Schindler Lifts: going up

The ETU has achieved a significant breakthrough in our lift industry campaign with the negotiation of a new EBA at Schindler. The lift industry campaign 'Our Industry, Our Future, Our Responsibility' kicked off with an historic joint mass meeting of all players in the industry in March of this year.

The new Schindler agreement has set the pace to make this round of EBAs in the lift industry a truly historic one. We have shown that electricians in the lift industry have had enough and are determined to see the sun set on them being paid less than their counterparts in the contracting industry.

The new agreement delivers average wage increases of 7% per year over three and a half years. Other conditions delivered by the new agreement include:

  • Increase in stolen tools allowance
  • Inclusion of RDO calendar
  • Double time for workers in 
the mods department working shift work
  • Paid domestic violence leave
  • GPS/privacy protection clause
  • New inclement weather clause
  • Parental leave clause
  • Purchase extra annual leave clause
  • New classifications to cover the most technical work
  • Leading hand allowances

The agreement also includes income protection with Protect, replacing the existing extended sick leave provided by the company. Many members did not realise that an employer can sack you after three months of sick leave, and when they do the extended sick leave ends too. Moving to Protect coverage will remove this risk.

Agreement will close the pay gap

Over the last twenty years a significant gap has grown between the minimum hourly rate an electrician in the contracting industry earns versus the minimum hourly rate of an electrician working in the lift industry.

The gap had grown so substantially that it was a constant point of frustration for lift sparkies when installing state of the art pieces of technology for a giant multinational corporations on construction sites. These lift sparkies were being paid significantly less than other contracting electricians working for much smaller companies. 

The gap was $6.83 per hour when we started negotiating the agreement earlier this year. With Schindler signing on to the new EBA this gap will be reduced to $1 per hour by the end of the agreement in March 2021, with the minimum rate for a Schindler sparkie set to rise to $58.

Not a single shot fired

This outstanding outcome was achieved without a single day lost to protected action, despite extensive planning by unions for a campaign of industrial havoc. Some credit for avoiding industrial action must go to Schindler as they brought a very experienced lead negotiator with a good understanding of the industry into the room. They cooperated with us by being open with all the information we asked for and did not attempt to play games with us.

Now that a benchmark for the industry has been set by the Schindler agreement, there is no point in other lift companies losing millions of dollars in a pointless dispute trying to pay their electricians less than the industry standard.

Congratulations to our members at Schindler for this massive win and for setting the pace for the entire lift industry.