ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

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A hard earned thirst needs a secure, properly paid job NSW Unions back CUB campaign

- Friday, August 12, 2016

Unions NSW, Electrical Trades Union and AMWU activists will today hit the streets in a leafleting blitz to call on NSW residents to reconsider purchasing Carlton and United Breweries products.

The company terminated the jobs of 54 electricians and fitters last month, before inviting them to reapply for their jobs with a 65 per cent pay cut.

Union-busting labour is now being bused into the facility on a daily basis.

"CUB has built its brand on blue collar sweat, but today it is leaving a very bitter aftertaste. To turn its back on its unionised workforce is deep treachery," said Dave McKinley, ETU Assistant Secretary.

"Today, we are returning serve. We are calling on trade union members across NSW to reconsider supporting all CUB brands, including VB."

AMWU State Secretary, Tim Ayres, endorsed the call. "CUB's behaviour in Melbourne is despicable. You can't extol Australian workers in your ads while sacking workers in your factory. This company is completely disingenuous.”

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said the entire NSW trade union movement was behind the campaign.

"This action has the backing of the entire NSW trade union movement. We will use every means at our disposal to hold CUB to account."

Union raises safety concerns after electrical worker dies following fall from ladder on Sydney construction site

- Monday, July 27, 2015

A 62 year old electrical worker has died in hospital of his injuries just days after falling from an extension ladder while working on a construction site in Kensington Street, Chippendale.

The Electrical Trades Union said building work on the site had stopped following the worker’s fall on Wednesday afternoon, with WorkCover NSW issuing prohibition notices in relation to all ladders on the site.

The injured man suffered serious head injuries when he struck the ground, and despite being transported to hospital he later passed away.

ETU spokesman Dave McKinley said union officials had visited the site on at least two occasions prior to the fatal fall, raising a range of safety concerns including in relation to work at heights.

Mr McKinley said that while the deceased man was employed through a labour hire company, workplace health and safety legislation places the ultimate duty of care for providing a safe working environment on builder Rapid Construction and principal electrical contractor Ozlect Electrical.

“From our initial investigations, it appears there have been multiple safety breaches on this construction site that may have directly contributed to this man’s tragic death,” he said.

“Despite previous visits by union officials who highlighted serious safety concerns, including in relation to work carried out at heights, there appears to have been no safe work method statements in place and faulty equipment, including ladders, in use.

“Investigations are ongoing, however a site-wide safety audit conducted following this accident revealed what appear to be systemic failures to implement safe systems of work.

“All work on the project has halted, and safety regulator WorkCover NSW has issued prohibition notices in relation to all ladders on site.

“There are serious questions that still need to be answered by the builder and electrical contractor to explain how this tragic accident was able to occur.

“It is shocking that dozens of workers still die on Australian construction sites every year due to accidents that are easily avoidable if safe work practices are made a priority.”

ETU NSW response to Trade Union Royal Commission

- Monday, April 27, 2015

The Electrical Trades Union has pledged to respond to all matters scheduled to be heard at the Trade Union Royal Commission over the coming fortnight in a transparent and professional manner.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said the matters being reviewed by the Royal Commission largely preceded his election as State Secretary in 2012, and that he had commissioned transparent reviews of the matters on taking office.

“The Trade Union Royal Commission intends to investigate an investment made by the NSW branch of the Electrical Trades Union almost five years ago, which involved a commercial loan to the NSW Labor Party,” Mr Butler said.

“The loan was repaid in full during 2013, including more than $100,000 in interest.

“On assuming the position of secretary in July 2012 I immediately ordered a review of this matter to ensure proper internal processes had been followed and that the rules of the union had been complied with.

“The review reported that the loan was an investment decision, the rules of the union were complied with and the loan was properly made.

“It is not unusual for unions to invest members’ money in order to generate returns that are then used to benefit members by supporting union activities.

“The ETU was one of three unions to extend loans to NSW Labor in 2010/11, all of which were agreed to on commercial terms with interest payable and fully disclosed in financial accounts.

“One must remember that trade unions founded the Labor Party more than one hundred years ago as the political voice of working people, and we continue to enjoy a close working relationship with the Labor Party to achieve our goal of improving the lives of working people.

“Under my leadership I have always acted in the best interest of ETU members. It is disappointing that these matters are being investigated, but despite this the ETU has committed to assisting the commission during its inquiry.

“Any questions raised about the actions of formers office holders of the union will be best addressed by those individuals and the ETU will not be providing an ongoing commentary.

ETU investment loan facts:

  • An Investment loan to NSW Labor was extended by the ETU in December 2010.
  • The investment loan was for an amount of $500,000.
  • The investment loan was reported in the financial accounts of both the ETU NSW Branch and the NSW Labor Party.
  • The investment loan was granted on the basis of a commercial arrangement with interest payable at an annual rate of 8.5 per cent.
  • The ETU was one of three unions to extend commercial loans to NSW Labor in 2010/11.
  • The loan repayment schedule was renegotiated with NSW Labor at different times on terms agreed to by both parties, and approved in accordance with the rules of the union.
  • Bernie Riordan resigned as secretary of the ETU NSW Branch in March 2012.
  • Steve Butler assumed the secretary’s position following a fresh election in July 2012.
  • Mr Butler ordered a review of the ALP investment loan in August 2012, after receiving one internal complaint.
  • The review was conducted between August and October 2012 by NEW Law and found the investment had been omitted from the minutes of an executive meeting by error, but the investment was made in accordance with the rules of the union.
  • Following a further complaint from the same source, a further review — by KPMG — was conducted. This review was handed down in July 2013 and found that the original review had adequately investigated the matter.
  • The investment loan was repaid in full in July 2013, including interest of $103,047.