When the team looking after the power industry contractors’ EBA found themselves a man short, Organiser Mick Montebello put his hand up to cover and was right into the action from day one. He is now leading the campaign that covers members all over Victoria and across Australia.
It was the first agreement up for negotiation since the election of the Abbott Government, some 50 employers were involved and members were spread the length and breadth of the country – a big ask in anybody’s language.
‘And just at the start of the campaign the call went out for assistance so I put my hand up,’ Mick says.
‘And shortly after Matt Boyd came on full time as an organiser working in the power industry.‘
Mick had most recently had been looking after a large patch of construction in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs, along with responsibilities in the lift industry, so he knew what campaigning was all about.
“I had to get across where the companies were coming from and work out the best place to start our plan of attack,” Mick says.
“While most of the members involved are in Victoria there are members affected in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland, so with these distances to cover it was important for me to very quickly get across exactly what the issues were and get the message out to members wherever they were.”
Stewards meetings across October sorted out the broad parameters of an agreement and then began shaping up specifics to meeting the needs of members working for a range of different employers.
“First and foremost the strategy was to set the foundation for secure employment and established conditions given the change of Federal Government and then to tailor local agreements with individual employers,” Mick says.