EVEN IN THE FACE OF A CRISIS, WE WILL SEE THIS THROUGH


The Victorian Branch of the Electrical Trades Union is almost 120 years old.

In that time we’ve been through wars, depressions, recessions, bushfires, floods, droughts and much, much more. 2020 sees us all facing the COVID-19 pandemic. This is unprecedented but, as we’ve done for 120 years, we will all face this together.

As Secretary of the Victorian branch of the ETU, I’ve worked with our team to put together this extensive guide on the crisis to give families some reliable and straight forward information. Whether it be on hygiene and social distancing, stand down and redundancies or issues in the workplace, this guide endeavours to cover all the questions you may have.

Keep in mind the information is correct at the time we go to print, and this pandemic crisis is an ever-changing beast. We will continue to update you as the situation evolves. Keep an eye out on our website and social media.

I’d also like to make it very clear, unless specifically directed otherwise by the Chief Medical Officer, the ETU offices will remain open and working for you. You will find in this booklet the contact details for your Organisers who are working harder than ever as we currently have over 18,000 members still at work in over 1,000 workplaces across Victoria. We have had to limit access to the office to small meetings and appointments only for the time being, but all Officials will be contactable, and our staff are here every day.

We are making some other changes to fight this crisis. As of three weeks ago we made some modifications to Protect to enable members who may have to self-quarantine or who are stood down to receive up to $4,000 in “Stand Down” hardship payments. More information on this can be found on HERE. We are working with the Government to make changes to CoINVEST to allow members early access to their Long Service Leave. We also continue to work with the Government and Industry on new programs and policies to help keep our industry and our workers afloat.

We do want to make it clear though, we do take issue with some of the Government initiatives. We are one of the richest countries in the world and the fact that workers may have to access their own money, be it superannuation, redundancy entitlements, or anything else, in this time of crisis is not something in principle your union agrees with. However, it is important we share with you the black and white facts about what support is available to you now as we continue to fight for a better safety net for all workers. If you have any concerns about accessing any of these support measures you should speak to a licenced financial planner.

This crisis had a beginning and it will have an end. Our aim is to help all ETU members and their families across to the other side in a healthy and secure state. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. As we go to print, very few of our members have been stood down or find themselves out of work due to the pandemic. There are still over 4,000 new electrical jobs to be filled in Victoria on the major infrastructure projects. These will be long running jobs, so once we do get through this, and we will, we will continue to grow from strength to strength. In the meantime, our Executive has resolved to freeze your Union Dues for a third year in a row, and if any member does find themselves stood down or out of work, contact the union immediately to suspend your dues.

We understand some of the employer associations see this as an opportunity to claw back our hard fought and won conditions. This is outrageous, this is un-Australian, and if any member has been asked to give up their rights, or work for any less, they should contact the union immediately.

Trying times bring out the best of people. We are all in this together and as we work through this crisis you will see the best out of your workmates and your union. Stay safe, stay strong and stay union!

 

DAN ANDREWS THE LEADER WE NEED IN A TIME OF CRISIS


In a time of unprecedented crisis, one leader has stepped up to deliver the decisive leadership we all need to get through the uncertain days ahead.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been the leading voice in the National Cabinet arguing for a “go early, go hard” approach to supressing the coronavirus. He has broken ranks with other states to take precautions with our schools and move Victoria to Stage 3 restrictions first, while delivering clear and consistent advice to the community.

KEEPING US WORKING

Not only has Dan Andrews supported us with $80 billion of ongoing infrastructure works that have created 4,000 jobs, he has now thrown big dollars at some bold plans to help small business and working people get through this crisis.

The Premier was quick to announce a $1.7 billion business support package to help employers survive the shutdown and support jobs. 24,000 small businesses will get full refunds of their payroll tax bills for the rest of the financial year and can defer future payroll tax until January. There is a $500 million fund to support industries like hospitality, retail and entertainment that have been hit hard by the virus and self-isolation, through hardship payments and small grants. This will help a lot of employers to keep their staff on the books.

Andrews has allocated another $500 million to the ‘Working for Victoria Fund’, a support package that will assist people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. Under the fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work across the public sector, local government and the not-for-profit-sector. This includes everything from delivering packages to cleaning our trains and trams.

The Victorian Government was also the first to come to an agreement with the private hospital sector to integrate their facilities and staff into the public system.

TALE OF TWO LEADERS

In contrast, the leadership of our Prime Minister and Federal Government has inspired less confidence. They have been slower to act, hesitant and indecisive. The Prime Minister’s communications have been full of contradictions and mixed messages that have caused widespread confusion, adding to the anxiety and panic felt in the community. 

At this time of crisis, we are left feeling grateful that Victoria is the home of the country’s most effective political leadership. Dan Andrews inspires confidence that together we will get through this and be all the stronger for it.


CRISIS POINTS TO FUTURE CHANGE


Since 1983, the long service leave entitlements of electrical workers have been held in the construction industry long service leave scheme, CoINVEST.

As one of the Directors that sits on the CoINVEST Board, I have seen first-hand how important it is that our entitlements are protected in this way.

I am thankful that strong unions like ETU VIC have campaigned over many years for our superannuation, redundancy and long service leave entitlements to be protected in industry schemes. Otherwise, when times of massive disruption like we are seeing now come along, many workers would be left high and dry.

As I am writing this, there are millions of workers in so many workplaces like Qantas, Virgin, the AFL, Myer and so many more in hospitality, who have been stood down or just sacked. They have left their jobs with nothing and no access to any industry schemes.

In principle, you need to know that the unions do not agree with you having to access your industry funds to get through these unprecedented times. We live in one of the richest countries in the world and shouldn’t be expected to resort to this.

Now is not the time to campaign on that. But when we come out the other side of this crisis let’s not forget that there’s a few things that need to change.

Industry schemes need to be enshrined in agreements and protected. Other entitlements like annual leave should also be protected in industry schemes.

Over 3 million Australians work full time in insecure work and don’t have access to any leave. That is bullshit. That’s got to change.

While now is all about surviving this pandemic as best we can, once it is over we will be pushing hard for change.


WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A POSITIVE CASE OF COVID-19


In 2020 we have 180,000 workers in the Victorian Construction industry. Even throughout this crisis the majority of those workers still get to go to work each day and earn a good living for themselves and their families.

At the time we went to print on this booklet, among those 180,000 there had been two positive results for COVID-19 on construction sites in Melbourne.

One of the positives occurred on a job of 600 people, it has not affected anyone else on site. The DHHS instructions were followed. The site was cleaned to a higher standard than was called for. Report back meetings were staggered throughout the morning to inform the workgroups of the updated information.

This was possible due to the proactive, social distancing and hygiene standards practiced onsite, and keeping up to date on the advice from the Chief Medical Officer. You can read about those distancing and hygiene policies and how they can be applied to your workplace in a common-sense way HERE.

While these two positive cases were the first, it’s quite possible they won’t be the last. But we work in one of the most dangerous industries and deal with hazards every day, which makes us best equipped to deal with this current crisis.

A six-point checklist has been created for the event of a positive case of COVID-19 on a worksite. You can read through it HERE. We encourage all members to familiarise themselves with the steps, so they know what to expect.

We have a history of sticking together and looking after one another; it’s what we do best.


WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING - ETU COVID-19 CHECKLIST ☑


☐ HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO YOUR PARTNER?
You and your family should have a clear plan of what to do if you are further impacted by COVID-19.

☐ ARE YOU ACROSS THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT AVAILABLE SHOULD YOUR INCOME BE IMPACTED?
See pages 10-18 of this booklet for the various forms of financial support available to workers and ETU members.

☐ ARE YOU ACROSS YOUR CURRENT LEAVE AND ENTITLEMENT BALANCES AT WORK?
These might be very important over the coming months.

☐ HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO YOUR BANK?
You may have the ability to suspend mortgage payments and access other hardship assistance from your bank if your income has been affected.

☐ HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO A FINANCIAL PLANNER?
While there is a wide range of financial support available to those who need it from the government, banks and industry schemes, not all of it will be right for you. If you’re unsure it's best speak to a financial planner.

☐ HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO YOUR LANDLORD OR REAL ESTATE AGENT?
If your income is affected and you may not be able to pay rent, speak to your landlord and come to an arrangement. A moratorium on evictions has been called but at the time of printing we are still awaiting details from the state government.

☐ DO YOU HAVE A 14-DAY SUPPLY OF FOOD FOR EVERYONE, INCLUDING PETS, IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
Prepare for the possibility you need to self-quarantine at home

☐ DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH HOUSEHOLD HYGIENE PRODUCTS LIKE SOAP, TOILET PAPER, TISSUES ETC?
Ensure you have what you need to follow the hygiene recommendations (frequent hand-washing)

☐ DO YOU HAVE A 30-DAY SUPPLY OF YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES?
Prepare for the possibility you may need to self-quarantine at home.

☐ DO YOU HAVE A WELL-MAINTAINED FIRST AID KIT?
To treat common minor injuries without needing to leave home.

☐ DO YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR SCHOOLING?
As we go to print, schools are still partially closed in Victoria, but it’s important your kids’ education continues.

☐ HAVE YOU CANCELLED ANY FLIGHTS OR TRAVEL PLANNED IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
You should only be travelling if it’s absolutely essential.

☐ DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS?
If you experience symptoms, self-isolate at home and call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Do not attend your doctor or hospital without calling first.


STAND DOWN GUIDELINES FOR ETU MEMBERS


1. BEFORE any ETU member is stood down, consultation with employees and the union should occur to exhaust the following options:

  • RELOCATION OF WORK
  • ACCESS TO ACCRUED PERSONAL LEAVE/SICK LEAVE/CARER’S LEAVE
  • ACCESS TO EXCESS RDOs
  • ACCESS TO LONG SERVICE LEAVE
  • JOBSHARE ARRANGEMENTS
  • ACCESS TO ANNUAL LEAVE EXTENDED AT HALF PAY IF REQUESTED
  • AGREED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY
  • ACCESS TO ANY OTHER LEAVE PROVISIONS e.g. TIME OFF IN LIEU
  • AGREED VOLUNTARY REDUNDANCY

2. IF stand downs occur, the following financial support is available:

  • JobKeeper Payment. A new $1,500 per fortnight payment. SEE MORE.
    Or
  • JobSeeker Payment. Formerly NewStart. SEE MORE.
  • Early Superannuation Withdrawal. Up to $20,000. SEE MORE.
  • Protect Members. Hardship payments available to Protect members. SEE MORE.
  • Unity Bank Financial Assistance. Assistance for Unity Bank members experiencing financial hardship. SEE MORE.

3. IF you volunteer to be made redundant, or are made redundant:

  • Protect Members. Protect members can draw down on their redundancy entitlement. SEE MORE.

IF YOU ARE STOOD DOWN, OR YOUR WORKPLACE SHUTS DOWN, CONTACT YOUR UNION IMMEDIATELY TO SUSPEND YOUR UNION DUES.

For any further information, contact your Organiser.


JOB KEEPER


WHEN TO ACCESS
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN STOOD DOWN WITHOUT PAY AND YOUR EMPLOYER MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS

If your employer can demonstrate a reduction in turnover due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Federal Government will pay eligible employers $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible worker.

Your employer MUST ensure that you receive at least $1,500 per fortnight.

WHAT BUSINESSES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR JOB KEEPER?

Your employer will need to demonstrate at least a 30% reduction in turnover (50% reduction if the business turns over more than $1Billion annually).

WHAT WORKERS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR JOB KEEPER?

  • An eligible employer must have employed you on or before 1st March 2020 including - full-time, part-time, or long-term casuals (for longer than 12 months as of 1st March).
  • This includes workers who have been stood down.
  • Australian Citizens, Permanent Residents, Special visa holders and New Zealanders on the 444 Visa are eligible.
  • Select sole traders and self-employed workers are also eligible.

WHEN WILL THE JOB KEEPER PAYMENT BE AVAILABLE?

The subsidy will start on 30th March 2020, with the first payments to be received by employers in the first week of May (payment will be backdated to 30th March). The program will last for six months.

HOW TO CLAIM

Your employer needs to apply online with the Australian Tax Office and then will pass it on to you. For more info visit treasury.gov.au

This information is correct as of the 3rd of April, the legislation which will enable this payment at the time of writing has yet to be published.


JOB SEEKER


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR JOB AND ARE NOT RECEIVING ENTITLEMENT PAYMENTS SUCH AS LONG SERVICE LEAVE OR REDUNDANCY

On the 22nd March, the Federal Government announced changes to NewStart (now named JobSeeker payment) and the introduction of a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight that will be available from the 27th of April for six months.

This will boost the maximum payment of JobSeeker to $1,115.70 per fortnight.

In addition to the extra $550 per fortnight, as of 27th April:

  • Assets tests will be waived
  • Liquid asset waiting periods will be waived
  • Proof of dismissal will be waived
  • Special eligibility for sole traders and self-employed people will apply.

As of 30th March the partner income test threshold has been lifted from $48,000 too $79,788.80. If your partner's wage is above $79,788.80 you will not be eligible for JobKeeper.

At the time of printing, Mutual Obligations for JobSeeker (job search requirements) have been waived up until 27th April.

HOW TO CLAIM

Apply at my.gov.au/services or call 132 850.

DISCLAIMER
This is general guidance only and was correct at the time of. Check government sources for more details:
https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-support 



EARLY WITHDRAWAL OF SUPER


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL HARDSHIP DUE TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS

The Government has announced temporary changes to superannuation rules which will allow the early withdrawal of up to $20,000 from super accounts.

Individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 will be able to access one withdrawal of $10,000 in the 2019/20 financial year, and a second $10,000 withdrawal in the 2020/21 financial year (as of 1st July 2020).

Applications for early withdrawal of super will open from 20th April 2020. Prior to this date you are able to register your interest online.

While these early super withdrawals will help alleviate immediate financial hardship members may be experiencing, they may have a significant impact on the long-term earnings of your superannuation account. If you are unsure as to whether this service is right for you speak to a financial planner.

HOW TO CLAIM
Go to my.gov.au.
More information can be found at ato.gov.au 


YOUR SUPER ACCOUNT AND COVID-19


IMPACTS ON YOUR SUPER ACCOUNT

Cbus is experiencing a high number of calls from members who are seeking information about the market movements.

Information about how the rapid and unpredictable development of COVID-19 is impacting investment markets, including an overview of Cbus’ approach to the current situation by Cbus’ Chief Investment Officer Kristian Fok, is available at our website: cbussuper.com.au/corona-response.

EARLY RELEASE OF SUPERANNUATION

Cbus members who are seeking more information about the early access to their super balances under the existing government regulations should visit the Cbus website at: cbussuper.com.au/super/accessing-my-super 

CBUS ADVICE SERVICES

Cbus understands that members and their families are facing difficult and uncertain times. It’s important that people have access to early release of their super in cases of genuine hardship and in critical situations.

However, we would not like to see members putting a hole in their retirement savings if they are not in genuine need.

In addition, there are new rules pertaining to insurance in super that come into effect on April 1 and members with low balances may leave themselves without insurance.

HOW TO CONTACT CBUS

Cbus are here to support members through this time.

For advice about accessing your super please contact Cbus Advice Services on 1300 361 784 8am to 8pm (AEST/AEDT) Monday to Friday OR email us at: advice@cbussuper.com.au 

COORDINATOR VISITS

Cbus coordinators are still visiting sites and meeting members one on one, for now, where possible. Where that is not possible or should this change, they will be available by phone or email.

We encourage you to use the Cbus website as your first port of call for information at cbussuper.com.au/corona-response.

YOUR LOCAL COORDINATOR’S CONTACT DETAILS ARE

Adrian McNamara
mobile: 0409 969 208
email: adrian.mcnamara@cbussuper.com.au 

Luke Petersen
mobile: 0448 895 199
email: luke.petersen@cbussuper.com.au 

Cbus’ Trustee is United Super Pty Ltd. ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 Cbus ABN 75 493 363 262
This information has been prepared on 17 March 2020 by United Super Pty Ltd ABN 46 006 261 623 AFSL 233792 about Cbus ABN 75 493 363 262. It doesn’t take into account your specific needs, so you should look at your own financial position, objectives and requirements and seek financial advice before making any financial decisions. Please read the relevant Cbus Product Disclosure Statement to decide whether Cbus is right for you. Contact 1300 361 784 or visit cbussuper.com.au for a copy. 03-20



LONG SERVICE LEAVE


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU HAVE BEEN STOOD DOWN WITHOUT PAY

If you have lost your job, have been stood down or are required to self-quarantine, you are able able to access your long service leave through CoINVEST.

If you are with CoINVEST you are eligible to take long service leave once you have more than 7 years of service in the industry. You can claim your full wage each fortnight until your balance is exhausted.

As we go to print, we are awaiting a decision from Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, Tim Pallas, on allowing an exemption under the rules of the scheme for members with fewer than 7 years of service in recognition of these unprecedented times. If approved, the exemption will allow members with fewer than 7 years of service to access a single payment worth two week's of your average weekly wage, from your long service leave, as long as you have an available balance to cover that amount.

HOW TO CLAIM

You can make a claim with CoINVEST online at coinvest.com.au  or call 03 9664 7677.


ETU STAND DOWN PAYMENTS


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU HAVE BEEN STOOD DOWN WITHOUT PAY

ETU has worked hard with Protect to allow members to access up to $4,000 worth of Stand Down payments.

An initial $2,000 payment will be made to Protect members who are stood down without pay or are experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 criris. A second payment is available after a further five weeks should it be required.

The Stand Down payments are available to:

  • Members of Protect whose employers are making payments into Protect, who;
  • Have a sufficient balance in their account to cover the $2,000 payments

The $2,000 payments will be available even if JobKeeper payments are also being received, but will not be accessible if the member is receiving other employer payments such as long service leave.

The $2,000 payments are taxable at 32% as per ATO requirements.

HOW TO CLAIM

Call Protect on 1300 344 249 or head to protect.net.au.

For enquiries email info@protect.net.au 

IF YOU ARE STOOD DOWN, CONTACT ETU VICTORIA IMMEDIATELY TO SUSPEND YOUR DUES


ETU REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU’VE BEEN MADE REDUNDANT

If members are made redundant, voluntary or otherwise throughout the COVID-19 crisis, they will have access to their redundancy entitlements through Protect.

An initial payment of $6,500 will be made, followed by a further $10,000 at each five-week interval until members' entitlements are exhausted.

Redundancy payments remain tax free as per ATO guidelines.

HOW TO CLAIM

Call Protect on 1300 344 249 or head to protect.net.au.

For enquiries email info@protect.net.au 


ETU INCOME PROTECTION


WHEN TO ACCESS
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 it is critical that you do not return to work until cleared by a doctor to do so. This may take several weeks.

Fortunately, ETU has you covered with our Protect Sickness & Injury cover.

Unlike most insurances, the ETU’s Protect Injury & Sickness Cover will apply to the pandemic.

This means, if a member who is covered by Protect gets sick with the COVID-19 virus and is unable to work long term because of it, our Injury & Sickness Cover will kick in as per the normal processes.

This is important for our members. Many other income protection schemes do not cover pandemics.

HOW TO CLAIM

Email info@atcis.com.au or call ATC on 1800 994 694.

For more information head to protect.net.au 
 

UNITY BANK FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE


The ETU’s bank, Unity, has created a Financial Assistance Program for Unity Members experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

They are providing relief on all types of home loans, personal or car loans, overdrafts or credit cards and all commercial loan repayments.

We have created a simple one-page online form for our ETU members who are affected by the COVID-19 to apply. Simply go to our website unitybank.com.au  and click on the Financial Assistance Application Form. A member of our team will be in contact to discuss your options.

For more information call Seamus Ryan on 0428 124 267 (ETU Relationship Development Manager).

Seamus will also be available to assist non-Unity members and provide some helpful tips on how to manage your finances during this difficult time.

Please note that these measures are designed to bring you immediate financial relief if you require it, however, choosing any of these options can cause a greater amount of interest to be payable on your loan in the long term. Speak to a Unity Bank Manager or your financial planner to discuss which options may be right for you.

The type of relief available includes:

  • Loan repayment deferrals
    Loan repayments may be deferred for an initial three months and a further three months should you require it.
    Š
  • Conversion to Interest Only
    Members may convert their loan to interest only for a period of up to 12 months.
    Š
  • Reducing Loan Repayments
    Loan repayments may be reduced by extending the term of the loan.
    Š
  • Redraw Facility
    Members may be able to access additional money they may have available to redraw on their loan.


14-DAY SELF QUARANTINE


If you come into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case, and are directed to SELF-QUARANTINE

YOU MUST STAY AT HOME FOR 14 DAYS unless you need medical care.


CLOSE CONTACT is defined as:

  • spending more than 15 minutes face-to-face with someone who is a confirmed case, in the 24 hours before they showed symptoms or after they showed symptoms.
  • sharing a closed space for more than two hours with someone who is a confirmed case, in the 24 hours before they showed symptoms or after they showed symptoms.

While you are in SELF-QUARANTINE you:

  • MUST NOT attend work, school, childcare or university
  • MUST NOT go to other public places such as restaurants, cinemas or shopping centres
  • MUST NOT use public transport or taxis.
  • MUST NOT allow visitors into your home - only those who usually live in the household should be in the home.
  • MUST stay in a different room to other people as much as possible.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

If you are required to self-quarantine, speak to your employer about accessing any accrued leave you may have. This could be sick leave, annual leave, long service leave or any other leave provisions in your EBA.

If insufficient leave is available, contact Protect to access the $4,000 Stand Down payments. See more information HERE.



ETU BEST PRACTICE FOR REDUCING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 WITHIN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The following are a set of guidelines developed in consultation with the Victorian Department of Health and Worksafe to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on worksites. They should be applied with a common-sense approach to social distancing and hygiene whilst at work.

Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres between workers is to be implemented wherever possible Where this is not possible, the length of time workers spend in close proximity is to be reduced.
  • Where workers are required to work in close proximity for prolonged periods of time, a SWMS must be prepared and use of items such as PPE must be considered.
  • If space permits, spread out in site-offices to maintain 4m2 per person. Restrict number of staff visiting site offices at any one time.
  • Reduce instances of having to work in close proximity in site offices.
  • If space permits, spread out in site amenities to maintain 4m2 per person, or have meal breaks outside, or alternate meal breaks.

Hygiene

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Implement good cough etiquette by covering your cough and sneeze, or cough into your elbow or shoulder.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if you can help it.
  • Use hand sanitiser, which should be provided at site entrances and exits, in all hoists, amenities and other areas of the site.

Screening of workers coming to site

  • All workers are to sign a declaration that they have not been overseas or in contact with anyone who has coronavirus.
  • All workers entering a site to be screened at the start of their shift by asking whether they have been overseas, in contact with anyone who has coronavirus, or if they have flu-like symptoms.

Internal Lifts & External Hoists

For information about Lifts and Hoists visit the WorkSafe website. 

 

COVID-19: POSITIVE RESULT IN THE WORKPLACE


If you have had a positive case of COVID-19 among your work colleagues, the following steps must occur:


  1. Consultation and communications between the Employer/Head Contractor or Responsible Person, Reps, HSRs, etc.
  2. Employer/Head Contractor or Responsible Person contacts the Department of Health & Human Services.
  3. Workplace mapping & tracking will occur as per DHHS guidelines.
  4. Employer/Head Contractor or Responsible Person to ensure workplace systems put into place e.g. clean up/disinfectant, and must inform and consult all HSRs/workgroups throughout the entire process.
  5. An Independent Report and Certification to be supplied verifying the hygienic cleaning has been completed.
  6. Workplace Report Back meetings to take place keeping to social distancing guidelines.


APPRENTICE REGISTER

If you are an ETU apprentice member and have become unemployed due to COVID-19, please contact the union.

We are maintaining a register of impacted apprentice members to assist with getting you back in the industry as soon as possible.

Your union is seeking out all opportunities to get you back to work.

Contact us on 03 8329 0000 or at etu@etuvic.com.au for more details.



ETU'S CENTRE FOR U: HERE FOR YOU DURING COVID-19


During the COVID-19 crisis the Centre for U will continue to operate to bring training and support to you and your family. While we have had to temporarily suspend some support services, we will be offering the following FREE to all ETU members and their families:

FIRST AID FOR BABIES & CHILDREN

This course provides you with information and guidance to prevent injuries, and the knowledge and skills to provide basic first aid to children.

PROVIDE FIRST AID

HLTAID003

This accredited First Aid course provides training in how to provide First Aid, CPR and emergency life support. Delivered by STAR Training and Assessing RTO 21830.

LOW VOLTAGE RESCUE AND CPR TRAINING

UETTDRRF06B and HLTAID001

This accredited training teaches participants how to deliver CPR and perform low voltage rescue procedures without hazard to themselves or others. Delivered by Pinnacle Safety and Training RTO 40496.

TEMPORARY WIRING

This course teaches the skills, knowledge and competency for the installation and maintenance of construction wiring on building and demolition sites.

A GRADE REFRESHER

Make sure your skills and knowledge are up to scratch. This course is designed to raise the standard of all A-Grade electricians in Victoria to ensure they are safe, current and compliant.

At the Centre for U we will continue to monitor government guidelines and would like to reassure everyone that we have put in place extra precautions and initiatives to make your visit to the Centre for U as safe as possible.


TRAINING AND SERVICES POST COVID-19


We look forward to the COVID-19 crisis being behind us. But we know that once the danger of the virus has passed there will still be a great deal to do to rebuild and recover.

To assist members and their families in this effort we will be opening our doors and making ALL Centre for U services and training free to all ETU members and their families(T&C apply).

Upskilling

  • A-Grade Refresher
  • Temporary Wiring
  • Temporary Wiring Refresher
  • Mentoring for your LEA
  • Hazardous Training
  • Electrical Spotting
    Course in Workplace Spotting for Service Assets (22325VIC)
    STAR Training and Assessing RTO 21830
  • Train Track Awareness
    Safely Access the Rail Corridor (TLIF2080)
    CERT Training RTO 51333
  • Registered Electrical Contracting
    Conduct an Electrical Contracting Business (VU21527)
    Box Hill Institute RTO 4687
  • Height Awareness
    Work Safely at Heights (RIIWHS204D)
    STAR Training and Assessing RTO 21830
  • Solar Grid Connect
    UEENEEK125A, UEENEEK135A & UEENEEK148A,
    Green Business Audit & Training, trading as Solar Training Centre, RTO 40352
  • Low Voltage Rescue & CPR Training
    UETTDRRF06B & HLTAID001
    Pinnacle Safety and Training RTO 40496
  • Provide First Aid
    HLTAID003
    STAR Training and Assessing RTO 21830
  • Solar Grid Design
    UEENEEK125A, UEENEEK135A &UEENEEK148A
    Holmesglen RTO 0416
  • Working Safely in the Solar Industry
    22515VIC
    Holmesglen RTO 0416

Personal and Family Services

  • Will Consultations
  • Financial Counselling
  • Retirement Planning
  • Counselling
  • Gambling Prevention
  • First Aid for Babies & Children
  • Emotional Wellbeing for Expecting & New parents
  • Family Law Advice
  • Emergency Transport Cover
  • Family Baby Pack
  • Youth Drug & Alcohol Awareness
  • Funeral Cover
  • Family Violence Awareness
  • Autism Information Session
  • Criminal Defence Advice
  • Workcover & Personal Injury Advice
  • Banking Services & Advice
  • U-Turn Educational Program

Workplace Support

  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Alcohol & Drug Awareness
  • LGBTIQ+ Inclusivity
  • Suicide Prevention & Awareness
  • Anxiety & Stress Management
  • Preparation for Work
  • Mental Health in the Workplace

Health Services

  • Skin & Health Checks
  • Myotherapy
  • Hearing Checks
  • Eat Smart Workshops
  • Remedial Massage
  • Group Yoga Classes

To book your training head to centreforu.com.au or call 1800 270 875.


MENTAL HEALTH AND COVID-19


FREE COUNSELLING HOTLINE

Feeling depressed or anxious due to the COVID-19 Crisis?

These are difficult times and it’s okay to be not okay. But it’s also important to seek help when you might need it.

If you or anyone in your family is feeling depressed, anxious or in poor mental health call our free 24-hour counselling hotline on 1300 725 881.

You can also arrange up to 4 face-to-face (via video chat) consultations should you need them.

WEBINAR SERIES

Stuck in self-isolation? We’re now delivering support services directly to you in your home via our new webinars!

These webinars are FREE to all union members and their families. If you know anyone who could use some extra help during this tough time, encourage them to join in and sign up.

SUICIDE PREVENTION & AWARENESS

We offer this course to raise awareness of suicide risk factors and to promote positive life skills among people in the building and construction industry.

ANXIETY & STRESS MANAGEMENT

This Anxiety and Stress Management program aims to create understanding and compassion via education. It targets the individual as well as those wanting to support someone.

ALCOHOL & DRUG AWARENESS

Drug and alcohol misuse reaches every corner of the Australian community and can cause huge costs to your health, wellbeing and safety. Knowing how to recognise when you or someone you know has a problem and understanding the negative health impacts misuse has is critical for all people.

+ more webinars coming soon

Head to centreforu.com.au for more info.


STAYING WELL DURING THE PANDEMIC


EATING WELL

The coronavirus outbreak is upending life for families around the world. To make things even harder, panic buying and disruptions to food supply mean some foods are harder to find.

Here are five tips to help feed your family a varied, nutritious diet:

  • Keep up fruit and vegetable intake. Cook large batches of soups, stews or other dishes that will provide meal options for days.
  • Swap in healthy dried or canned alternatives when fresh produce is not available
  • Build up a stock of healthy snacks like nuts, cheese, yogurt, dried fruits or boiled eggs
  • Limit highly processed foods. Avoid sugary drinks and instead drink lots of water
  • Make cooking and eating a fun and meaningful part of your routine

KEEPING FIT

As life as we know it changes and physical interaction is limited, being active is more important than ever. If you’re new to exercise, or feeling a little lost because your normal way of staying fit isn’t possible right now, here are some ideas to get you moving:

  • Take your workout online:

    On YouTube there are endless free exercise videos to try, regardless of your fitness level or the size of your living room. From yoga and strength workouts to Pilates, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and more.

    Personal trainers, dance instructors and other qualified fitness professionals are getting savvy and moving their classes online. So, you can join a class virtually, and get the social connection benefits of exercise too.

  • Go freestyle:

    If a structured routine is not your style, get creative and build your own workout – instead of weights use household items like filled water bottles and cans or jars of food, walk or run on the spot for 30 second intervals, do some star jumps, planks, sit ups, push ups, or even burpees. Anything to get your heart rate up a little.

  • Go solo outside if you can:

    Walking, cycling and running are great solo activities and safe if you’re feeling well and haven’t been asked to self-isolate. Go early in the morning or late in the day, and avoid places with high foot traffic, to minimise your risk. Pack hand sanitiser and stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you return indoors.

Even 10 minutes of movement a day can help your body and mind feel better. Encourage your loved ones, who you’re no doubt spending a lot of time with right now, to take a moment to move their bodies too.


KEEP IN (VIRTUAL) TOUCH WITH LOVED ONES


In the darker times of our lives we often seek out the comfort of mates or loved ones who are reassuringly familiar and within reach, but what can we do when we are discouraged from social interaction?

Losing a job and financial hardship are considered some of the most stressful life events. In this period of uncertainty and heightened stress, it is crucial to stay connected to your family and social circle. We should also be mindful of the people in our lives in older age groups, and those who have health issues, as they may be feeling more isolated and anxious than others in the community. Your older relatives, especially, would probably really appreciate a call right about now.

Enforced isolation, voluntary social distancing and community lockdowns, though proven to reduce the spread of coronavirus, can impact your mental health, causing feelings of loneliness and depression.

Thankfully, in the world of modern technology there are still ways to virtually stay connected to family, friends and loved ones during this period. Here are some ideas:

PICK UP THE PHONE

There is nothing as comforting and immediate as hearing a friendly voice on the phone. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

VIDEO CALLS ON YOUR PHONE

Even better than a friendly voice is a smiling face. We have so many options for video calling these days. Use Facetime, Skype, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to get the full audio visual experience of being right there with those you care about and miss.

GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA

It may be full of fake news and annoying memes, but at times like these social media can really shine. Dust off your Facebook account, get onto Instagram or signup to Snapchat to keep in touch, make new connections or share your thoughts with the world.

PARTIES AND GROUP HANGOUTS

You probably won’t be going to any parties any time soon. Sorry. But thanks to technology you can still get together with a group of mates or your extended family online. Chit chat and small-talk can get boring fast, so get creative and organise a trivia night or a game of Pictionary online with your besties. Popular apps for that include Houseparty, Zoom and Google Hangouts.


TALKING TO CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT COVID-19


Like adults, children are navigating something they have never experienced before. Finding the right way to talk to them about COVID-19 can help protect children and reduce their fear.

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN WHAT COVID-19 IS TO A CHILD?

Children have a right to know what is going on, but as adults we have a responsibility to protect them from distress. There are ways to talk to children that will help limit their fears and address their concerns.

  • Use age appropriate language.
  • Show you are listening and their concerns are important to you.
  • Explain you haven’t been through anything like this either but you know
    the world will keep spinning and the sun will come up each day.
  • Remind them you are there to look after them.
  • Tell them if we listen carefully to advice it will be okay.
  • Explain that China is now coming out the other side, and so will we.

WORDS YOU CAN USE TO TALK TO YOUNG CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19

It can be hard to know how to explain COVID-19. These are some ideas you can put into your own words to suit the age and stage of your child.

  • COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new germ or bug.
  • The germ that causes COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person and infects the breathing system, our nose, throat and lungs.
  • It is passed from person to person through tiny droplets when people cough or sneeze.
  • These droplets can be breathed in by others – which is why we should try not to get too close to others, and cover our sneezes and coughs with our arm or a tissue. Then wash our hands.
  • We need to try not to touch our face, avoid shaking hands and wash our hands often, especially before eating.
  • Most kids won’t get very sick if they get COVID-19. If they do it will be a bit like getting a cold.
  • The disease is more serious in old people and those that have other sicknesses already and we need to do what we can to stop it spreading to them.

HOW CHILDREN MAY REACT TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Children depend on familiar routines. They like to wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends.

When an emergency or pandemic like COVID-19 interrupts this routine, children may become anxious, confused, or frightened.

HOW TO KEEP UP ROUTINES AND NORMAL LIFE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

As a parent, you can keep up routines at home. If it is a school day, then get kids up, dressed and doing school work by 9am.

Limit their exposure to news coverage and adult conversations about the outbreak.

Don’t forget about your own needs.

SPREAD KINDNESS

It is important to give kids a sense of being in control. Giving children meaningful ways to help others will help them and others.

  • Get children helping to make your family plans for self-isolating.
  • Check in on their friends or talk to elderly relatives who are self-isolating via phones or video calls.


U-TURN DRUG AND ALCOHOL APP


The Centre For U is pleased to announce the launch of U-Turn, a Digital Recovery Mobile App with Online Counselling for Alcohol and Drug Support.

COMING MAY 2020

If you, or a loved one, believe you may have an issue with alcohol or other substances this program can assist in making positive change.

The U-Turn app is an online recovery solution providing users with a comprehensive program of daily therapeutic activities as well as weekly online individual counselling that enables users to identify issues of substance misuse and abuse and take action to change.

All activities can be facilitated from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

All members will receive free access to the App and following an assessment will be paired with a qualified counsellor to provide personal and professional support.

The App includes:

  • Daily Check in
  • Weekly sessions and activities
  • Journal Therapy
  • Individual counselling
  • Meditation

You can download U-Turn from the App Store and Google Play - simply search for U-Turn Recovery.

If you would like to know more or have any queries regarding the impact of alcohol or other substances in your life, please contact The Centre for U on 1800 270 875.


FLATTENING THE CURVE


There is increasing confidence that social distancing measures are helping Australia to successfully “bend the curve” of new coronavirus infections and that we may avoid the worst of what this virus can do. The latest modelling suggests that if we maintain our current social distancing rules, new infections could drop to almost zero by July.

However, public health officials warn that we still face a difficult six months ahead. It is unlikely we can eradicate the virus altogether through social distancing. Easing restrictions risks seeing infection rates rise again. But for now, it appears Australia has dodged a bullet and could avoid seeing the exponential growth of this virus seen in so many other countries.

Elsewhere, much of Europe has followed in the footsteps of Italy and Spain, with exponential growth in infections and fast-rising death tolls. Italy and Spain are beginning to moderate their curves while France and Germany are seeing early signs that they may be reaching a plateau. The UK is trailing their European neighbours with a steeper curve than Italy, which until recently was seen as the hardest hit country worldwide.

In America the curve shows no signs of flattening and they now have the world’s highest death toll. On their current trajectory it seems certain we will see a humanitarian disaster unfold there in coming months. Weak, slow and stupid national leadership hasn’t helped - and an underdeveloped, expensive private health system that leaves so many without any access to care is acting like a pandemic turbo-charger.

China appears to be coming out the other side and is slowly lifting restrictions. But fears of a second wave there remain. Some Asian nations such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea have had early success in bending their curves without resorting to the more drastic shutdowns seen elsewhere.

These countries acted early, implementing widespread testing and extensive contact tracing and surveillance. Their populations knew what needed to be done because they had learnt the lessons from the early-2000s SARS epidemic. More recently, the success of these countries appears less certain. Infection rates have spiked and Singapore has now moved to school closures and shutdowns of all but essential workplaces.

For now, it seems Australia is flattening the curve and buying some time. But we will need to keep the curve flat, or we risk a second-wave outbreak getting away from us. So, what is the end game?

As Dan Andrews puts it, “The most frustrating thing about this is not being able to give people an end date. We are asking so much of so many, taking extraordinary steps, it is so frustrating not to be able to give people an end point. Things like restrictions on international travel and restrictions on larger gatherings are going to be with us for a long time and that a vaccine is some way off.”


CONTACTING THE ETU


We have periodically been experiencing high volumes of phone calls to the ETU Head Office so you may at times have trouble getting through to us. But unless the Chief Medical Officer specifically directs otherwise, ETU offices will remain open and working for you.

If you need to speak to the union, please consider contacting your Organiser directly.

You can also get in touch with us via email at: etu@etuvic.com.au .

If you need to speak to us you can let us know via email and we will give you a call.


CONTRACTING INDUSTRY

 Construction Major Projects     Ivan Balta     Phone: 0418 147 272
    Email: Ivan.Balta@etuvic.com.au
 
 Contracting sites in Melbourne's south east      Arron Harris     Phone: 0418 376 161
    Email: Arron.Harris@etuvic.com.au
 
Contracting industry sites in Melbourne's north east.         Reno Lia          Phone: 0409 188 809.   
Email Reno: Reno.Lia@etuvic.com.au 

    Email: Reno.Lia@etuvic.com.au       
 
Contracting industry in Melbourne’s inner south east      Wayne Nicolaci         Phone: 0416 144 911.   
    Email: Wayne.Nicolaci@etuvic.com.au    

 
Contracting industry in the CBD and Docklands     Chris Patterson         Phone: 0458 001 029
    Email: Chris.Patterson@etuvic.com.au     

 
Contracting industry in Melbourne’s west         Nathan Stott.        Phone: 0419 500 465.   
    Email: Nathan.Stott@etuvic.com.au    
 


POWER INDUSTRY

Power industry         Justin Sordello         Phone: 0409 200 893.   
    Justin.Sordello@etuvic.com.au    
 
Power industry - Jemena, Zinfra, ZNX and contractors         Matt Boyd         Phone: 0405 124 953.   
    Email: Matt.Boyd@etuvic.com.au    

 


MANUFACTURING, RAIL, LIFT AND OTHER INDUSTRIES

Rail, petrochemical and manufacturing in Melbourne’s western suburbs.         Aaron Douglass         Phone: 0427 288 290.   
    Email: Aaron.Douglass@etuvic.com.au    
 
Manufacturing in Melbourne’s south east.    

   Danny Timmers         Phone: 0419 378 404.    
    Email: Danny.Timmers@etuvic.com.au     

 
Lift industry - manufacturing and service companies.         Steve Diston         Phone: 0400 938 980.   
    Email: Steven.Diston@etuvic.com.au    
 
Apprentices Co-ordinator for group training companies.    
Manufacturing, industrial maintenance and labour hire in Melbourne’s west.    
    Nathan Jenkins         Phone: 0420 504 407.   
    Email: Nathan.Jenkins@etuvic.com.au    

 


REGIONAL

Geelong and the Western District and the renewables industry         Troy Knight         Phone: 0400 982 292.    
    Email: Troy.Knight@etuvic.com.au    
 
Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley         Peter Mooney         Phone: 0418 338 725.   
    Email: Peter.Mooney@etuvic.com.au    

 
Maintenance and manufacturing in central and northern Victoria         Damian King         Phone: 0407 925 696.   
    Email: Damian.King@etuvic.com.au    

 


KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH OUR TEAM


Until further notice, access to the ETU office will be via appointment only. But there are still plenty of ways you can keep in touch with our team for whatever assistance you need.

BY PHONE

Call us on 03 8329 0000 any time during our regular business hours.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow our page at facebook.com/etuvic and on instagram.com/etuvic.

VIA EMAIL

Email us etu@etuvic.com.au with any query and we will get back to you.

ONLINE

Head to www.etuvic.com.au to access all of our online member services and information.

IN PERSON

Our office is still open, operating and working for you as normal. If you need to come in you will first need to make an appointment via your organiser.