Electricity, Water and Utilities

Electricity, Water and Utilities

7 reasons Evoenergy workers should vote NO to the company’s poor EBA

Peter Moss - Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Evoenergy is asking employees to accept a substandard EBA. Here are 7 reasons you should vote NO:

1. Insulting 2% pay offer
Evoenergy is using the pandemic as cover to insult workers with the worst pay offer put to a vote in more than 30 years

2. Every substantial worker claim rejected
Management refused to listen or negotiate, rejecting every substantial 
employee claim

3. Call-out payments slashed

Management wants to dump the longstanding agreement on the standalone provision for call-outs. This would cut pay and disadvantage workers

4. Income Protection rights slashed
Evoenergy will force you to take 20 days sick leave before accessing Income Protection – this is double what it is now

5. All allowances frozen for 3 years
The real value of all your Allowances will decline: ELA, On-Call, Meal & more

6. Removal of the Attraction & Retention Allowance for new employees
This would make new workers second-class and sow division in the future

7. We deserve & can achieve better!
You deserve much better than this insulting offer. Vote NO to send management back to the bargaining table

Send a strong message to Evoenergy: Vote NO to defend our hard-won conditions, now and for the future. Let’s stick together for the better outcome you deserve.

More information: contact your ETU delegate or ETU organiser Matt McCann matt.mccann@etunsw.com.au 0416 236 646

47 questions ETU put to Ausgrid on proposal to massively increase contracting out

Peter Moss - Thursday, July 02, 2020
1. Ausgrid is required under clause 41 of the EA to demonstrate that peak workloads cannot be met by Ausgrid's workforce including reasonable overtime? Please provide evidence of peak workloads requiring work to be outsourced.
2. Ausgrid is required under clause 41 to demonstrate if there is specific expertise, not available in Ausgrid's workforce, be outsourcing work to contractors. Please identify specific expertise Ausgrid employees do not have to carry out the proposed work to be outsourced.
3  Ausgrid is required under clause 41 to demonstrate the use of outsourcing or contracting out the work is commercially the most advantageous option considering safety, quality, performance, and cost. Please demonstrate how contractors are advantageous in each specific area -safety, quality, performance, and cost.
4. The persons covered by clause 41 of the Agreement including relevant work groups/employees may, via the consultative process in the Agreement, utilise external benchmarking prior to market testing to permit internal efforts to improve efficiencies and become more competitive. When will Ausgrid provide the external benchmarking to the consultative group and Unions?
5 When will Ausgrid look at internal efforts to improve efficiencies and become more competitive?
6 . Will Ausgrid provide the consultative group and Unions any expressions of interest or tenders if advertised and consider timing to provide the employees with an opportunity to submit a conforming expression of interest or tender?
7 . During rebalancing last year, after making 353 employees redundant, Ausgrid stated redundancies were needed as there had been a significantly reduction in peak workloads. What has changed to now propose to increase the use of contractors for overhead maintenance and construction?
8 . This proposal is indicative of a desire to move Ausgrid to a contract management company, is this the case? If not, then why can no assurances be put to paper that there is job security for current staff?
9 . How can Ausgrid justify increasing contractors now when there is still a plan to make a further 250 employees redundant in 2021 and a further 250 in 2022?
1 0 . There are lots of examples that Ausgrid is under utilising its own workforce giving employees menial tasks. Different depots are booking that time differently i.e. some book as unproductive time, some book against a bogus work order as productive time. Please provide the monthly reports / indicators that show productive time and unproductive time for each depot that has been booked.
11 . How does Ausgrid currently measure workloads, work completion and efficiency for overhead Maintenance and construction?
12 . Can Ausgrid provide current those figures? 

13 . What has been the total expenditure of the existing contracts?
14 . What budgets do these contact costs come out of, OPEX or CAPEX?
15 . What has been the yearly cost for each of the Existing Outsourced Overhead Services - 

16. How many Ausgrid FTE's would have been saved by utilising that money spent on contractors instead of making permanent employees redundant?
17. Ausgrid have been including contactors as FTE's in their minimum employee numbers reporting to Ipart. What were the total contractor figures used in each of the ipart reports throughout 2019 & 2020?
18. What is the estimated dollar value of the new proposed contracts?
19. How many Ausgrid FTE positions could be saved / created instead of awarding contractors' contracts?
20. Does Ausgrid have current analysis on costings and efficiencies comparisons between Ausgrid and contractors? Please provide. 

21. Skills shortage tasks (tower refurbishment) has the ability to be brought back in house through training, how is this not a more practical approach to an evident problem?

22. Ausgrid has proposed to include running of new aerial conductors by contractors, given that there have been numerous occasions where contractors have ignored cable indications (ABC) and only checked phasing rather than correct identification as well as phasing could create significant problems particularly during storm events. How would Ausgrid ensure excellence in delivery from contractors? 

23. How would the outsourcing of defect rectification works apply when most defects requiring rectification come from contract delivered works (excluding the aged/weathered assets)? 

24. Can Ausgrid provide the numbers of defect rectifications that are caused by poor contractor work?
25. Why hasn't Ausgrid kept its workforce to a level that can maintain its own network assets safely?
26. How can Ausgrid justify the continued reduction of permanent numbers in Field Services and Tech Ops and increase contracting and outsourcing given the number of serious incidents including two fatalities in recent years?
27. Why is VOC training requirements for contractors not to the same level and scrutiny as Ausgrid workers returning to live work?
28. Can you provide evidence that the VOC training requirements for contractors are equivalent too or of a higher standard than the requirements and scrutiny of Ausgrid's field staff returning to live LV procedures?
29. Who will be the Principal Contractor on these contracts? Ausgrid or the Contractor?
30. Will Ausgrid remain the PCBU as you will be engaging the contractor and have responsibilities under the WHS ACT 2017? 
31. Who will be Contract supervisors for each proposed contract?
32. How will Ausgrid ensure these contractors will not then subcontracted out which undermines provisions of clause 41? i.e. ensuring they comply with appropriate safety standards, environmental standards, quality standards, appropriate industrial relations policies and practices to a level commensurate with the Ausgrid standards?
33. How can Ausgrid justify asking staff to take extra leave etc then increase the scope and number of tasks performed by contractors? 

34. We find it quite ironic that Ausgrid have outsourced (Pegasus) the policing and verification of competency of contractors, more money wasted.

35. Ausgrid could save millions of dollars by doing away with contracting altogether and moving staff from contract works to design and engineering arms of the business to increase work output to be delivered to the field services arm. 

36. In the first consultation (Dial In) it was stated that that this consultation is independent of any other transformation programs, we argue that it is directly bound to the assurances given at the restructuring committee that contracting out was not an avenue Ausgrid would pursue after current contracts ran out. Ausgrid argued and distributed material that Ausgrid as a network business would "simply perform less work" requiring a smaller workforce. To say we are now too far behind to complete works ourselves indicates Ausgrid is either lying/hiding figures or there is pressure from external parties to renew contracts. 

37. What services suit external companies? If there is a need for a certain service, then training should be the first priority to deliver these services. 

38. Why would Ausgrid want to waste money/potentially waste money on a theory that end to end delivery by external contractors could deliver positive project outcomes when we have proven positive outcomes internally? 

39. We are very concerned that "testing market capabilities " is very important to Ausgrid, this appears to be a business that wants to win the Tour de France without pedalling a bike (reap benefits of owning a distribution network without the outlays of staffing overheads to maintain it).

40. The contracts for tower refurbishment were put in place in 2016, between then and now there has been plenty of time to train under-utilised staff in performing this task (knowing these contracts would eventually expire). Why has training not been given any thought or priority given considering the amount of time Ausgrid has had to develop its business to maximise efficiency unless its goal is purely to outsource.

41. It was evident in the first consultation meeting that different arms of Ausgrid have not been talking to each other (at least no transparency on staff utilisation). Should Ausgrid not at least find out what its own capabilities are before heading down a path of preparing contracts for works that might not even be there?

42. Ausgrid have expressed that they need these contracts in place at the expiration of old contracts, why is there a rush? If there is no works for a contractor to perform then there is going to be no urgency for a contracting company to mobilise a workforce in a major event.

43. It was mentioned that Ausgrid need these contracts to deliver adequate response in major events, how much would a contract to 'stand by' cost the company? Also, what kind of 'reserve' numbers are we looking at having contractors deploy? 

44. Given the unpredictability of major events (could be the entirety of contract without one) what level of work would be guaranteed to a contractor (if zero I would think their 'stand by' fee would be astronomical) to ensure they had the required amount of staff to ably assist Ausgrid staff in such events? 

45. For Contractors to work on the network they are required to hold current mandatory training requirements. Ausgrid's training section has been decimated in previous restructures and the recent C0VID19 has seen class sizes dramatically reduced and cross contamination across regions has restricted people travelling out of area for training. How does Ausgrid propose to train contractors given that some of the training requirements are in house only? 

46. Ausgrid recently extended its grace period for expired quals to three months as they cannot keep up with the demand for its internal staff. How will Ausgrid train external contractors?

47. Has Ausgrid talked to their workforce about how to do more in house? Poor communication and poor planning have meant the workers being underutilized have many suggestions for improvements in efficiencies but are not being heard or worse, ignored. Workers are ready and willing to work to reduce backlog of works, including working alternate hours, overtime, training to enable multiskilling for work outside their classification or day to day role etc. to prevent the need for overflow works. These are all things that Ausgrid management could be doing and thinking for themselves about how to run an efficient and productive business by maximising the in house work by their highly skilled workforce.

LAUNCH: ETU Combined Power Industry EBA Campaign

Bruce Fan - Monday, June 29, 2020

The ETU is launching our Combined Power Industry EBA campaign – bringing together thousands of members from five electricity companies.
The aim is to speak with a powerful united voice on industry-wide issues – like job security, privatisation, funding cuts, safety and the pandemic.
I am asking you to join in this very important campaign:

A united industry-wide campaign will strengthen the position of members at each company: including Ausgrid, Endeavor Energy, Essential Energy, Transgrid and Evoenergy.
Our campaign is guided by a Steering Committee of senior ETU delegates from each company, working with ETU officials.
Most importantly, we are working together to demand job security across the industry.
5,000 jobs have been cut over five years and, at some companies, further redundancies are also planned.
The ETU warned these cuts went far too deep. Sadly, recent blackouts, bushfires and extreme weather events have proved our point.
Enough is enough! Will you add your voice to our campaign against forced redundancies?
Please take 2 min to fill this important EBA survey with your feedback:





Essential Energy
















We’ll get back to you with more about our Combined Power Industry EBA campaign – and what it means for you and your workmates.
For more information, contact your ETU organiser.


Peter Moss - Tuesday, June 16, 2020


ETU offices in Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle are open and operating safely under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Members can visit the union’s offices but are encouraged to contact the ETU by phone or email wherever possible: (02) 9267 4844 etunsw@etunsw.com.au

Icon Water EBA Vote ‘NO’: Don’t roll over for a rollover

Peter Moss - Tuesday, June 09, 2020

The ETU recommends members vote ‘NO’ to the sub-standard EBA document put out by Icon Water.

The company’s document offers wage increases below CPI and below those paid by the ACT Government.

 Management claims it wants to settle the EBA to give employees ‘certainty’ -- yet the company has introduced a higher level of uncertainty by rejecting a ‘status’ quo’ clause.

 Icon Water is proposing a two-year agreement. Workers need the certainty of a three-year EBA.

 A strong ‘NO’ vote will send a strong message to management. Union negotiators can then return to the bargaining table and push hard for an improved outcome.


If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me atmatt.mccann@etunsw.com.au or on 0416236646


In unity

Matt McCann

ETU organiser

Workers’ safety must be paramount in power & transport

Peter Moss - Thursday, March 26, 2020

Dear Member


The ETU is working closely with major electricity and transport employers to ensure worker safety is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic.


As essential services, Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential EnergyTransgrid and Sydney Trains must keep operatingHowever the companies must re-assess all working procedures to protect employees, particularly through social distancing and the supply and use of appropriate PPE.


The ETU supports upgraded health and safety measures initiated by companies. The union has raised a list of additional controls members should use in their risk assessments.




A maximum of two people per vehicle where social distancing (1.5m) can be achieved, ie one driving, one in the back. Open the windows or select external air on the air conditioner – don't select 'recycle'.


Sufficient supplies of wipes and detergent must be provided so workers can wipe down all vehicle surfaces, at a minimum, at the beginning and end of each shift.


The union calls on companies to reform vehicle policies to facilitate social distancing. This should include:

• Allow employees to take home vehicles, so workers do not have to attend the depot to start and finish work
• End the use of pooled vehicles
• Release unused vehicles




Only one person in the bucket. Where manual handling requires a second person, employees must wear coveralls and P2 masks as a minimum requirement.


Face-to-face meetings


Depot and other meetings should be held using available technology to avoid unnecessary physical interaction. Wherever people are required to meet, strict social distancing must apply.


Contact with the public


Members should apply social distancing in all interactions, including with customers and the public.


Where emergency responders are required to attend a dwelling, the company should contact residents in advance to confirm whether any person is sick, displaying any symptomsof the virus or in quarantine. 


With more people at home, ETU members have reported incidents of abuse from members of the public during power outages. If you are threatened or abused, report the incident and remove yourself from the location.


Risk assessment


Prior to the commencement of work, ensure that your work group has a pre-start job discussion, identifies any site-specific hazards or risks and implements the appropriate controls to mitigate the hazard or risk. If sufficient controls cannot be implemented , STOP work immediately and  PAUSE for safety. Notify your supervisor/manager If the work cannot be done safely.




Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters before they are implemented.


ETU supporting members


The union continues to provide the full range of members services during the pandemic. Call your organiser for support and advice on any workplace matter, contacts here: http://etunsw.asn.au/corona-virus/full-contact-details-for-etu-nsw-act-organiser-phone-numbers


For other inquiries, please contact the union by email for response and referral etunsw@etunsw.com.au


In unity


Justin Page

Secretary, ETU NSW & ACT


Update: Endeavour Energy drug & alcohol testing dispute

Peter Moss - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Dear Endeavour Energy members, here is an update of the Drug & Alcohol Testing dispute.
Yesterday afternoon concluded the five-day arbitration hearing at Fair Work where the parties presented their evidence, heard witness statements and advocated their respective positions before His Honour, Deputy President Sams, to consider.
DP Sams has reserved his decision but hasn’t indicated when his decision will be handed down.
Until His Honour hands down his decision the Status Quo remains, that is, the current Alcohol and Other Drugs Procedure stands. Not the Company’s proposed procedure.
In Unity Brad Currey, ETU organiser

Save Essential Energy's jobs

Bruce Fan - Thursday, August 08, 2019

Essential Energy Fact Sheet

Bruce Fan - Thursday, August 08, 2019


Peter Moss - Tuesday, August 06, 2019
ETU Secretary Justin Page and organiser Lawrie Duff are on the road visiting Essential Energy members in north-western NSW – including Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, Manilla and Barbara.

Seven ETU organisers are driving to all corners to meet with Essential members over the company’s plan to axe 682 jobs.

‘We’re talking about saving jobs wherever possible and protecting the interests of members and communities,’ said Justin.

‘Members are fuming at the incompetent and uncaring approach taken by management. The company has failed to communicate and failed to treat workers as human beings.

‘Essential Energy has also failed to consult as required under our EBA. CEO Cleland provided an inadequate response to just one of four letters from the ETU,’ said Justin.

The fight is far from over as the ETU pursues all options to minimise job losses.

‘We are developing genuine cost-saving alternatives to job cuts. We are building support for political action to save these regional jobs. We are providing ongoing support and information to workers,’ said Justin.

‘We will not let Essential management ride roughshod over our loyal regional members’