delivery of training (classroom or in field)
  • Pre-inspection of poles during the planning phase
  • An on-going review and monitoring of Field Services A Pole inspection template (work instruction) on iAuditor

 

The ETU and Ausgrid have also committed to discuss private A pole specifications with members of the appropriate regulatory committees that are responsible for making representation on Ausgrid's behalf for asset issues affecting NSW Service and Installation Rules and application Australian Standards. These discussions will include making representations for the standards to insist on private poles being made of a material which is not subject to the corrosion that a steel pole is.

Mark Buttigieg

ETU Organiser

0417 208 447

Launch of ETU Active for ETU Honorary Members

Peter Moss - Thursday, August 09, 2018

ETU SAFETY BAN ON ALL WORK RELATING TO Post “A” REMAINS IN PLACE

Bruce Fan - Monday, August 06, 2018

UPDATE 4.30PM: POST A PRIVATE POLES.

Paul Lister - Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Following urgent discussions with Ausgrid management this afternoon the ETU has agreed that work on Post A private poles can only proceed where an elevated work platform (EWP) is used. In circumstances where an EWP is used to perform work on Post A private poles all Ausgrid procedures relating to work on Post A private poles should be followed.

THE BAN ON CLIMBING POST A PRIVATE POLES REMAINS IN PLACE AND NO ETU MEMBERS SHOULD CLIMB POST A PRIVATE POLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

If any members have doubts, questions or concerns relating to the use of EWP’s for Post A private pole work or the climbing ban you should immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser Anthony O’Sullivan (0429 429 234).

In unity,
Anthony O’Sullivan
ETU Organiser

IMMEDIATE WORK BAN ON ALL POST A PRIVATE POLES

Paul Lister - Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The ETU has been made aware of an incident that occurred yesterday where a Post A private pole collapsed whilst an Ausgrid employee was climbing the pole. This incident has resulted in the hospitalisation of the employee.

The union has always opposed the climbing of Post A poles due to the uncertainty of their installation and the inability to fully test the poles integrity. For that reason the ETU has moved this morning to ban all work on Post A private poles until an investigation has been undertaken and corrective action agreed to.

If any members have doubts, questions or concerns relating to this work ban you should immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser Anthony O’Sullivan (0429 429 234).

In unity, 
Anthony O’Sullivan
ETU Organiser

Notice To Members 25 June 2018

Bruce Fan - Monday, June 25, 2018

ETU Youth Meeting - June 14

Paul Lister - Monday, June 04, 2018

Come and join us on Thursday 14 June for pizza and beer and to talk about issues affecting electrical apprentices in the work place.

Come along and meet Tara Koot, the ETU's apprentice officer, have your say and meet other like minded electrical apprentices.