From: eNews, LTA ANZ
Sent: Friday, 29 May 2015 3:05 PM
To: Schwab, Peter R. (Legal)
Subject: Workforce NSW 19635: Pollies push through poles & wires, EBAs intact; USyd 'protest' professor keeps job; 'No Land Tax' party's failure to pay 1000s; & more
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has sought "urgent meetings" with the NSW Government about protections for employees after the lower house passed legislation allowing the sale of majority stakes in Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy, and the full sale of statewide transmission business TransGrid. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian told parliament the bill guaranteed existing enterprise bargaining agreements terms and conditions. "Once transferred, employees may continue to be a contributor to their existing superannuation fund, retain rights to annual leave, sick leave, extended or long service leave accrued or accruing immediately before the transfer," Berejiklian said on May 26. However, ETU NSW sec Steve Butler told WFNSW the bill didn't provide worker protections retailers and generators had previously been offered such as salary maintenance and job security for five years following the sale, nor addressed issues like guaranteed apprentice numbers. The ETU is pinning its hopes on the Legislative Council Leasing of Electricity Infrastructure Inquiry headed by Fred Nile (WFNSW8/05/15) which will produce recommendations on June 2. Butler said: "It is extremely concerning that the NSW Govt has decided to jump the gun, tabling legislation ahead of the parliamentary inquiry even handing down its findings ..." Butler told WFNSW it's a bid to get the laws through "before they are truly understood". The Electricity Network Assets (Authorised Transactions) bill passed the lower house last night with the upper house debate scheduled for next Wednesday.
· Fred Nile MLC is to address Unions NSW on Thursday June 4.
Unions say govt broke promises to consult
The ETU and United Services Union (USU) are "considering their legal and industrial options following the Baird govt's failure to consult with the workforces of Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, and TransGrid ahead of their privatisation". The unions said the govt has told them a scheduled 30 minute meeting with Premier Mike Baird and Berejiklian on Monday (June 1) will be the only consultation over protections for workers and apprentices. Butler said "power industry unions have made themselves available for urgent negotiations, including after hours or over the weekend, but neither the Premier nor Treasurer is willing to meet". Berejiklian responded saying the govt had been working "round the clock" to kick-start their infrastructure program and reiterated conditions would be maintained per negotiated EBAs. "The Fair Work Act and Enabling Legislation will in effect ensure continuity of employees' accrued entitlements including superannuation."
University of Sydney (USyd) Associate Professor Jake Lynch has told WFNSW he is "relieved and delighted" the threat to his position has been lifted, after the Uni investigated him for misconduct at a protest in March. The investigation sparked a Defend Civil Liberties campaign (WFNSW1/05/15) led by academics and the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and supported by Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Julian Burnside QC. Lynch said: "I am grateful for the campaign which rallied right-thinking people both within and outside the university to oppose the vexatious and insubstantial allegations." USyd said it "will not comment on the outcomes for any individual due to the confidentiality of the investigation process, and privacy rights of those individuals". It said: "A number of members of the University community and the public were found to have engaged in unsatisfactory conduct, as a result of which disciplinary action, including counselling, warning and suspension of access rights to the University grounds have been imposed." WFNSW understands only serious misconduct charges could have resulted in dismissal. The uni's preliminary investigation into the events at the Richard Kemp lecture had cleared Lynch of anti-Semitism.
Some 3,600 people may be affected by the No Land Tax (NLT) party's failure to pay workers at the last NSW election, says the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). FWO said NLT party secretary and former Communications Electrical Plumbing Union official Peter Jones "is not fully cooperating with the investigation and has been asked to meet with Fair Work inspectors to provide further information". It added: "Mr Jones has made misleading statements to his former workers regarding their eligibility for Fair Entitlements Guarantee [FEG] assistance." FEG assistance is for workers of bankrupt employers. In the meantime the FWO will continue efforts to negotiate back-payments from Jones, and gather evidence from affected workers. FWO executive-director dispute resolution and compliance Steve Ronson confirmed it had enforcement options available. Ronson said it was unusual for the FWO to comment on "ongoing operational matters", but chose to do so given the volume of complaints in order to "reassure the public that the matter is receiving priority attention". The Sydney Morning Heraldreported some workers had been promised $330 for the day's work.
Labor and the NSW Greens have successfully pushed for an upper house inquiry into the impacts of the Government's "Fit for the future" local government package, which could see councils amalgamated and jobs lost. The terms of reference for the Local Government in NSW Inquiry includes reporting on "evidence of the impact of forced mergers on municipal employment, including aggregate redundancy costs". It will be chaired by former Shoalhaven mayor and Christian Democratic Party MLC Paul Green. A United Services Union (USU) submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Expert Advisory Panel criticised the govt's speed to introduce the policy. The USU said while it did not oppose amalgamation in general, it did "oppose amalgamation where employees have not been properly consulted or in circumstances where appropriate steps have not been taken to protect employees' jobs and conditions". Shadow local government minister Peter Primrose said "many councils have objected to the timeline, criteria and methodology imposed by IPART and the Govt".
The NSW Government plans to reform and end overlap for the seven agencies responsible for police corruption and misconduct, having commissioned former state shadow attorney general Andrew Tink to undertake a review by August 31. A govt statement said: "The current system for doing this is out–dated, complex, and confusing with overlapping responsibilities amongst the agencies." Agencies under the microscope include Ombudsman, the Police Integrity Commission, the Inspector of the Police Integrity Cmn, Crime Cmn and WorkCover. Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice Troy Grant said an effective system will uphold "the highest standards of behaviour and integrity, while allowing police to get on with the job". Tink will take submissions until June 24. The final report is to include options for a single civilian oversight model for police.
Women still have a long way to go to ensure equal representation in the male-dominated rail and bus industry, Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) NSW representatives have told a national conference. Only 8% of State Tranist Authority, 16% of Sydney Trains and 24% of NSW Trains employees are female, the biannual Wimdoi – Women in Male Dominated Occupations & Industries – Conference heard. Five RTBU NSW representatives attended the conference in Sydney. It attracted women from industries ranging from construction and transport to correctional services, maritime, firefighting and mining
On Monday June 1, peak state union body Unions NSW will protest outside federal Treasurer Joe Hockey's office against govt cuts to paid parental leave. Unions NSW encouraged supporters to bring "dummies" and their baby or toddler as part of the protest.
Editor: Stephanie D'Souza. Email:Stephanie.D'Souza@thomsonreuters.comContact: Phone (02) 8587 7684.Journalist: Steve Andrew. Managing Editor: Peter Schwab.