Rail, Aviation and Transport

Rail, Aviation and Transport

Electrical Licence Update

Paul Lister - Monday, August 26, 2013

The CEPU has raised serious concerns over proposed changes to electrical licenses with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

After hearing the CEPU's concerns the PM has written to the union and advised that his Government will not agree to any National Occupational Licensing reform that dilutes existing electrical, plumbing, mechanical, refrigeration, or fire protection services licenses that may compromise community safety and consumer protection.

In his letter Prime Minister Rudd goes on to say that the Government will only proceed with there is agreement reached with all stake holders including the CEPU, employer associations and industry skills councils.

You can read the full letter here.

Product Recall - Faulty Electrical Cables

Paul Lister - Monday, August 26, 2013

NSW Fair Trading has negotiated with the Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd for the recall of three batches of *Infinity* brand insulated electrical cables. The cables are Thermoplastic Sheathed electric cable - commonly known as TPS.

The specific cable is 2.5mm "Polymeric Insulated Electrical Cable which is PVC Sheathed, PVC Insulated, Flat and Flexible Low Voltage Electrical Cable" also commonly known as "TPS 2.5mm Twin and Earth" (ThermoPlastic Sheathed Electrical Cable, active, neutral and earth). The batch numbers being recalled are INFH 190311, INFH 210912 and INFMEL 081112.

The cables that are the subject of the recall have been subjected to laboratory testing commissioned by NSW Fair Trading and conducted by TUV Rheinland in Victoria. The sample submitted for testing by NSW Fair Trading failed the commissioned tests against AS/NZ 5000.2:2006 and relevant parts of AS/NZ 3808. The testing failure indicates that the plastic coating insulation on the cable can become brittle when exposed to high temperatures over time whether through exposure to heat generated by the copper wire itself or through exposure to external heat such as if it is used in the roof of homes in warmer parts of NSW.

Information provided to Fair Trading is that the product has been stocked in NSW for about one year.  NSW Fair Trading has been in contact with electrical safety regulators around Australia and advised them of the concerns regarding this cable. NSW Fair Trading believes that the cable may also be sold in other States and Territories. Fair Trading has no information that any incidents or injuries to people or property has resulted from the cable. However, given the cable batches have failed essential safety tests the recall is needed to prevent possible future problems.  

The company is publishing recall notices in newspapers and writing to everyone they have sold the cable to requesting them to return the recalled batches of cable to the place of sale.The company has agreed to provide information to Fair Trading concerning the importation and sale of the recalled batches of cable and to provide ongoing reports to Fair Trading of the recall and disposal of the affected cables.

Fair Trading will be issuing a media release regarding the recall in addition to the company*s own recall notices. Our advice will of course be that consumers should not try to inspect the cable and that any work on wiring or cable should only be done by licensed electricians. We will also recommend to consumers that if they have recently had building work done, or wiring changed or installed, they should contact the responsible builder or electrician for advice on whether the recalled cable was used. If it was, we will recommend that they talk to the builder or electrician about getting the cable inspected and replaced.

It would be appreciated if you could make your members and stakeholders aware of this recall through your own communication channels and networks. The formal information that you could direct people towards will be on the Fair Trading website www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

Consultation Roadshow Major Works (Renewals) Division

Paul Lister - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ETU members working at Sydney Trains/NSW Trains in the Major Works (Renewals) division should view the attached timetable outlining road show details commencing 22 July 2013.

Asbestos in the Rail Industry

Paul Lister - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Members would be aware that the ETU has had an ongoing campaign for the eradication of asbestos across all industries.

The Union has also agitated for proper training delivery to our members that have the possibility of encountering asbestos in the workplace.

Following ongoing representations to Sydney Trains the ETU can advise all members they will receive Asbestos Awareness Training in the not to distant future. This was confirmed when the ETU met with Mr Gavin Campbell from Sydney Trains last week.

The union is of the view this training must be delivered as a face to face course and not as an online training module, any plans to role out training online will be opposed by the ETU.

In the meantime we remind all members that they should not work with any asbestos containing material unless they have the appropriate qualifications and approved Personal Protective Equipment.

The training will be provided to all employees regardless of any previous asbestos training.

Roads & Maritime Services Asbestos Update

Paul Lister - Thursday, June 27, 2013

Further to our notice of 4 June, the ETU has meet with the Group General Manager of Work Health Safety and Group General Manager Fleet Services regarding the issue of Asbestos located at worksites within the RMS traffic signals and bridge services divisions.

RMS have confirmed to the union that there is currently no centralised asbestos register that covers traffic signals. Failure to have such a register is a serious breach of section 425 of the WHS regulations which require RMS to maintain such a register.

The ETU considers this to be extremely serious and we have notified RMS that should this issues not be resolved that the union will consider all legal and industrial options.

RMS has advised the ETU that while a central register does not currently exist they do have some local asbestos registers located at RMS properties and Bridge sites.

In addition to the lack of a centralised asbestos register, RMS have also failed to provide the necessary asbestos identification and handling training to their employees which is unacceptable.

In light of this very serious situation the ETU has requested that RMS notify the union in writing that they agree to the following points:

  • Immediately conduct an organisation wide audit on the location of asbestos and create a centralised asbestos register in accordance with their obligations under Law.
  • Immediately deliver acceptable face to face training on the identification and handling of asbestos to all employees that may reasonable come into contact with asbestos in their ordinary work environments.
  • Provide all employees with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, that being a P2 mask or better, asbestos proof disposable overalls, gloves and shoe coverings and protective eye wear.
  • Introduce a health monitoring program for RMS staff in the traffic signals and bridge services divisions to be conducted by the NSW Dust Diseases Board Lung Bus.

Until the above has been agreed to and implemented the ETU instructs all members not to work on or near what may be consider as asbestos containing material.

If any member is unsure or has any questions they should contact their workplace delegate or ETU organiser for further information. Once the union has heard from RMS in writing we will provide a further update to members on the ongoing nature of the above work restrictions.

CEPU/ETU 2012 Financial Accounts

Paul Lister - Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Work Registered Organisation Act 2009 and the Industrial Relations Act 1996 the CEPU NSW Branch and ETU NSW Branch has made available to members the complete financial reports and associated documents for 2012.

By law the CEPU must provide a copy of their financial report free of charge to members, this can be downloaded here.

Free Training for ETU Members

Paul Lister - Thursday, June 13, 2013

ETU members are invited to participate in the following training courses and events, open to all members and free of charge. We hope you find something of interest.

Public Speaking: Saturday 15th June 
Learn techniques that will give you confidence when introducing yourself or delivering a persuasive speech. Register online

Public Sector Workers: Tuesday 18th June
Join the community unions network to meet other workers confronted with the same challenges and discuss ideas for combined union activities. Details

Workers Comp Day:
Wednesday 19th June
‘Fair Go for Workers Compensation Day’ to highlight the NSW Government’s attack on injured workers.  Flyers and surveys

Cumberland Community Unions:
Wednesday 19th June
Come along to the official launch of a new community unions group for Smithfield and Fairfield areas of Western Sydney. RSVPs and details

Bullying and Workers Comp - basics: Friday 21st June
This training will enable organisers and delegates to:
Session 1. Give simple advice on the job about NSW Workers Comp.
Session 2.  Use new Anti-Bullying and Harassment Laws as a tool to make workplaces safer. Register for either or both sessions

Roads & Maritime Services Asbestos Warning

Paul Lister - Tuesday, June 04, 2013

It has come to the Unions attention that members are being exposed to asbestos at some RMS traffic signal  sites. Members must understand that asbestos in the workplace is a serious safety issue.

As a result the following actions should be undertaken;

Asbestos Containing Material used in the any RMS site should be removed ASAP.

  • The Electrical Trades Union recognises that removal of asbestos will take some time and during the intervening period the ETU believe that all employees who are required to work on or near any Asbestos Containing Material be provided, as a minimum, the following protections;
    Agreed face to face asbestos information, accredited training and instruction that is suitable and adequate and that it is provided in a way that is readily understood by all persons to whom it is provided and that the training is refreshed on an annual basis.
  • Agreed face to face procedural training, that is suitable and adequate and that is provided in a way that is readily understood by all persons to whom it is provided and that the training is refreshed on a needs basis, where employees are required to work on or near Asbestos Containing Material.
  • P2 face mask or better and disposable asbestos proof overalls when working on or near Asbestos Containing Material.
  • Agreed Safe Work Method Statements for working on or near Asbestos Containing Material.

The Electrical Trades Union will continue to campaign around this issue to ensure members are not exposed to asbestos material.

ETU Social Media

Paul Lister - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Be sure to visit out the ETU on FacebookTwitter and YouTube for regular updates while you are there check out some of our photos and videos.

Biennial Conference, New Website & Scholarships

Paul Lister - Friday, May 24, 2013

Earlier this week our union held its biennial conference in Wollongong where a number of important matters were discussed. 120 delegates from across NSW and the ACT had the opportunity to raise issues, debate matters and adopt policy positions that impact on CEPU/ETU members.

A more comprehensive conference report will appear in the next LiveWire but some of the items covered at conference included:

  • Superannuation.
  • OH&S matters including safety committees, cross industry safety matters, communication, asbestos safety, changes to Workers Compensation and the possible provision of defibrillators in some industries.
  • Industrial and legal matters including how ETU members can access the services of NEW Law when making a workers compensation claim.
  • National Licensing and the national apprentice wage case.
  • Improvements to union communications including social media and the launch of a new & improved website; and
  • Improvements to ETU membership such as Journey Cover Insurance.

These items were discussed over a period of three days and the input from delegates was very much appreciated. It is the effort of our delegates that often goes un-noticed and without thanks, so I would like to say a big thank you to those members that take on the role of delegate in order to represent your colleagues, without you our union would not be as strong as it is.


As mentioned the union has launched a new website. Our last website was launched in 2009 and was in need of an overhaul. The union had four objectives in this overhaul including – introducing the ability for new members to join the union and pay online, simplify the layout and navigation, provide relevant and real time information and incorporate our social media accounts with the website.

Members will also now be able to request an electronic copy of their agreement through the website and access news, updates and notices relevant to your workplace and industry through the new industry groupings on the home page.

I encourage all members to have a look at the new website (www.etunsw.com.au) and we will continue to look at ways to improve interaction with members online.


One of the benefits of ETU membership is access to our annual education scholarships for members, their children and grandchildren. Nominations for this year close at the end of June so I encourage all members, your children or grandchildren that are studying at diploma level or high to submit an application.

We will be awarding six scholarships each worth $2,000 to assist with education expenses. You can read more about the ETU Education Scholarships here.