Contracting mid-term meetings

During a series of mass meetings held through September, October and November, Secretary Troy Gray got face to face with over 4000 members at the recently renovated New Council Chambers in Trades Hall. 

The meetings began with an overview of the unprecedented new Centre for U, and all the programs and courses which are available to ETU members and their families. 

He explained to members the importance of the ETU’s support, both inside and outside of work, and how we aim to become a one stop shop for any issues our members face, whether they are industrial or personal. 

“Whatever you need, the Centre for U is there for you,” he said.

Troy also took our members through some of the upcoming Major Projects which will be hiring huge numbers of electrical workers over the next few years. He explained the ETU’s thinking around the electrical jobs boom, and how it is important to address foreseeable issues now to ensure projects aren’t stalled by a jobs shortage in the future. 

One of the major issues Troy highlighted was the need to eradicate dodgy labour hire companies, who work to undercut wage rates and working conditions, early. 

He also discussed the need to get more people into the industry now, highlighting the need for the major contractors to put on at least 1000 new apprentices to ensure they are qualified and ready to work in a few years’ time. 

“If we’re going to have a boom, we need to bring our youth in and train them up with it,” he explained.

He then went through the technical details of the contracts for the two biggest infrastructure projects coming up for electrical workers, the Metro Tunnel and Stations build, and the Westgate Tunnel build. He explained to members some of the highlights of the agreements, but also stressed the importance of understanding what the job involves.

“In these tunnel builds you’re working underground, and you might not see daylight for 8 months of the year. For some people that’s fine, but some people can’t hack it, so you need to know what you’re getting yourself into when you apply for it,” he explained.

Next, Troy went through a brief overview of the Liberal Government’s two upcoming pieces of anti-union legislation, the “Ensuring Integrity” and “Worker’s Benefits” bills, and what these would mean for the ETU and our members. 

He urged members to join the campaign against these laws and flagged that we would be requesting they get in contact with the Senate Crossbench who could vote them down. He encouraged all members to keep an eye on our emails and texts, and make sure they join the fight and give the Senators a call when the time came to try and stop these laws. 

“History says that once (the laws) are in, they won’t get repealed,” he told our members, explaining how important it is to stop them in their tracks, rather than fighting to get them repealed in the future. 

Troy finished up with a quick discussion on how we are tracking with the Construction EBA, and about how we will be having mass meetings next year to discuss the negotiations for the next one. If there are any conditions or issues you’d like addressed, have a think about them and speak to your Organisers about them ahead of time. 

After the meeting, our members joined us in the newly renovated ETU Ballroom to receive a show bag containing some ETU and Centre for U merch, an ETU t-shirt and had a chance to catch up with our partners at CBUS, Protect, Gordon Legal, Unity Bank, ADA Australia and CoInvest.