Electricity, Water and Utilities
Electricity, Water and Utilities
More than 2,600 Essential Energy workers will celebrate the New Year with a 2% pay rise.
The increase is the first of four now locked in after ETU members overwhelmingly approved their new enterprise agreement today.
More than 96 per cent of employees who voted gave the thumbs up to a 3.5 year EBA.
The deal will deliver total increases of between 7%-8.25% while maintaining all existing conditions.
ETU Assistant Secretary Justin Page welcomed the strong turnout and huge ‘yes’ vote.
‘This agreement delivers modest pay rises and job security without trading off the conditions we have,’ said Justin.
‘It was achieved without industrial action and is wrapped up before the current EBA expires.
‘That’s great news for our members at Essential Energy. No-one deserves a pay rise more than these workers.’
Justin thanked ETU delegates for negotiating the agreement.
‘This positive outcome is the result our delegates’ hard work and dedication. At depots across NSW, ETU delegates are the heart and soul of the union.
Ausgrid Protected Action Ballot
Members will this week receive ballot papers from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for the Ausgrid Agreement bargaining protected action vote. The ballot is open to all union members and is being conducted for us to have the legal right to take protected industrial action should thatbecome necessary.
Given that Christmas holidays are upon us it is critically important that all members exercise their vote immediately by ticking yes to all three categories of questions on the ballot paper and returning it via post or a workplace delegate;
- Fill in your ballot paper by ticking yes to all three questions.
- Put your ballot paper in the declaration envelope and seal it.
- Sign the voter’s declaration on the declaration envelope.
- Place the declaration envelope in to the reply-paid envelope and post it immediately.
If you are unable to get to a post box – give the sealed envelope to your work place delegate who will post it on your behalf.
Important: If ongoing discussions do not result in what we think is an acceptable package to put to delegates and members, then we must send Ausgrid a clear message that we mean business by taking protected industrial action. To achieve this - all members should vote yes to all the questions and return the ballot papers ASAP.
VOTING ON YOUR EBA CLOSES 5 PM THURSDAY
Don’t forget to have your say on the agreement which will set your wages and conditions until 2020.
The proposed EBA will deliver between 7%-8.25% in pay rises over 3.5 years – with the first 2% paid to you on New Year’s Day 2018.
All existing conditions have been maintained.
Vote in the electronic ballot using the password emailed to you.
Please find latest Ausgrid video update for instructions on completing the Ausgrid protected action ballot ASAP - which members will be receiving now.
Any questions please call Mark Buttigieg on 0417208447.
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.
Members will be mailed ballot papers next week for a vote to authorise protected industrial action – it is essential that all ETU members complete the ballot and vote ‘YES’ to every proposed action.
Only a strong majority ‘YES’ vote to every action will enable us to campaign effectively for an acceptable agreement, in the event that matters cannot be resolved in negotiations.
A clear, united “YES’ vote will send a powerful message to Ausgrid management that we are serious about achieving a fair outcome and will back our words with action, if required.
Your ETU negotiators will of course continue to do everything possible to achieve an acceptable result via negotiation. As I write this today, we have reached in-principle agreement on six items. However, two major issues remain outstanding.
Six items agreed in principle, but two key matters unresolved
Negotiations have continued this week with in principle agreement on the following major items:
Dispute Settlement Procedure Clause.
Redeployee incentive. On certification of the Agreement, for all redeployees a one off $75,000 incentive payment with a three-week acceptance period after which time the offer is withdrawn.
As at 1 July 2020 a cap of 250 on the number of redeployees that can be made forcibly redundant at the end of the job guarantee period. In other words, Ausgrid can make forcibly redundant up to 250 remaining redeployees as at 1 July 2020.
From 1 July 2020 an ongoing “global” annual cap of 250 to apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies.
An Annual Apprentice intake.
Remaining Major outstanding items
Career Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme. We are in the process of making sure that any discrepancy between the current skills structure pay rates and the proposed CCR pay rates does not result in any structural long term pay disadvantages as people progress through their career. The nature of how that progression through a career is determined, is also being negotiated.
Pay Rise: Ausgrid’s position remains; 2.5% year 1 plus a one off $1,000 sign on bonus, 2.5% in year 2 and 2% in year 3 (contingent on agreeing to the CCR). The ETU’s position remains 3% per annum, this is not unreasonable given the three to four year wage freeze.
The Protected Action Ballot Timetable
The Fair Work Commission has approved the conducting of a ballot of members for the right to take protected industrial action. We expect ballot papers to begin arriving at members addresses from Monday 11 December.
It is critical that on receiving the ballot papers that all members vote and return the ballots as soon as they receive the ballot papers.
Please ensure that you register a yes vote to all the questions so that the ballot result is effective. Members can either post back the ballot or give them back to their local workplace delegate who will post them.
While we continue to negotiate with Ausgrid on the outstanding matters outlined above, it is important for members to understand that these matters are part of a total package. If we are unable to resolve the outstanding issues, then we will proceed to a concerted industrial and political campaign to achieve an outcome which is acceptable to members.
0417 208 447 / email@example.com
The combined unions continue to edge closer to an agreement with discussions continuing around annual pay increases in the new agreement and the proposed career progression structure, excluding these two items the ETU believes we are moving closer to an agreement providing these items can be resolved.
The application for protected industrial action has been lodged with the Fair Work Commission and we await a response and order permitting this action - this course of action will be pursued if necessary and we will keep members updated. Below is a video update from ETU Organiser Mark Buttigieg.
In two days of extensive meetings this week between union officials, the broader negotiating committee and Ausgrid management, in principle agreement has been reached in three out of the six areas of major contention;
Consultation Clause; Is almost to the point where the draft wording is agreed on.
Dispute Settlement Procedure Clause; Is almost to the point where the draft wording is agreed on.
Contracting Out Clause; Drafting of this clause is yet to be completed but the principles of that clause are agreed on.
While some progress has been made in areas 4. and 5. below, there is still a significant amount of work to do to bring the two positions closer together;
A post 1 July 2020 “global” redundancy cap which would apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies and a credible mechanism to prevent Ausgrid “stockpiling” redeployees prior to 1 July 2020.
Career Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme. There are issues to be resolved pertaining to future career progression pay rates, consultation provisions for any significant reduction in numbers of each band required within each work group and the consultative mechanism for determining how people would be judged to have “met” or “exceeded” expectations.
Pay Rise; Ausgrid’s position remains; 2.5% year 1 with 2% in years 2 and 2% in year 3 (contingent on agreeing on CCR). The ETU’s position remains 3% per annum.
In the meantime, an application was today lodged with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for the right to ballot our members for protected industrial action. Whilst we are hopeful more progress will be made next week in schedule negotiations, members should be under no illusion about our resolve to push ahead with a full scale industrial and political campaign should we not be able to reach agreement on the above issues.
Join us 11.30am Thursday 16 November - Belmore Park, Sydney (near Central Station).
On Tuesday this week the combined union officials attended another meeting with Ausgrid management to work on progressing the agreement. The results of that meeting and the two prior ones were reported to the negotiating committee the next day. The following points represent areas where we believe significant progress has been made.
A Forced Redundancy provision applying from after 1 July 2020 (the end of the job protection legislation) with a Year 1 “global” cap (would apply to both voluntary and forced redundancies) of 300. Exercising of a redundancy program would be conditional on implementing a thorough Voluntary Redundancy EOI program first. If for example 150 people chose to exit the business voluntarily, Ausgrid would only be able to make forcibly redundant 150 in year 1.
A contracting out clause which retains the current clause provisions but with the addition of an oversight committee to have input into Ausgrid’s preferred contractor panel selection.
A Dispute Settlement Procedure which retains the current status quo provisions. There is still debate over how and when status quo would apply.
A Consultation clause which has a criterion of triggering rigorous consultation when the proposed change can be shown to have a significant effect on employees.
A Career, Capability and Remuneration (CCR) scheme which objectively recognizes skills and performance. There is still significant work to do in this area. The CCR negotiating subcommittee will reconvene next week to continue work on it in a bid to improve the outcomes for employees.
A Three-year agreement. i.e. nominal expiry 3 years after the Agreement is certified by FWC.
Major outstanding issues include:
In the pre-job guarantee period (i.e. pre-1 July 2020) Ausgrid’s proposition is that there would be no limit to how many people Ausgrid can make redeployed. This is unacceptable because it would allow Ausgrid to stock-pile redeployees in anticipation of the 1 July 2020 date then exit these redeployees that would not count to the 300-year 1 cap.
Ausgrid’s desire to be able to direct redeployees in to what we say is non-meaningful work.
The cap that is to apply in years 2 and 3 after 1 July 2020.
Pay Rise – Ausgrid’s position is 2.5%, 2 %, 2% with no back pay. Combined unions position is 3%, 3% 3% with some back pay.
Further negotiating meetings are scheduled for next week when we will have further updates.
0417 208 447 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- 96 PER CENT ‘YES’VOTE FOR ESSENTIAL ENERGY EBA
- NOTICE TO MEMBERS - 13 December
- ESSENTIAL MEMBERS: HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE EBA BY 5 PM THURSDAY
- Ausgrid protected action ballot
- Four Year Transgrid EBA Protects and Improves Conditions
- Ausgrid Update - 30 November
- Ausgrid EBA Update - 23 November
- Ausgrid EBA Update - 17 November
- Change the Rules Rally - 16 November
- Ausgrid EBA Update - 10 November
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